The Blood Sugar–Balancing Ingredient That Will Take Your Smoothie To A Whole New Level
If there was a Hollywood award ceremony for the best nutrition source of 2017, the moringa tree would surely grab the title. With the official name Morings oleifera and the nickname "miracle tree," this plant from Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America is the superfood of 2017. So if you're looking to put something new in your smoothie to fight inflammation, support brain health, and balance blood sugar—read on.
I'm moringa-crazy because of the dense nutrition. The leaves contain more vitamin C than an orange, more vitamin B3 than peanuts, and more vitamin A than a carrot. This plant contains 25 times more iron than spinach and four times the fiber of oats. Moringa is so beneficial because it's a member of the Brassica family—along with broccoli, kale, and cauliflower—which can produce high dietary levels of sulforaphane, a phytochemical with seemingly endless health benefits. Here are eight reasons to add moringa to your daily routine.
1. Extra antioxidants
Moringa works like an antioxidant in the body fighting oxidative stress, cellular damage, and inflammation. A study found that leaf extracts had higher antioxidant activity, free radical–scavenging capacity, and higher inhibition of lipid, protein, and DNA oxidation than the flowers and seeds. So keep that in mind when you're choosing a brand.
2. Lower inflammation levels
Inflammation can be measured through a blood test—like the high sensitivity C-reactive protein test—and is elevated in many chronic diseases. Moringa reduces inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes and proteins in the body, and research has shown that moringa leaf concentrate can significantly lower inflammation in cells.
3. Healthier blood sugar and cholesterol levels
4. More heart-health protection
5. Better memory and more-positive moods
6. Greater liver support
Moringa has been reported to reduce liver damage and fibrosis and reverse oxidation in the liver.
7. More infection-fighting power
8. Speedier wound healing
Moringa has blood-clotting properties in its leaves, roots, and seeds that enhance wound healing and can reduce clotting time.
You can add moringa powder to your smoothie or drink it as a tea. It also comes in capsules if you find that easier. You can start with half a teaspoon a day and move up to one or two tablespoons a day. Here's a berry and moringa smoothie recipe I like to make in the mornings to start my day on a healthy note:
Dr. Kahn’s Berry & Moringa Smoothie
- 1 cup berries fresh or frozen (I prefer blueberries)
- 1 scoop organic pea protein powder (I prefer vanilla or strawberry flavor)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ tablespoons moringa powder
- 8 ounces unsweetened almond or organic soy milk
Blend with some ice, and enjoy your healthy drink.
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Dr. Joel Kahn is the founder of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine and is a professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is owner of GreenSpace Cafe in Ferndale, Michigan. His books, The Whole Heart Solution, Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses, and Vegan Sex are all available for sale now.