Moringa is a superfood and supplement that is very quickly growing in popularity for a wide variety of reasons. One of those reasons is a list of benefits specifically for women, which we're going to dig into deeper today.
What Is Moringa Anyway?
If you've read any of our other moringa-based articles, you can skip this section; we're just going to cover what the plant is in brief.
Moringa is a tree native to southern Asia and parts of Africa. It's widely used as a food staple because it's very drought resistant, it grows very quickly, and it's quite nutritious. The leaves are used as a leafy green salad vegetable, the fruits – which look like overly large green beans more than anything – are harvested and cooked, and even the bitter seeds are consumed as a snack. Seeds are also often pressed for their oil, which is used, and the seed cakes are used as water filters. Overall, it's an extremely robust, resilient, and useful plant, which is why it has been cultivated in a wide swath of subtropical areas where it grows readily.
What Health Benefits Does Moringa Have for Women?
While we've written about the benefits of moringa in general before, we thought today we'd focus on some of the benefits specific to women. Gender might be a social construct, but biological sex has an impact on health, due to variances in hormones, bodily structure, and predisposition to genetic ailments. So what can moringa do for women?
Moringa has a high level of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a great vitamin to get in your diet or as part of a supplement or multivitamin, for a lot of different reasons. Foremost among them for women, though, is that it can help with PMS. PMS symptoms such as grogginess and bloating are alleviated, at least in part, with vitamin E.
Moringa has a high level of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential vitamins your body needs to function, and moringa has them in spades. These vitamins help women (in particular) fight off the effects of fatigue and stress, as well as enhancing cognitive function. On top of that, they stimulate the metabolism, which can give you additional energy, focus, and even assist with weight loss. Moringa is high in B1, B2, and B3 vitamins in particular.
Moringa is rich in iron. Iron is a crucial mineral your body needs for a lot of different purposes. In particular, it's critical as part of the process that allows your blood to carry oxygen from your lungs to your cells. Anemia – caused by low iron, primarily – leaves you feeling light-headed, dizzy, tired, and short of breath.
Iron deficiency affects more women than men, and it's a particular danger for pregnant women. Iron supplements are commonly prescribed for women, but some studies suggest that moringa leaves are better for getting iron into your system than traditional supplements.
Moringa is high in other minerals. When you're concerned about getting specific minerals in your diet, you're likely going to turn to a multivitamin. Moringa is like a natural multivitamin. It has four times the amount of calcium as milk, four times the amount of beta-carotene as carrots, and three times more potassium than bananas. Calcium helps with bone health, in particular assisting in the fight against osteoporosis. Vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, is powerful in a number of ways. Potassium, of course, is useful throughout the body. A word of warning, though; if you have kidney or liver issues, you'll want to watch out for potassium.
Moringa is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are a bit of a buzzword from the early 2000s, when everything advertised the antioxidant quantity present in it, even if it was otherwise just a bundle of sugar. Antioxidants are great, that much is true. They help prevent oxidative stress on your cells, which causes cellular damage and can cause free radicals, even leading to cancer and other diseases.
That's not to imply that moringa cures or protects against cancer. While it might keep you healthier, there's not enough research out there to prove one way or another whether it has real anti-cancer properties.
That said, at the very least, antioxidants make you more resilient against stress, both physical and mental. Physical stress lingers in aches and pains, and mental stress makes it harder to focus, harder to rest, and harder to think. Moringa helps you pass over and recover from the stress that much easier.
Moringa is a mood stabilizer. It's not powerful enough that your psychologist is likely to prescribe it, but it can help. Moringa has been observed to help with the bodily release of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for, among other things, mood and memory. By stimulating more serotonin throughout the body, moringa helps level out your brain chemistry, helps alleviate stress, improve mental function, and improve mood. In these times of daily stress and trouble, this can be an invaluable benefit.
Moringa may be an aphrodisiac. Now, this is one of those synergistic effects that's hard to pin down how exactly it works. Some scientists think that the boost to nutrients and energy that moringa gives you makes you more active and more "in the mood", so to speak. Others think that the stress relief that moringa brings to the table helps lighten the mood and make you more willing to pursue other pleasures. Still, others think that it may have an effect that boosts testosterone in the brain. In women, extra testosterone has many effects, but among them is an increased sex drive and lower levels of sexual dysfunction. Either way, while the effects may be hard to pin down, it's worth trying if that's one of your concerns in life.
Moringa is a lactation enhancer. In Africa, new mothers often use moringa supplements as a way to ensure that they produce more, better breast milk for their babies. Studies performed with pregnant women and new mothers indicate that there are two effects.
