How Good is Moringa for Weight Loss?

by Marixie Ann Obsioma
Published on October 14, 2020 and last updated for accuracy on September 5, 2021

Deep green in color and with an earthy aroma, Moringa leaves are known around the world as a nutritional and therapeutic powerhouse. Of late, it’s become a popular superfood, and for good reason. It’s packed with protein, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. But did you know that Moringa is also good for weight loss? It can reduce appetite, burn fat, promote stable blood sugar levels, and give a boost of energy? All of these things mean that Moringa is an excellent choice if you’re looking to shed a few pounds.

What Is Moringa?

Native to tropical regions of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the drought-resistant Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) has been used therapeutically for centuries (1). Also called the drumstick tree, miracle tree, and tree of life, traditional healers use Moringa not just to enhance energy and sex drive, but also to support the stomach, liver, and immune system.

While Moringa seeds, leaves, pods, and flowers are all edible and chock full of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acids, the bulk of nutrients are concentrated in the leaves. The nutritional value of this superfood eclipses that of many animal-based products, which is rare for a plant. It is also low in carbs as well as calories (2). It’s so nutritionally dense that global aid organizations use it to address undernutrition in developing nations (3).

Chopped-up Moringa leaves provide a rich source of protein, calcium, and iron. On the other hand, Moringa seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. 

If you can’t find fresh Moringa, you can find it as a supplement.

Why Use Moringa for Weight Loss?

Below are the top ways Moringa encourages optimal body weight.

1. Promotes Stable Blood Sugar

Moringa is low on the glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause your glucose levels to go off the charts (4). Foods low on the glycemic index prevent spikes in blood sugar and subsequent crashes and fatigue afterward — the way high-sugar food like a candy bar might. It’s those spikes that slow your metabolism and cause you to gain weight.

Moringa promotes stable blood sugar through its high fiber content, as well as secondary metabolites — glucosinolates, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, which inhibit amylase activity. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that helps you metabolize starch into glucose (5). Moringa keeps the gut from absorbing starch and glucose, sending them out as digestive waste instead.

2. Kicks Cravings to the Curb

One of the hardest parts of losing weight is cutting out high-sugar, high-fat foods that many people crave. Many people say that Moringa reduces food cravings and controls appetite. This makes sense, given its complete nutritional profile. It’s as high in protein as dairy and full of numerous vitamins and minerals.

This craving-reduction effect may be due to its ability to keep blood sugar in balance. Typically, it’s the spikes and crashes in blood sugar that lead to cravings.

Some evidence also suggests that Moringa promotes healthy levels of leptin, the “fullness hormone (6).” 

3. Stimulates Fat Metabolism

The leaves of the Moringa plant are rich in chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant also found in coffee and green coffee bean extract (7). This antioxidant can support weight loss by promoting normal blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides. It also stimulates metabolism.

When overweight individuals took chlorogenic acid and combined it with exercise and a 1,800-calorie diet, they ended up with more normal body weight than those who didn’t take the supplement.

Moringa itself promotes fat metabolism. Specifically, Moringa activates brown fat, which helps your body metabolize and eliminate white fat (8). 

4. Reduces Bloating & Water Weight

Water weight or edema can leave you feeling puffy and uncomfortable. Diuretics are substances that eliminate extra water in the body. Moringa not only promotes a normal response to inflammation in the body, but it also helps reduce water weight (9). Together, these features lead to a general stabilization of body weight.

Inflammation is the body’s reaction to infection. In itself, it can lead to swelling. Long-term inflammation is associated with many disease conditions, from diabetes to autoimmune diseases and even cancer.

Reducing inflammation through healthy nutrition is vitally important. With its many nutrients and antioxidants, Moringa promotes a healthy response to inflammation (1).

Other Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa has several other medicinal uses aside from weight loss benefits. 

1. It’s Packed with Vitamins and Minerals

Many of the healthy foods you eat have a single standout nutrient. Think carrots and vitamin A, citrus and vitamin C, nuts and vitamin E. Moringa leaves stick out as a superfood because one cup of chopped leaves is considered a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and riboflavin and has notable amounts of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E, and magnesium. In fact, the leaves are more concentrated in vitamin C than oranges. That means Moringa can contribute to everything from better vision and immunity to bone health and skin radiance.

