Moringa seeds are a potentially incredible find, with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering effects listed among some of their benefits.
Moringa seeds also offer many nutritional benefits (1). They contain:
Seven times more vitamin C than oranges;
Four times the amount of vitamin A found in carrots;
Four times more calcium than milk;
Three times more potassium than bananas; and
Two times more protein than yogurt.
And that’s just scratching the surface of the purported benefits of moringa seeds.
If research pans out, it’s possible that the moringa tree (2) (also known as the drumstick tree) and its seeds will become a new superfood.
Why Eat Moringa Seeds?
The moringa plant (3) has been eaten by indigenous cultures worldwide for over 4,000 years. Moringa is a nutrient-dense plant, rich in calcium, iron, vitamins, and essential amino acids that are found in other complete proteins such as quinoa and meat. Moringa can benefit the body in many ways including improved energy, sleep, blood pressure level, blood sugar level, hair, and skin, to name a few.
In Ayurveda, moringa leaves are believed to prevent over 300 diseases and are used all the time in traditional healing. Moringa comes from Moringa oleifera (4), a fast-growing tree found in South Asia and throughout the tropics. The tree is hardy and thrives even in rough growing conditions, so it can be planted almost anywhere and harvested in a short time. It’s been used as a nutritional enhancement in developing countries such as Malawi, Senegal, and India because of its rapid growth rate and year-round harvest.
Moringa Seeds Nutrition Facts
The following table is a breakdown of the nutritional information for moringa seeds, per 100 grams. Two key values to note are that these seeds have zero cholesterol and are very high in fiber, which can make them essential to a healthy food regimen.
7 Health Benefits of Moringa Seeds
The following are just a few of the health benefits associated with moringa seeds (5). More research is happening every year on the medicinal value of moringa; we have only just begun to understand how potentially powerful moringa tree seeds are.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a serious cardiovascular issue that can lead to heart attacks and stroke if it isn’t managed. Medications are sometimes necessary, but the ideal route if possible is through exercise, a healthy lifestyle and diet, and proper supplementation. While studies have shown that moringa can lower blood pressure, these studies are preliminary and more research needs to be done on humans, so talk to your doctor before stopping any prescribed treatment for high blood pressure.
2. Acts as a Sleep Aid
For a good night’s rest, steep moringa leaves in hot water for 15 minutes and then drink before bed. It will help you sleep soundly, which in turn will leave you energized to tackle the day.
3. Boosts Energy
A single serving of moringa has almost three times the amount of iron as spinach. This is especially important for vegetarians/vegans and those who suffer from low iron issues, as the body needs iron to enrich the blood and carry oxygen to our muscles, organs, and tissues.
4. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
A 2014 study published in Acta Histochemica reported that moringa seeds can lower blood sugar levels, which would provide therapeutic management (or even prevention) of diabetes (6). However, the study was done on lab rats and research is needed on humans before any recommendations can be made.
5. High in Fiber
Moringa is high in fiber, and as a result it can do a great job of moving food along your digestive system. Fiber is also a key component in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
6. Can Lower Cholesterol
Too much cholesterol in the blood has been linked to heart disease. In traditional Thai medicine, moringa is used as a cardiotonic (a drug or herb used to improve how the heart contracts). Some plants have been known to reverse bad cholesterol and research is showing that moringa is among them.
7. Promotes Healthy, Beautiful Skin
The oil extracted from the seeds contains almost 30 antioxidants. The skin absorbs the oil well and can receive these nourishing antioxidants easily. The oil can be used as a moisturizer and antiseptic.
Ways to Use Moringa and Moringa Seeds
Many parts of the moringa plant are edible, but how to eat moringa seeds, that’s the question. The pods (7) are often used in cooking (though you won’t likely have a chance to have moringa in this form in North America at the moment unless you grow your own tree). The leaves are used more readily.
- Moringa oil, also called ben oil because of the high levels of behenic acid in it, is pressed from the seeds. It can be used in cosmetics and is edible, though the price is steep; it’s almost 15 times higher than olive oil.
- The roots are often ground down for use in supplement capsules. Traditional medicine uses the roots, leaves, and seeds.
- If you do get your hands on moringa leaves (and they will be dried unless you decide to plant your own tree), they can be cooked much like spinach and kale. Add them to a grilled cheese or any other sandwich for a nutrient boost, or use them in soups and stews. The leaves have high levels of vitamins C, A, and B.
- The seeds can be eaten just like nuts, so add them to granola or a trail mix you prepare with other nuts and dried fruit. Mix them with hemp seeds for an incredible boost of energy and health.
- If you can get a hold of fresh seeds, you can boil them as you would peas and use them as a side dish to any meal. The seeds don’t have as many vitamins and minerals as the leaves do, but they are high in vitamin C.
- If you opt for moringa leaf powder, you have more options for use. Add the powder to yogurt, soups, and smoothies.
Moringa Seeds: Dosages
Because it’s relatively new to North American culture, moringa seeds dosages have not truly been established as of yet, but below is a rough guideline. If you are concerned or want more concrete dosage suggestions, talk to someone at a health food store or visit a naturopathic doctor.
Though human trials and studies for moringa seeds are limited, the results of studies done on rats show that 150 to 200 mg/kg taken orally (as a tincture in water) seems to be an ideal dose. From there the following can be estimated:
- 1,600 to 2,200 mg for a 150-pound person
- 2,100 to 2,900 mg for a 200-pound person
- 2,700 to 3,600 mg for a 250-pound person
Use the above as guidelines for maximum dosages; start at the lowest amount and then work your way up once you determine how your body reacts to it.
More research is needed to know the full range of moringa seeds benefits. And side effects may exist as well, but again, not enough research has been done to make any known just yet. Use caution and if anything odd does happen, stop using moringa and see a doctor.
And if you start experiencing abnormal side effects such as hives, a severe rash, heart palpitations, dizziness, or signs of anaphylaxis, please seek medical help immediately.