Our bodies contain, in various amounts, about 5% minerals. Over 20 minerals are known to be needed for normal physiology – some in relatively large amounts (known as macroelements), such as calcium, potassium, and phosporus, and others in small amounts (known as macroelements or trace minerals), like iron, copper and zinc. Some believe that we have in our bodies all the minerals of our planet, and they all play a role, although not entirely understood by scientists at this time.
For simplification, minerals have two general functions: building tissues and regulating their function. Almost every process in our bodies is regulated at one level or another by minerals. Consequently, together with proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins, we must ingest a proper amount of minerals for health maintenance.
The human body does not produce minerals; they all must be provided by food!
Macroelements in Moringa
Moringa leaves, pods, flowers, and seeds contain varying amounts of important macroelements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium,phosporus and sodium.
Moringa leaves contain high amounts of calcium, about 500 mg per 100g of leaves, while the leaf powdercan have about five times more calcium per 100g. The daily recommended dose for an adult is about 1,000 mg, with more needed for pregnant or lactating women. Remember, calcium is consumed calcium should equal the amount of calcium excreted.
Calcium is a vital mineral for numerous physiological processes, such as building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, blood clotting and othervarious cellular functions (maintaining normal heart rhythm and the transmossion of nerve impulses). Almost all the calcium in the human body is stored in the bones and teeth, and when calcium is needed in the blood (for instance, if it is missing from the diet for a while), it is released (borrowed) from bones. This can lead to decalcification of bones if extended over long periods of time. Calcium is important for so many body functions, yet most of us associate calcium only with bone health or disease. Let’s explore the role of calcium in maintaining strong bones.
How Can We Delay or Prevent Osteoporosis?
The answer is by eating edequate amounts of calcium and maximizing bone stores during the time when bone is growing fast-especially up to age 30!
- By exercising regularly.
- By consuming adequate amounts of vitamin K, usually found in green leaves.
- By getting enough vitamin D.
moringa benefits here in tat least two ways; by its high content of calcium and by its good content of vitamin K. But, as we shall see later Moringa, as a plant, may fight osteoporosisin other ways, as well.
Moringa leaves and pods contain another important macroelement, magnesium; approximately 25 mg per 100 g of leaves or pods, while the leaf powder can contain approximately 370mg per the weight.
Magnesium is similar to calcium in several ways; 60% is found in the bones and teeth, and the balance is found mostly in the muscles. Magnesium is the second – most abundant positively charged element found within the cells, where it plays vital roles in the processing of energy.
Plants are an important source of proteins, but most plants actually supply the units making up the proteins – the amino acids. As you know, protein together with lipids and carbohydrates are the three basic groups of biochemical substances of which plant and animal organisms are made. Again, amino acid are the building blocks or monomers of the proteins (which are long chains of amino acids linked together).
How much Protein Do We Need?
Nutrition experts recommended that proteins(or amino acids) should account for 10-15% of the calories in a balanced diet, although requirements for protein are affected by age, health, weight, and other factors. Generally, a normal adult requires approximately 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or 0.8 grams per kg weight. That makes a total of 50-80 grams daily. Athletes have hiigher amino acid (protein) requirements, and babies need much more protein per body weight than do adults.
Protein are digested by the gatro-intestinal system and then cut into smaller, simpler units (amino acids) that can be absorbed through the walls of the intestines and used by the body. After absorption, the liver and various tissues will make their own, specifically needed proteins. Thousands and thousands of complicated proteins make up the structure of cell walls, and the soluble particles in blood or less soluble structures of bone and skin. Protein interact with each other specifically recognize each other in order to perform all our physiological functions. Life can be seen as a complicated and beautiful ”dance of proteins”! Since proteins and other nitrogen-containing substances are continuously degraded and rebuilt, they must be replaced by a continuous supply of amino acids from the diet.
There are 20 amino acids present in the human body’s structures. (Actually, in nature there are more amino acids.) Of those, 9 are known to be ESSENTIAL; they have to be supplied by the diet since the human body cannot synthesize them, as it does with the other 11 amino acids. Few foods, like Moringa, are known to contain all essential amino acids, hence, the importance of a complex, rich diet. The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Histidine is considered essential for children and babies, not for adults. Strict vegetarians should ensure that their diet contains sufficient amounts of all these amino acids.
First we saw the extraordinary benefits and nutritional value of moringa for people living in less fortunate or impoverished areas which are prone to drought. The leaves of Moringa provide many nutrients which can be eaten fresh or dried in a variety of recipes. According to optima of Africa, 25 grams daily of Moringa leaf powder “will give a child the following recommended daily allowances: protein 42%, calcium 125%, magnesium 60%, potassium 41%, iron 71%, vitamin A 272%, vitamin C 22%“. The same benifits apply to adults and senior citizens, but only the percentages chages. Obviously, Moringa is beneficial for people of all ages.
