How Good is Moringa for Weight Loss?

by Marixie Ann Obsioma
Published on October 14, 2020 and last updated for accuracy on October 18, 2020

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 it can also 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’s leaves, seeds, 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. Moringa seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. 

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

How Does Moringa Aid Weight Loss?

Below are the top ways moringa encourages optimal body weight.

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.

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).” 

Energizes the Body

People traditionally used Moringa as an energy booster. Whenever they wanted a burst of energy, they’d just chew on its leaves!

With more than 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants (7), it makes sense that a bit of Moringa would energize your body. Those nutrients get into your cells and give them a quick pick-me-up.

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 (8). 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 (9). 

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 (10). 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).

Supports Heart & Overall Health

Moringa has numerous other health benefits. Its leaves contain a compound called beta-sitosterol that promotes healthy blood cholesterol levels even when a high-fat diet is consumed (11).

Don’t use that as an excuse to eat unhealthily! You will have a much healthier body with a plant-based diet, incorporating healthy fats and oils. Add Moringa to keep blood cholesterol in balance, not to counter poor food choices.

Other Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa has a number of science-backed benefits and medicinal uses aside from weight loss. 

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.

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.

It May Help Balance Hormones

Menopause can throw women’s hormones out of whack and make them feel off, but Moringa may help. A study published in the Journal of Food and Science Technology found that postmenopausal women who took a combination of Moringa leaf powder and amaranth leaf powder for three months not only had decreased markers of oxidative stress, but they also had better fasting blood glucose and increased hemoglobin levels, which could mean more balanced hormones. Moringa has also been linked to improved thyroid health, which controls hormones related to energy, sleep, and digestion.

It Could Protect the Liver

Think of your liver as the body’s detoxifier. It filters the blood, detoxifies chemicals, and metabolizes fat and Moringa may help it work better. First off, Moringa contains high concentrations of polyphenols to reverse oxidation in the liver, and preliminary research has shown Moringa consumption to reduce liver fibrosis and protect against liver damage.

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.

It May Improve Digestion

Moringa leaf 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.

It Can Support Brain Health

It’s estimated that one in eight people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. Moringa leaf is high in vitamins C and E, which combat the oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer’s. Animal studies of both Alzheimer’s and dementia are showing promising results. More good news! Moringa has also been linked to increased dopamine and serotonin (“happy hormones”), and with more research, it could possibly be used to help treat depression in the future.

May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity

Arsenic contamination of food and water is a problem in many parts of the world. Certain types of rice may contain particularly high levels.

Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic may lead to health problems over time.

For instance, studies have linked long-term exposure to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

Interestingly, several studies in mice and rats have shown that the leaves and seeds of Moringa oleifera may protect against some of the effects of arsenic toxicity.

These results are promising, but it’s not yet known whether this also applies to humans.

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.

It Can Help Your Sex Life

Stress can stress your sex life. It can throw hormone levels off, spiking cortisol and decreasing dopamine to lower libido. In animal studies, Moringa has not only been show to bring down cortisol levels, but it may also naturally boost testosterone levels, a known sex drive supporter. In one study, Moringa extract worked to enhance sexual performance in stressed rats by suppressing cortisol and increasing testosterone.

It’s Good for the Skin

Moringa is good for the skin as it is packed with skin-loving vitamins including Vitamin A and E. 

Vitamin A is essential for healthy, radiant skin and vitamin E protects cells from oxidative stress helping fight the signs of ageing.

Moringa also has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food. With an ORAC value of 157,000, it has 6x the antioxidants of goji berries and comparable levels to the antioxidant powerhouse matcha. 

Antioxidants are essential for protecting, repairing and preventing cell damage, minimizing the ageing process of the skin in the long-term. They help counteract oxidative stress and the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen causing skin dryness, fine lines, wrinkles and premature ageing.

The skin benefits of Moringa are so exceptional that Aduna Moringa Powder is one of the first food items to ever be sold in the beauty hall of prestigious London department store Liberty.

It Improves Vision

Having healthy eyes and normal vision is something that can often be taken for granted but requires the right nutrition on order to maintain normal function. As mentioned earlier, Moringa is a good source of vitamin A, which contributes to normal vision.  

Is Moringa Safe for Everyone?

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, supplements, 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.

Supplemental Forms

You can buy Moringa in several forms, including powder, capsules, and tea.

Powder

Due to its versatility, Moringa leaf powder is a popular option. Recommended serving sizes of Moringa powder range from 2–6 grams.

There are many different recipes and techniques addressing the use of Moringa powder and weight loss. Aside from using it as a tea, there are several other ways you can use Moringa powder for weight loss. 

Stir it into your water

If you prefer a cold brew, you can simply mix 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. 

Sprinkle it into your soup

Soups, made correctly, can be delicious and super low calorie. So if you want to know how to use moringa powder to lose weight whilst also enjoying a delicious meal, this could well be the approach for you. Simply sprinkle the powder in at the end when the soup has cooled a little, and voila – a simple, tasty, weight loss soup.

Upgrade your Guacamole

An extension on the idea above, combining Moringa with another delicious and healthy snack is a great way to use Moringa powder to lose weight, whilst still enjoying your favorite foods. The avocado provides an added antioxidant boost, and served on brown toast rich in fiber this is super healthy way to start the day. 

Capsules

One of the reasons it can be hard to find Moringa leaves weight loss reviews is the sheer volume of people using pills instead for this purpose. There are many Moringa pills 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.

Tea

One of the most popular options for customers is using Moringa tea for weight loss. Many people have reported positive results using this method, which is probably why many people are now calling Moringa tea the weight loss tea. 

If you’re thinking of drinking Moringa tea, weight loss might not be your only concern, however. Pure Moringa tea has a very “green” and earthy flavor, similar to the taste of nettle tea. For many people, this taste 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 the tea is simple! Just steep the Moringa powder or fresh leaves 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 powder, leaves and supplements.

Key Takeaway

Moringa is extremely nutritious, full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you’re wondering about the effects of Moringa on weight loss, it turns out that Moringa provides 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 add Moringa to your daily intake, 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 side effects.

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.researchgate.net/publication/315025159_Mission_Moringa_The_Miracle_Tree_and_Its_Healing_Properties

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766985/

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28051244/

(10) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1434682/

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5745501/

 

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