Sprinkling This Powder Into Your Smoothies Might Help You Lose Weight
By Rachael Schultz; Photography by Pixabay
Move over, matcha.
Matcha is so 2016 —we have a new favourite superfood for our smoothies. It’s called moringa powder and, unlike most plants that are loaded with antioxidants, it also packs a punch of protein and fibre. Basically, it contains everything you need to start your day or recover from your workouts—and it may even help you lose weight.
What Is Moringa Powder
Moringa powder is extracted from the tropical moringa tree, namely the moringa oleifera species, according to research from Food Science and Human Wellness. Because it grows fast and survives with minimal water, the drumstick tree, as it’s also known, has moved beyond its native Himalayas and is often grown in tropical and subtropical areas, like southeast Asia, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean, where natives have been grounding the leaves into a medicinal and nutritional powder for centuries.
Moringa Powder Benefits
Moringa powder has two huge perks: It’s ridiculously nutritious and packed with antioxidants, so it offers a ton of disease protection.
According to the USDA, one cup of fresh, chopped moringa leaves contains two grams of protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B2, vitamin A, and magnesium. Compared to kale, moringa powder can have twice the amount of protein, four times more calcium, six times more iron, 1.5 times more fibre, 97 times more B2, and five times more B3, says registered dietician Manuel Villacorta.
It can be especially helpful for women who tend to need more iron and calcium, he adds. And research in PLOS ONE even shows moringa has such high levels of minerals that the powder could help reduce micronutrient deficiencies in malnourished populations.
It’s also jam-packed with antioxidants. In fact, a study analysis in Phytotherapy Research reports that because of its levels and variety of polyphenols, phenolic acids, and flavonoids, moringa leaf extract can help protect tissue, including the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs, act as a pain reliever, protect against ulcers, protect against hypertension, and boost immune function.
Villacorta says there is no research to suggest the powder can actually help people lose weight. But, he adds, the nutrition content, particularly high levels of B vitamins, can boost your metabolism. “B vitamins act as co-enzymes, so they help foster a more efficient metabolism. A more efficient metabolism burns more calories, which can in turn help with weight loss,” he explains.
Another huge plus? A study analysis in Phytotherapy Research reports that of the research we have, none have found any adverse effects in people consuming the extract, a stance Villacorta echoes.
How To Use It
Moringa comes packaged a few different ways. It can be extracted into an oil, which you can cook with to score a dose of nutrients. In addition to a tasty, mild nutty flavour, moringa oleifera oil is also extremely stable, so it doesn’t lose its antioxidant capacity after sitting on the shelf like other good-for-you oils, according to a report in Lipids in Health and Diseases.
The other most accessible form is a moringa powder ($29.99, amazon.com). Look for leaf powder specifically, as research shows extracts from this part of the plant exhibit the greatest antioxidant activity. Villacorta recommends sprinkling it your smoothie. “I use one tablespoon of moringa powder in my smoothies three times a week for the high amounts of nutrients,” he adds.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com