By Cat, July 9, 2017 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Never heard of Moringa? You’re not alone. Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing tree native to South Asia, but now grows throughout the tropics. Its leaves (or the powder made from them) have many health and nutritional benefits (see below for more detail). Mixing the powder with hot, frothy coconut milk, makes a great latte beverage.
Health benefits of moringa
Moringa’s leaves (or the powder made from them) are rich in anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, and cardioprotective properties; and also in important nutrients: protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium and other minerals, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and more. They are associated with the cure or prevention of hundreds of diseases in Ayurvedic medicine (from India).
Moringa seeds are also used for water purification, and work better than many of the conventional synthetic material currently used. Indeed, all parts of the tree have medicinal and practical uses.
If you have access to the fresh leaves, you can use them in salads or as herbs in cooking. Otherwise, moringa powder can be used in supplement form, or added to smoothies, soups and other liquid nourishment; just start slow while you get used to its distinctly strong ‘green’ flavor. Moringa oil can also be used, but is very expensive.
Mercola offers six reasons why moringa is being hailed as a superfood (2):
- Rich nutritional profile,
- Rich in antioxidants,
- Anti-diabetic effects by lowering blood sugar levels,
- Reduce inflammation,
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and
- Protect against arsenic toxicity.
For more detail, see his article (2)
This calming pick-me-up recipe is from Mercola’s newsletter (1). Try it instead of an espresso latte in the morning or afternoon.
Make at home: full-fat coconut milk from raw coconut meat or from dried coconut meat. In a pinch you can use canned Organic full-fat coconut milk, but because it has been heat-treated, it is not as nutritious. I don’t recommend coconut milk that comes in aseptic containers (like Silk brand) for several reasons; it:
- Has been heat treated, a process that decreases its nutritional value (so certain vitamins and minerals are added);
- Has added “natural flavor” for which the source is not specified – it could come from insects for all we know – and we cannot know what its side-effects might be;
- Has been diluted (so doesn’t have the rich flavor of fresh coconut milk;
- Contains gums to thicken it after the dilution.
Traditional coconut milk is simply made by mixing hot water with shredded coconut meat in a specific ratio, letting it steep, then straining through muslin, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. See Coconut (About) for more about its nutritional value and other uses.
Raw local honey is the best sweetener to use, especially if you have pollen allergies, as raw local honey helps with the allergy symptoms. Also, many who need to avoid sugar can use small amounts of raw honey without issues. Otherwise, use 1 – 2 drops of stevia liquid extract mixed into 1 tsp filtered water, to mix with the moringa powder.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp Moringa powder
- 1 tsp raw honey (local is best)
- small saucepan or milk-frother
- Combine Moringa powder and honey in the bottom of a mug.
- Using a milk frother or a small saucepan, steam coconut milk until bubbles form. Pour into mug and stir gently to combine.
- Mercola recipe: recipes.mercola.com/moringa-latte-recipe.aspx
- Mercola, about moringa: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/08/24/moringa-tree-uses.aspx