Moringa is one of our most popular health supplements, and so it stands to reason that we're answering a lot of different questions about it. This one comes from several of our readers, who have reached out to us to ask about how, exactly, to use moringa.
Moringa, the way we sell it, comes in juice form. You can also get it in the form of capsules, which are essentially just gelatin capsules filled with moringa powder. These are just a few of the many ways you can find moringa, including whole leaves, seed oil, and raw powder.
Pretty much no matter what form your moringa takes, you can consume it in a few different ways. You can take it mixed into food, like as part of a tea, part of a smoothie, or part of a shake. If you don't like the taste, or if you want to get it over with faster, you can take it straight. Swallow a capsule, like you would a vitamin or medicine. Drink a quick shot of the juice like you might a cough syrup or another liquid medicine. It's all the same.
The only thing we wouldn't recommend is taking the powder straight. It has a strong, earthy flavor with a bit of a kick, similar to radish. That, combined with the difficult texture of a powder, can make it hard to swallow – literally. If you have the raw powder, either mix it in with a smoothie, mix it with water, or package it into capsules yourself. You can, after all, buy empty capsules to fill on your own.
The question we've been asked to answer today comes from the association of moringa as a supplement, and the association between supplements and medications. It's simple: should you take moringa with food, or without?
The Simple Answer
The simplest answer is easy: Take it however you'd like. Moringa can be taken on its own, on an empty stomach, or on a full stomach. It can be taken with food, or without. It's entirely up to you.
Let's look a little deeper into the question, though. Why is this a question in the first place?
Why Some Ingredients are Taken with Food
Some supplements and many medications have specific instructions on when and how you should take them. These aren't arbitrary; they're there for a reason. Usually, it has to do with mitigating side effects.
For example, many medications tell you to take them before bed. The primary reason for this (though not the only reason for this) is that one of the side effects is drowsiness. Drowsiness during the day is very noticeable, and it can affect your work and concentration. In some cases it can even make your daily life more dangerous, such as if you have to drive; drowsiness while driving increases the risk of accidents.
Taking certain medications with food is the same way. Usually, if a medication is taken with food, it means there's a side effect that can be detrimental to you on an empty stomach. In fact, here are the main reasons why you might be instructed to take a medication or supplement alongside or just after eating.
It might induce nausea or vomiting. Your body is tuned to want to reject consuming anything that might trigger certain bodily responses, akin to poison. It's why, if you were to eat an inedible berry, your body would reject it with cramping and vomiting. Some medications can induce this effect. Having food in your stomach adulterates it, so your body doesn't detect it until it's too late to do anything about it.
It might cause damage to the stomach lining. Some ingredients, when taken on an empty stomach, can essentially "burn into" the stomach lining. This irritation can create indigestion, upset stomach, inflammation, and even stomach ulcers. Food – even as little as a glass of milk – can help coat and buffer the stomach lining from the medication. It won't sit there as long and it can't react as directly, so it doesn't do as much damage. Aspirin is one such drug, to give you an idea of how common this can be.
It might be aimed at treatment for something that occurs during eating. Heartburn and indigestion typically occur because of an overreaction to the acid your stomach produces and injects when food is swallowed. The acid is necessary to break down food into component parts and start the process of digestion. However, sometimes your body does something wrong, and acid works its way up to your esophagus, causing heartburn. Antacids and other medications aimed at preventing heartburn are best taken after eating, to directly neutralize the acids.
It might be meant to treat an oral issue. Medications that treat oral thrush, mouth ulcers, or other issues in the mouth need to be taken after food because they're meant to sit in the mouth and coat the surface they treat. If you take them and then eat afterward, the act of eating scrapes away at that coating, making the medication less effective.
It might need to be digested in the stomach to take effect. Different phases of the digestion process are better at absorbing different kinds of nutrients and chemicals. Some medications are best absorbed into the bloodstream via the stomach, such as some common HIV medications. By taking them along with food, they stay in the stomach longer and are better absorbed, so they can have a stronger effect.
It might be necessary as part of digestion. Some medications help counteract or assist the body in digesting. People with pancreatic disorders, for example, or diabetes might take medication as they eat to help them digest food properly. Others might take something like lactase or a gas inhibitor when they eat certain foods, to help minimize the effects.
Does Moringa Have Those Effects?
So, now that you know why people are instructed to take certain supplements with food, we can look at moringa and see if it falls into any of those categories.