In terms of protein value, the Moringa leaves are about 40% protein, with all of the 9 essential amino acids present in various amounts. Moringa is considered to have the highest protein ratio of any plant so far studied on earth!
Calcium is a vital macroelement for human health. A cup of milk or yogurt could apply 300-400 mg , while 8 ounces of Moringa leaves contain 1,000 mg calcium. Moringa eaf powder of the same weight (8 ounces) contains over 4,000 mg calcium.
Moringa is very high in iron. Three ounces (about 100g) contain 7 mg of iron, while the leaf powder has 28mg.
Vitamin C, one of the most disputed , talked about and supplemented vitamins, is found i Moringa in large quantities. 100 g of Moringa leaves contain more than 200 mg vitamin C, while 100 g of orange juice has only about 40mg.
The Main Nutritive Group and Valuable Dietary Compound in Moringa
- Protein costituents or amino acids ( the building blocks of proteins). There are 20 amino acids necessary, and found in human proteins, of which 9 are essential. All 9 are found in Moringa.
- Carbohydrates (several of the “good“ type, including fibers; about 3-13% in leaves).
- Minerals as macroelements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosporus, sulfur.
- Minerals as necessary microelements: iron, zinc, copper, maganese.
- Fats, as vegetable oils: fatty acids, beneficial omega-6 oils and liposoluble vitamins.
- Vitamins, many of which with antioxidant properties: vitamin C, E, F, K, provitamin A (beta-carotene), complex of vitamins B, B1, B2, B3, choline, others.
- Chlorophyll, the green pigment of pants (includes magnesium in its molecules).
- Other plant pigments, some with antioxidant properties: lutein, carotenoids.
- Plant hormones with antiaging properties in human: cytokinins such as zeatin.
- Plant specific (phytochemicals) antioxidants: quercetin, kaempferol and others.
- Plant specific sterols: beta-sitosterol.
Herbal (plant) medicine is the most ancient form of healthcare known to humankind. Plants as medicines are mentioned in historic documents dating back many thousands of years. Furthermore, many cultures, like Amazonian Indian tribes, with no written languages, depended on oral communication to convey information and traditions which were also rich in plant stories. Since prehistoric times and continuing to our modern days, people from all over the world have grown or collected plants for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Moringa Oleifera is one of the best examples. People have long known that botanical medicine provided a complete, safe system of healing and prevention of diseases.
How is Herbal Medicine Working? How Moringa Working?
Plants produce and contain thousands of chemical compounds that benefit the plant itself. They protect the plant from herbivores or damaging ultraviolet light attract pollinatorsor prevent competitive germination. Below are some examples of plant chemicals with biological activity in animals:
- Powerful alkaloids with specific actios on animal physiology. Caffeine and morphine are well known alkaloids. Moringa root bark, but not the rest of the plant, contains specific alkaloids such as moringinine, which increase heart and blood vessel tonus.
- Antioxidant compounds reduce the cellular damage inflicted by normal metabolism and living processes in plants, animals, and human. Most plantantioxidants are also anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive, thus delaying aging of tissues, and degenerative diseases. Moringa is known to contain a number of powerful antioxidant flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempfero. Many vitamins in Moringa qualify as potent antioxidants as well: vitamins A, C and E.
Dietary plants are the main source of antioxidant, antiaging substances for humans!
- Vitamins are complex substances vitally important for metabolic and many other physiological reactions. Some of the vitamins (specially, vitamins A, C, E) are also potent antioxidants. Vitamins may considered nutrients but they are also viewed as “medicines“ when they bring the health back into balance, normalize and regulate the abnormal biologic processes which lead to diseases. Moriga is a powerful vitamin factory; some of those present in the various parts of the pant include vitamin C, beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), vitamin E, vitamin K, and many of the B complex group of vitamins. these are reviewed extensively in the chapter “Moringa, the Nutritive Plant“.
- Antibiotics, antimicrobial and antihelmintic substances. Some of the most powerful antibiotics have been isolated from plants, but plants can also be used in their whole form to fight infections and parasite infestation. This extraordinary effect of plants is especially important whenever the local population cannot afford expensive medicines from pharmacies. Moringa has long been known to have powerful antibiotic effects and was used by various populations around the globe against infections.
- Natural hormones, enzymes, minerals, and various phytochemical (plant-derived substances) with numerous pharmacological activities in animals and humas. These are two numerous to mention, and they go beyond the purpose of this site to talk about their effects on health. Suffice it to say that plants, generally, are an inexhaustible, fantastically useful ad creative source of benificial substances that can be used in many ways to improve human lives, at all levels.