First, moringa increases milk production. In a study from 2003 – yeah, it's old, but it works – women who took moringa produced more milk than women given a placebo. This increase in volume is especially important in areas where food scarcity means production might not be high enough, but it can be useful the world over.
Second, moringa's richness in terms of nutrients means the milk you produce is more nutritious than it would be otherwise. Some of those nutrients, especially beta-carotene, are extremely important for helping newborns with their immune systems, their health, and their ability to fight off disease.
Moringa helps protect against ulcers. Ulcers in the digestive system are painful, dangerous, and unpleasant. Studies performed in rats showed that moringa was more effective at protecting against ulcers, more so than conventional treatments. Now, the amount of moringa necessary to achieve this protection is very high, so it's unlikely to be a benefit you see normally. However, if you suffer from ulcers normally, taking large amounts of moringa might help with the situation.
Moringa can help stabilize blood sugar. In fact, the same mechanism that allows moringa to help with ulcers is what helps with insulin balance. Many women suffer from diabetes, and moringa may be able to help. It's worth mentioning that moringa might influence the effectiveness of other drugs you're taking for diabetes, so you'll want to consult with your doctor before you take moringa as a regular supplement. That said, it's possible that moringa might allow you to dial back on some of the harsher, more synthetic medicines you take for diabetes. It's also possible that moringa can help stabilize and minimize the effects of gestational diabetes, a uniquely female concern.
How to Take Moringa
Convinced? We certainly were. Moringa is a superfood, and while it might not be full of miracles despite the name "miracle fruit", it's still a powerful, nutritious plant. So how can you consume this plant to get the best benefits out of it?
First of all, you want to find it fresh if you can. The leaves are tasty as a salad green, and the fruits can be added to a wide variety of vegetable-based foods, from smoothies to guacamole. That said, you might not be able to find it throughout much of the country. It can grow in a wide range of climates, but it's not commercially farmed in the United States; most production comes from Africa and southern Asia.
If you can't find moringa locally, you'll need to look for it in supplement form. Here, you're going to have three main options.
First, you can find moringa juice. Moringa juice is nutritious, but it's not very tasty on its own, so most moringa juice beverages you find are going to be mixed with other fruit juices. You might find it mixed with pomegranate, acai berry, goji berry, and other superfruits as well, though, which further increases the antioxidant and nutritious benefits of the moringa.
Second, you might find dried leaves. Dried leaves aren't useful as a fresh green the way fresh leaves are, but they can be used in a few different ways. You can crush and crumble them up and add them to other recipes, like smoothies or baked goods, similar to how you might use matcha. Or, like matcha, you can brew up the leaves as a moringa tea. Add some moringa to your favorite green or herbal tea blend, or just brew it on its own.
Third, you can find moringa as a ground supplement. This moringa powder can be used like matcha to brew a tea but is more often simply added to smoothies as a supplement powder. You can mix it with water and drink it that way, or you can fill capsules with it and take it like a pill. In fact, you'll often find it in capsule form already, ready to be consumed.
If you've been a follower of our blog for a while now, you've probably noticed that we've covered Moringa a few times in the past. If you want to read a more about it, here are some of the other posts we've written.
What Effect Does Moringa Have on Your immune System? – One of the benefits we listed above is that moringa has a positive effect on your immune system. If you want to read more detailed discussion about how it helps, this post goes into greater detail.
Moringa Seeds vs. Powder vs. Capsules vs. Leaves: Which is Best? – This post discusses different forms of moringa, and the benefits you can get from each of them. If we've convinced you to try out moringa and you want to figure out the best way to take it, this is a good place to start.
How Often Should You Drink Moringa Juice or Tea? – Moringa juice is one of our favorite ways to consume the superfood. Naturally, some people have questions about it, like how potent it is and whether or not it's safe to drink regularly. We discuss that topic here.
List of Things You Can Mix with Your Moringa Juice – Moringa is a powerful superfood, but it's also a specific kind of acquired taste that not everyone finds pleasant. Even if you do, you can mix other ingredients with it to enhance the healthy properties of the juice.
Now we have a question for you. With all of the coverage we've given moringa, is there anything we've left out? Do you have questions you'd like us to answer? If so, feel free to leave us a request in the comments. We might be able to answer it directly or produce a new blog post to cover the topic. Just let us know!
Are you a moringa fan? What are your favorite recipes to take it, and what issues have you encountered when taking it? There's a lot you can tell us, and we always love hearing from our fans. Please leave a comment below to add to the discussion, we'd love to hear from you!