Powder from the leaf of the Moringa Oleifera plant - a nutrient powerhouse claimed to rival baobab - has outperformed antioxidant-packed superfoods including acai, dark chocolate, garlic and blueberries in an ORAC test.
Jim Fitzpatrick is president of Connecticut -based Moringa Source, which has spent several years securing a consistent supply of Moringa leaf powders and seed pod oils for use in finished products under the Moringa Source brand.
A standard ORAC test (pitting the Moringa leaf powder vs the free radical peroxyl in a test tube) conducted by Brunswick Laboratories, showed that it also packed a higher antioxidant punch in-vitro than goji berries, pomegranates and red wine, he said:
“Moringa Source has just received an ORAC value (hydrophilic and lipophilic) of 157,600 umole TE/100g [1,576 per 1g] for our Moringa powder."
The ORAC debate
Asked for his views on the value of in-vitro antioxidant capacity tests on determining the effects of bioactive compounds in the human body, FitzPatrick said the firm was in “100% agreement” that lab tests were not necessarily indicative of health benefits in humans.
He added: “While this [ORAC test result] would signify that Moringa powder has twice the radical-quenching power of baobab and several other superfoods, Moringa Source is quick to point out that it is just one of many tests to evaluate the benefit of Moringa as a powerful nutritional supplement.
“Equally and perhaps more importantly is the fact that Moringa contains more than 27% protein including the 8 essential amino acids, 25 vitamins and minerals as well as many other beneficial phyto-nutrients.”
The Dr Oz effect…
Moringa is starting to attract growing interest in the US dietary supplement and food industry, while a mention on Dr Oz on April 13 has also helped boost its profile. Click here to watch the show.
The leaves of the Moringa Oleifera plant, which grows in Africa, India, southern and central America and Hawaii, produce a rich green – but tart tasting - dry powder that is remarkably high in protein (27% by weight, with all eight essential amino acids), vitamin A, calcium (2g per 100g of dry leaf powder) and vitamin C (17.3mg per 100g).
But they are also high in iron (28mg per 100g), potassium (1.3g per 100g) and B vitamins, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
The leaves of the Moringa oleifera - also known as the miracle tree and the drumstick tree – have been used in traditional medicine in India and Africa to aid digestion, boost energy levels and mental clarity, improve mood and support healthy blood sugar levels for hundreds of years.
However, there are not many human intervention studies – yet, although there is a growing number of in vitro and animal studies on the leaves (a PubMed search throws up 232 papers) looking at everything from effects on blood pressure and blood glucose to anti-microbial, cholesterol reduction, hepatoprotection and wound healing.
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Works well in oatmeal, smoothies and nutritional shakes as well as capsules
Moringa Source gets its product from southern and central America, Africa and India. The leaves are washed, dried at low temperatures and then pulverized into a fine powder that can be added to capsules, teas or powders that can be added to oatmeal, smoothies or nutritional shakes.
There are about thirteen species of Moringa trees in the family Moringaceae. However, Moringa oleifera is by far the most popular.