Niaziminin, another Moringa phytochemical, was shown to have potent anticancer activity in animal studies. Interestingly, long before research validated the idea, people traditionally have used Moringa against abdominal and other tumors (cancerous growth).
Hypotensive (lower blood pressure) principles niazinin, niazimicin, and niaziminin A and B were also obtained from fresh leaves. These compounds belong to the family of mustard-oil glycosides (very rare in nature).
One of the most exciting phytochemicals found in Moringa is beta-sitosterol. It has a chemical structure very similar to that of cholesterolin the human blood.Although beta-sitosterolis not well absorbed by the body after ingestions, when consumed with cholesterol it effectively block cholesterol`s absorption.this ultimately leads to a lower serum cholesterol level. But beta-sitosterol has many other beneficial effects for humans.
Newspaper and scientific journals mention Moringa more and more often. Until recently, these tree wasn`t really known in the West, except to botanists. Today, Moringa- the very plant that desperate mothers from tropical countries use to save their malnourished children, is also featured as the exciting ingredient of a fancy skin rejuvenating cream. Researchers fron Autria to Australia, Nicaragua and India, study Moringa`s properties and growth. The National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society, together with other organizations, have started to finance the gathering of a collection of all Moringa species to gather more information about many healthful properties.
The International Eye Foundation is promoting Moringa for the prevention of childhood blindness in poor countries. Indeed, Moringa, through their richness in vitamins, saves precious eyesight in the most vulnerable victims, children with vitamin A deficiency.
Maybe among all the good news, the most moving stories came from the Senegalese project “Mother and Child Health“. In an effort to combat child death and diseas due to alnourishment, the use of locally grown Moringa was proposed to infants, their nursing mothers and pregnant women. Although Moringa grows in Africa, Moringa leaves were rarely used as food before.
The Medical staff advised parents to put a little bit of leaf powder in the child`s food for every day. Children were weighed before and after 2-3 months of such a supplement. ( any survived ONLY on Moringa leaves or seed powder!) When the women brought back their children a few months later, they were hardly recognizable! Malnourished mothers who did not produce enough milk for their babies, also recovered beyond all expectations on a Moringa diet.
Moringa is a healer, food magician , beauty and beautician, a plant with surprising water purificatio capabiities, a best fried and humanitarian who works for so little. Moringa is one of the most useful trees on earth, especially in sei- arid and drought-prone areas where it is often grown in countryard gardens.
The amazing thing about the leaves of Moringa is that they grow during the dry season and in times of drought, precisely when most other food growth is limited. the leaves and seeds are high in vitamins A, C, and B1. Moringa makes a major contribution to human and animal health; in many cases, it can mean the difference between life and death. Absolutely no negative effects to daily consumption of Moringa leaves and seeds have ever been reported.
Moringa seeds contain about 35% oil that can be used for cooking, cosmetics and even lubricants. The seeds are often to purify dirty, bacteria-laced water in places where there is nothing else that can be used as such. Moringa seeds are considered to be better than the commonly used water purifier, aluminum sulfate, which is slightly toxic.
Moringa is readily available where it is needed mostt, in regions where clean water is a permanent concern. Moringa represents an economical, viable solution to water purification.
As a healing plant, Moringa is even more amazing. There is much evidence from around the world, from various traditions and cultures that hae used this “Miracle Tree“ for so many ailments and troubles.
The leaves are believed to ave a stabilizing effect on blood pressure and control glucose levels. They are also used to treat anxiety, diarrhea and inflammation of the colon, skin infectons, scurvy, intestinal parasites, and many other conditions.
Moringa Oleifera is a scientific name of Malunggay. Moringa has its origin in Arabia and India but today it is common all over the tropics, from South Asia to West Africa. Moringa is found in parts of East and South Africa, in many Pacific Islands in South and Central America and…everywhere indoors.
Moringa is a small, fast- growing shrub or tree that can reach 12 m (36 ft.) in height at maturity and can live for up to 20 years. A short but intese life…a life in the fast lane: Moringa is perhaps the fastest-growing of all trees as it can reach 3 m (9 ft.) in just 10 months after the seed is planted. It has deep roots, ad therefore it can survive in dry regions and a wide-open crown with a single stem.
Moringa does best where the temperature ranges from 25 to 40 degrees C (77 to 104 degrees F) and annual rainfall is at least 500 mm. Moringa grows well from sea level to 1,000 m (3,000 ft.) elevation. Historically, there is evidence that cultivation of Moringa in India dates back thousands of years, and the traditional Ayurvedic medicine used this tree to heal or prevent hundreds of diseases!