Moringa is an herb derived from the Moringa oleifera tree, a tree of Hindu origin. Due to its benefits and nutritional properties, it has been used in Ayurveda medicine for centuries.
Its traditional uses for moringa products are medicinal treatments for stomach and skin infections. In addition, recent studies suggest that one of its potential additional benefits may be for diabetics, including weight loss.
The following article describes the properties of moringa supported by scientific evidence and its side effects and contraindications. Is taking moringa suitable for people with diabetes?
Properties and nutrients of moringa
Moringa is a food with a high content of essential nutrients for the human body. It is high in the range of vitamins and minerals difficult to find in the plant world: magnesium, calcium, and manganese.
It is also high in antioxidant and vegetable protein content. Below you can see the nutrients and properties in 100 g of moringa: (1)
The negative part of moringa’s nutrients is its high phytate content. A type of antinutrient compound makes it difficult to absorb some minerals. To avoid these effects, it should be taken in the form of an extract. (2)
Moringa leaves are rich in vitamins, minerals, and potent plant compounds like polyphenols.
Health benefits of moringa
In addition to having excellent nutritional properties, moringa leaves and their extracts can be used to treat cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. The health benefits of moringa are:
- Reduce blood sugar levels
Several studies have shown that one of the benefits of moringa is lowering blood sugar levels. (5,6,7) This is one of the properties that are particularly important for people with diabetes. Adding 50 grams of leaves to a meal can reduce the rise in blood glucose by up to 21% (5).
- Possible anticancer
The antitumor activity of drugs prepared from the leaves, flowers, and roots of M. oleifera has been recognized by current medicine. One of its benefits has been confirmed is preventing certain types of cancer. This is due to its positive effects on liver cytochrome. (2)
- Reduce lousy cholesterol (LDL)
Having high cholesterol has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Fortunately, moringa is one of the plant foods capable of lowering bad cholesterol. Other effective foods are oats, nuts, and chia seeds.
- Prevent inflammation from colitis
One of the benefits of moringa seeds is preventing inflammation in ulcerative colitis and other stomach infections. (6) Moringa seed extracts showed better results than traditional colitis inflammation treatments such as prednisone.
- Less muscle fatigue
The aqueous extracts of moringa leaf have anti muscle fatigue properties. Studies have shown more significant mobilization of the body’s fat stores when exercising. This allows better use of glycogen stores and reduces lactic acid and urea accumulation in the blood. (6)
How to take moringa? – Dose per day
Moringa can be taken as a powder or capsule supplement. It can be taken in the form of smoothies with cinnamon and fruits to improve the slightly bitter taste. The usual dose is 2 to 6 grams per day.
It is better to choose supplements from the leaves as they have more benefits. Moringa does not contain caffeine, so that it can be taken before bed.
Is moringa good for weight loss?
Traditionally it is believed that one of the benefits of moringa is to aid in weight loss in humans.
To date, there is insufficient research to corroborate these effects. However, animal studies have yielded promising results. Moringa had positive effects in reducing the fat formation and improving lipid metabolism. (9)
In humans, it has been proven that combining moringa with other natural extracts (such as turmeric and curry) can improve weight loss results by up to 110%. (10) However, it is not yet clear whether these benefits are due to moringa or the other compounds.
In conclusion, it is not yet known if moringa is helpful for weight loss; there is still more research to be done to confirm this fact.
Does moringa make you sleepy?
No study to date has proven the relationship between sleep and taking moringa. There is also no evidence of active components that can act as sleep inducers.
Some authors suggest that moringa may make you sleepy due to its content of tryptophan, a precursor of hormones related to sleep. However, its tryptophan content is low. (12) So, this assumption is not likely either. Although it is not safe, it is unlikely that sleep moringa.
Side effects and contraindications
Moringa leaves are considered a safe food. However, an excess in the dose in extracts and supplements can have side effects. Possible side effects of moringa extracts are:
- Skin rash
No studies state that extracts derived from moringa leaves are suitable for pregnant or lactating women. So this is considered to be one of its contraindications.
People with diabetes who take medication should always consult their doctor before taking moringa extracts. It is also not recommended for people with hypothyroidism; one of its possible effects is to alter the levels of thyroid hormones.
Moringa is an herb derived from a tree of Hindu origin. Science has confirmed its properties and health benefits: it can lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and reduce muscle fatigue, among others. Research has not yet fully confirmed the effects of losing weight in humans.
In moderate amounts, moringa leaves and extracts have no contraindications. In excess, they can have mild side effects. It is recommended to take a dose of 2 – 6 grams per day.