How to Add Nutrient-Rich Moringa to Your Diet and Why You Should


One of the smartest things you can do for your health is to eat a nutrient-dense diet. Although there’s no single superfood that alone can alter your health for the better, some foods offer exceptional nutrient density, whether in the form of vitamins and minerals or phytonutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. One of those is moringa.

Moringa oleifera is a tree native to parts of Africa and Asia. Moringa trees grow in tropical climates and can reach heights of up to 70 feet. Moringa belongs to the Mallow family, which includes hibiscus, another plant with potential health benefits. Studies show that hibiscus can modestly lower blood pressure and may improve how blood vessels function.

Despite their tall stature and prickly branches, moringa oleifera trees have a fast growth rate—they can grow up to 3 feet per year in ideal conditions. The leaves are nutritious and inexpensive, making them a cheap source of food in certain parts of the world.

Moringa is Available as Leaves or as a Dried Powder

People consume moringa leaves raw or as a dried powder available in many health food stores and natural food markets. The leaves contain important amino acids like arginine, glutamine, lysine, proline, alanine, and glycine, the building blocks of protein. Plus, it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs but can’t make.

One of the many health benefits of moringa is it’s high in vitamins and minerals. Moringa contains more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more potassium than a banana. It also contains omega fatty acids, beta carotene, and antioxidants which help support the immune system and eye health and reduce inflammation. In addition, it’s a good source of B-vitamins that help convert nutrients into energy.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Moringa

Moringa may help your body fight inflammation. Antioxidants fight free radicals that can damage cells, which in turn causes inflammation. Therefore moringa is often called an “anti-inflammatory” plant—it quells inflammation by calming oxidative stress. Research even suggests that Moringa could reduce pain and swelling as well as redness associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis or other rheumatic diseases. Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, there’s evidence that it may be helpful for managing certain types of pain such as joint pain.

Studies discussed in Frontier of Pharmacology show that moringa may help some autoimmune conditions including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis by blocking the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Some research shows that lower doses of moringa may be more effective for reducing inflammation than higher doses. That’s why it’s better to get moringa from food sources rather than supplements.

Can Moringa Lower Blood Sugar?

Moringa leaves and the dried powder contains chromium, a nutrient that helps regulate insulin production. For this reason, small studies show moringa may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Five out of seven studies in humans found Moringa significantly lowered blood sugar in people with diabetes. The participants used a powdered leaf form of moringa, like what you’d get if you buy dried moringa powder.

How to Add Moringa to Your Diet

You can consume moringa leaves raw or cooked.  The leaves have a mild flavor that makes them a healthy addition to salads, soups, and stir-fries. You can also grind dried moringa leaves into a fine powder and sprinkle the powder into soups, stews, and other dishes. However, it’s easiest to buy pre-ground moringa powder at health food stores or natural food markets.

Another way to enjoy moringa is to make a cup of moringa tea using fresh moringa leaves. It’s easy to make if you have a tea strainer and it’s a caffeine-free alternative to coffee. You can also mix it with other teas such as black or green varieties for more flavor options. Moringa tea has a mild nutty flavor, somewhat akin to green tea, and is often consumed plain without added sugar.  Some people enjoy it with honey or agave nectar, but this can alter the nutritional profile of the drink.

Are There Side Effects of Using Moringa?

Moringa is safe for most people but avoid consuming any part of this plant if you have an allergy to peaches, plums, or apricots due to their close resemblance to moringa leaves. If you aren’t sure whether you are allergic to moringa or not, start by consuming small amounts before gradually increasing your dosage until you know exactly how your body reacts to the plant.

If you have irritable bowel syndrome, be cautious as consuming large quantities of moringa can cause digestive irritation with irritable bowel. If you have a history of blood clots or take a blood thinner, talk to your doctor before using moringa powder. Some animal studies show it may make it easier for a blood clot to form, especially in people at high risk.

Fortunately, there are no known accounts of blood clotting in humans after consuming moringa powder or taking a moringa supplement with the exception of one clot that occurred in a 62-year-old woman using moringa as a supplement. However, it was unclear whether moringa played a role.

Until there’s more data, don’t use moringa if you have a history of blood clots, or those taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) or apixaban (Eliquis). Also, consult with a physician before using supplements containing M. oleifera extract.

The Bottom Line

Moringa contains a variety of nutrients, but its best feature is the anti-inflammatory compounds it contains. Although it may not be a miracle food as some have proposed, it can be a healthy addition to your diet and a source of nutrients and phytonutrients.


  • Owens FS 3rd, Dada O, Cyrus JW, Adedoyin OO, Adunlin G. The effects of Moringa oleifera on blood glucose levels: A scoping review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2020 May;50:102362. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102362. Epub 2020 Feb 28. PMID: 32444043.
  • Xiao X, Wang J, Meng C, Liang W, Wang T, Zhou B, Wang Y, Luo X, Gao L, Zhang L. Moringa oleifera Lam and its Therapeutic Effects in Immune Disorders. Front Pharmacol. 2020 Dec 17;11:566783. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.566783. PMID: 33390944; PMCID: PMC7773658.
  • Aderinola TA, Fagbemi TN, Enujiugha VN, Alashi AM, Aluko RE. Amino acid composition and antioxidant properties of Moringa oleifera seed protein isolate and enzymatic hydrolysates. Heliyon. 2018 Oct 23;4(10):e00877. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00877. PMID: 30386828; PMCID: PMC6205298.

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