Moringa oleifera is indigenous to India but cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Different parts of the plant, starting from leaves to the roots, have been used in cooking and in traditional medicine.
The leaves are the most commonly used part and contain many nutrients, including beta-carotene; vitamins B, C, and E; calcium, iron, potassium, etc, essential and non-essential amino acids; and carbohydrates, among others.
Moringa is a potent plant used extensively in traditional medicinal practices for the treatment of various conditions. Recent research proposes it to be of benefit in numerous diseases, including cardiovascular, diabetes, gastroenterological, and inflammatory conditions.
These broad applications attributed to moringa are due to the presence of various phytochemicals such as glycosidic glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, nitriles, carbamates, and thiocarbamates. These have in independent studies demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hypotensive, antibacterial, and chemopreventive properties. The three critical bioactive phytochemicals of moringa include quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and moringinine, a potent antioxidant.
With its incredible nutritional profile, Moringa oleifera offers varied benefits. It is often prescribed by doctors to include fresh moringa in your diet a few times a week to obtain maximum benefits.
The excellent concentration of antioxidants within moringa could be one of many factors that contribute towards stable blood sugar levels. Additionally, they may also work towards helping the body process sugar better and maintain optimal insulin.
Phytochemicals present in moringa are capable of reducing insulin resistance and hepatic gluconeogenesis. It is postulated that the presence of terpenoids in the leaves could result in these hypoglycemic effects and antihyperglycemic activity reducing intestinal glucose uptake.
Additionally, moringa leaves contain quite a bit of fibre, leading to reduced gastric emptying time, leaving you satiated for longer, regulating post-prandial blood glucose levels and reducing cholesterol absorption.
Research has shown moringa leaves are capable of stablizing pancreatic function in the following ways:
- Improving and maintaining the integrity and function of pancreatic cells
- Increasing insulin activity
- Improves how the cells metabolise glucose
- Anti-diabetic effects
- Improved glucose tolerance.
Moringa helps in maintaining more robust blood pressure levels due to the rich potassium content found in the leaves. With 15x times the potassium than bananas, moringa works effectively in reducing the sodium content in the blood, leading to decreased blood pressure. Potassium is imperative for nerve function, muscle contraction, and maintenance of fluid and blood pressure in the body.
Studies demonstrate that moringa leaves lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure upon consumption. One study in women found that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months significantly increased blood antioxidant levels. These, in turn, help maintain optimal blood pressure.
High levels of free radicals lead to cause oxidative stress, which is associated with chronic heart disease.
The presence of several phytochemicals, vitamin C, beta carotene contributes to maintaining a healthy heart. The primary antioxidants that help in maintaining a healthy heart are
- Quercetin may help lower blood pressure.
- Chlorogenic acid helps moderate blood sugar levels after meals.
A number of proposed mechanisms may be responsible for the observed blood pressure decrease such as antioxidant effects, inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme activity, and improved endothelium-dependent and -independent function. There are several studies corroborating this on animal models.
High levels of cholesterol have been ostensibly linked to a heightened risk of heart disease.Several studies animal-based and human-based studies have shown that Moringa oleifera may possess cholesterol-lowering effects. Results indicate that moringa possesses antioxidant, hypolipidaemic, and antiatherosclerotic activities and has therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.