Health Benefits of Moringa or Drumsticks
Drumsticks or moringa is beginning to gain more popularity as a new nutritious superfood. It is native to the foothills of the Himalayas in India. However, today it is widely grown around the world in most tropical, subtropical and semi-arid regions. Moringa or also known as the “miracle tree” has countless health benefits. Read on to know about the health benefits of moringa!
Moringa plant is known as ‘Sahijan’ or ‘Munaga’ in Hindi ‘Sujna’ in Marathi, ‘Sanjina’ in Punjabi, ‘Mulaga’ in Telugu, ‘Murungai’ in Tamil, ‘Nugge Mara’ in Kannada and ‘Sigru’ in Malayalam.
The tree is evergreen, slim and medium-sized which grows upright, featuring a big canopy of branches. Its fruit appears like drumstick (therefore the name) with white flowers and spherical-shaped leaves which are also edible. Drumsticks have a distinct flavour, similar to that of asparagus.
Moringa tree is also known as the drumstick tree by the British and Malunggay in the Philippines. This plant belongs to the family of flowering plant Moringaceae. The word “Moringa” comes from the Tamil word, ‘Murungai’ which means drumstick. It is a multipurpose plant and all its parts – the leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark are beneficial.
Did You Know?
– Moringa contains 18 of 20 amino acids with all 9 essential amino acids
– Drinking moringa tea made by boiling moringa flowers in water can help fight cold
– A spoonful of dried and powdered moringa leaves is administered to children to ward off malnutrition
– In drought-prone areas of Africa, moringa is popular as the cure for starvation
Moringa or drumstick leaves and pods are a nutritional powerhouse that contains several essential proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is low in fat and cholesterol. Drumsticks also contain dietary fibers.
Health Benefits of Moringa or Drumstick
The antioxidant properties of moringa help prevent liver disorders, maintains eye health and blood sugar levels, improves cardiovascular health, bone health and aids in wound healing, provides hair care and skin care. It also contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help fight off pathogens.
Let’s delve deeper into some of the major health benefits of Moringa.
Drumsticks have a high Vitamin C content, which helps in boosting the immune system. A strong immune system helps you lead a healthy and disease-free life. Vitamin C protects your body against pathogens as well as other environmental toxins due to its antioxidant properties.
Drumsticks have antioxidant properties due to the presence of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Additionally, it also contains quercetin and chlorogenic acid, which have antioxidant properties that prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals. The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially DNA damage may lead to the development of cancer and other health conditions.
Maintains Heart Health
Thickening and hardening of the blood vessels or arteries can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which affects heart health as well as the cardiovascular system. Quercetin present in drumsticks helps lower blood pressure by controlling blood flow and pressure. It also reduces LDL (low-density lipoprotein) oxidation. This offers protection against blood vessel inflammation thus preventing atherosclerosis.
Improves Bone Health
Calcium, iron and essential vitamins present in drumsticks help in enhancing bone health. These nutrients improve bone density and promote a healthy bone structure.
Drumstick leaves and pods are rich in B complex vitamins (such as niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and pyridoxine), which plays an important role in digestion. These vitamins regulate the digestive process by facilitating the break down of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats into their simpler forms. It also contains dietary fibers that relieve constipation by increasing stool weight and assisting stool passage in the large intestine.
Aids Weight Loss
The fiber present in moringa absorbs water and bulks up which makes you fuller faster. This prevents over-eating and helps in weight loss. Additionally, the presence of chlorogenic acid in Moringa supports weight loss by balancing blood sugar and acting as a fat burner.
How to include drumsticks in your diet?
Moringa leaves are a great alternative to meat because of its high protein content. This is especially beneficial for vegetarians. Leaves of moringa possess excellent nutritional properties and you can even use it as cattle feed. It promotes better milk production and improves meat quality. You can add it to salads or use in preparing sauces, curries and soups.
You can use cold pressed drumstick oil for cooking and it also has a long shelf life. Moringa seed oil does not easily turn rancid and you can use it as a lubricant for fine apparatus such as watches. The immature seed pods of the moringa tree, popularly known as drumsticks in India, are an important part of its cuisine. The white flowers of moringa are also extensively used in Thai cooking.
Drumsticks are an integral part of different cuisines across India starting from South India to West Bengal. Although drumsticks are mostly present in sambhar and other lentil preparations, it also tastes great in curries and koftas due to its crunchy texture. You can use both drumsticks and its leaves for preparing soups.
Apart from this, there are several varieties of poriyals in which you can add drumsticks. After cooking, the tender pulp blends wonderfully with the flavours of turmeric, chilli, tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper and even milk. Drumstick leaves are delicious when you knead it into flour to make rotis. They have no underlying bitterness and you can even add it to kormas or use it to make a spice blend.
Thus, there are numerous health benefits of Moringa and hence these are the perfect superfood. How do you like to include drumstick or Moringa in your diet? Let us know in the comments below.
100g of raw drumsticks pod provides 37 Calories, Carbs – 8.5g (Dietary Fibre – 3.2g), Protein – 2.1g, Fat – 0.2g, Sodium – 42mg
And a percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 1%, Vitamin C – 235%, Iron – 2%, Calcium – 3% (based on a 2000 Calorie diet)