Does moringa induce nausea or vomiting? No, not really. High quantities of moringa might have some nausea-inducing effects, but you'd have to take way too much of it at a time for that to happen. Moringa root can have this effect because it's toxic, but you're never going to be using moringa root. The products made from moringa that you find in our store and others are made from leaves, seedpods, and seeds.
Does moringa damage the stomach lining? Not at all! Moringa is essentially just a very nutritious vegetable. In a sense, it's like eating a super-spinach. It doesn't do damage to your body unless it's adulterated with something nasty, and that means you're probably buying your moringa from a shady seller and should get a reputable supplier instead.
Does moringa treat an eating process? Nope. Moringa has a ton of health benefits for the body, but all of them are related to nutrition, not to a chemical process like acid neutralization. It's not significantly different than taking a multivitamin, for example; it gives your body nutrients to digest but doesn't interact with the digestion process any more than most foods you would eat.
Does moringa treat an oral issue? No. Moringa doesn't have anything to do with the inside of your mouth, other than using it as a gateway to reach your stomach. You don't need to worry about packing it in your cheeks or taking it sublingually or anything like that. You don't need to care about it coating your teeth or aggravating your gums or anything of the sort.
Does moringa need to be absorbed in the stomach? No more than any other food. Moringa can be absorbed while at any point in the digestive process. You're not going to want to take it as a suppository, of course, but you don't need to worry about slowing down your digestion in order to more fully absorb the supplement.
Does moringa need assistance to be digested? Nope! That is unless your body has its own special needs, such as with the aforementioned pancreatic disorders. Generally, though, as long as you haven't been instructed by your doctor to take medication whenever you eat, you should be fine to take moringa.
In case you don't really want to follow all of the medical logic, you can also simply look at how people use moringa. We've gathered up a bunch of resources on how to take moringa below.
List of Things You Can Mix with Your Moringa Juice – This is a guide full of ideas on how to prepare moringa juice to be a little more palatable. See, moringa has its own distinctive taste, and a lot of people don't really care for that taste. It's often a good idea to mix the juice with other foods just to hide the flavor, while still giving yourself the health benefits.
How to Use Moringa in Every Meal of the Day – This is a relatively short post with seven ideas on how to use moringa throughout the day by mixing it with other foods. These ideas include mixing it with water, steeping it as tea, adding it to smoothies, mixing it into soup, using it as an add-on in baking, adding it to guacamole, and mixing it into a salad dressing.
How to Use Moringa / How Much Moringa to Eat – This is a two-part article covering two different topics as part of moringa's overall health and utility. They talk primarily about the whole, fresh moringa leaves, which can be used anywhere you would normally use a salad green like spinach or kale. They also cover other forms of moringa, like the powder, the pods, and the seeds themselves.
So as you can see, it can be taken with food just fine. Moringa doesn't need to be taken with food, but it can be, particularly if you're looking to hide the flavor.
Really, the biggest hurdle most people need to cross with moringa is the taste. An earthy, radish-like taste is not for everyone, and many people find it hard to swallow – literally! If you fall into that category, there are always options you can try.
- Moringa juice. Moringa juice concentrate can be a great option. The juice has most of the health benefits of the plant and can be mixed with other juices for even more vitamins and antioxidants, as well as better tastes. On top of that, the juice concentrate can be mixed into other beverages you drink, and you'll barely even know moringa was in it. If the earthly flavor really puts you off, be sure to try our moringa juice! It comes already tasting great with a variety of fruity flavors and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals!
- Moringa capsules. There's no shame in not wanting to go all-out with smoothies and shakes every day. We get tired of it too. Sometimes, the simplest option is really the best option. Moringa capsules are easy to find, and they're easy to swallow, so long as you're not one of those people who have trouble swallowing pills in the first place.
Some people do recommend avoiding adding it to anything hot, like a soup or a tea, as they fear it might denature the nutrients and make it less effective as a superfood. We haven't seen this to be the case, though, and plenty of people use it as part of baking or cooking.
If there's any caution we need to give, it would be about the iron content of the plant. Moringa is high in iron, and while iron itself is necessary for your body's natural processes, too much of it can cause some issues. Taking a normal amount of moringa each day is fine, but if you take a high dose of moringa, in addition to other iron-containing supplements or multivitamins, you might run into problems.
Even with that potential issue, it doesn't matter whether you take moringa with food or without. Just take it in whatever form you find more pleasant, and you'll be good. Moringa can help keep you healthy, so why worry about how you take it?
Do you have a preferred method of taking moringa? Be sure to let us know in the comment section down below!