2. It’s A Source of Plant-Based Protein

Whether you’re a vegetarian or just trying to cut down on meat, it’s not always easy finding convenient plant-based protein. Sure, there are lentils and tempeh, but sometimes you just want a quick, no-cook add-in to sprinkle on smoothie bowls or add to soup. That’s where Moringa comes in. Powders made from its crushed leaves are packed with protein, approximately 3 grams of protein per tablespoon and have a leg up on legumes because they contain all the essential amino acids, necessary for muscle repair, energy production, and mood regulation.

3. It Fights Free Radicals

Free radicals are created by things like pollution, fried food, and sun exposure. They damage your cells by robbing them of an electron, causing oxidative stress, cell damage, and premature aging. The antidote for these are antioxidants like the flavonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid, which can be found in Moringa. A diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to prevent premature wrinkles and possibly make you live longer.

4. It May Improve Digestion

Moringa powder contains about 30% fiber, most of it insoluble, something you not only need for digestion but that may also reduce your risk of disease. Moringa is a natural antibiotic and antibacterial and may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens that can cause digestive upset. Moringa’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to help with digestive disorders, like colitis; plus, a recent study in mice found that it may improve gut bacteria.

5. It Can Help Lower Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Fortunately, many plant foods can effectively reduce cholesterol. These include flaxseeds, oats and almonds.

Both animal- and human-based studies have shown that Moringa oleifera may have similar cholesterol-lowering effects.

Can Everyone Use Moringa for Weight Loss?

Research shows that it’s generally okay to eat the leaves or young seed pods, and leaf extracts made from powder and water may also be safe. But it can be dangerous to eat bark or pulp, especially for pregnant women. Chemicals in the bark may make the uterus contract and lead to a miscarriage.

Though you can buy it as a powder, pill, oil, or tea, these aren’t regulated by the FDA. That means there isn’t a standard dose you should take for health benefits. And companies don’t have to prove that their product is safe or that it works as advertised.

Don’t use it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor before taking Moringa or any supplement, especially if you take any medications.

How to Consume Moringa?

You can buy Moringa in several forms, including powder, capsules, and tea. All of these can help with weight loss. 

1. Stir it into your water 

If you prefer a cold brew, you can simply mix Moringa leaf powder with water and gulp it down. Maybe not the tastiest method, but in a small glass, a shot of moringa followed is a quick and easy way of getting all that goodness straight into your system, and given your taking nothing else on board, this could be how to use moringa powder to lose weight most effectively. 

2. Take a capsule

If you are hesitant to use Moringa powder to lose weight, use pills instead. There are many Moringa capsules for weight loss available on the market, and as you might have guessed, they’re super easy to use! Moringa pills weight loss properties again are not proven, however many people report that by using Moringa capsules; weight loss was encouraged, alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle of course. 

To find out how to take Moringa capsules for weight loss exactly, dosages and recommended amounts, you can check the packaging of whichever supplement you chose.

3. Prepare a Moringa tea

One of the most popular options for customers is using Moringa for weight loss. However, pure Moringa tea has a very “green” and earthy flavor, similar to the taste of nettle tea. For many people, drinking Moringa tea is not particularly desirable, and there is a temptation to sweeten it with honey or sugar. Of course, this is not ideal if you’re trying to lose weight. 

Luckily, there are many other flavors that pair well with Moringa which you can use to brew something a little more palatable. It pairs well with green tea, mint, and even turmeric, another of the most praised superfoods today, for a super healthy brew. 

Brewing Moringa tea is simple! Just steep the Moringa leaves  or powder in hot water, and add any other fresh ingredients you wish. Alternatively, there are some quality tea products like the ones below if you’re after the convenience of prepacked tea bags. Bear in mind, these are usually less potent than straight Moringa powder, leaves and supplements.

Key Takeaway

Moringa is extremely nutritious, full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you’re wondering about the weight loss benefits of Moringa, it turns out that it can provide a burst of energy, stimulates fat metabolism, reduces appetite and cravings, and promotes stable blood sugar, which prevents spikes and crashes that lead to weight gain. It also supports overall good health.

You can buy Moringa products at specialty markets or online. If you do decide to use Moringa for weight loss and include it to your daily diet, be sure to know what you’re purchasing and how much you’re consuming. Also, be sure to tell your doctor in the event you begin to experience any issues with Moringa weight loss.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872761/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ptr.2023
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679503/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29317895/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213450/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456298/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766985/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28051244/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1434682/

 

 

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