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Moringa oleifera: nutritional properties of a popular plant in the Third World

Moringa Oleifera It is a tree native to Northern India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, from the Brassicaceae family.. It has been shown to grow in all types of terrain, including arid, which is why it is widely cultivated.

Known in Asia for its culinary virtues and medicinal properties, it has spread to the tropics and is widely used in Latin America, from northern Mexico to Argentina.

Today, however, it has made the leap into dietetics and parapharmacy in the form of countless supplements that are credited with the following virtues:

  • fungicide
  • Bactericide
  • Effective against cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular depressant
  • Cholesterol lowering
  • Antidiabetic
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antioxidant
  • Water purifier
  • It is rich in essential amino acids
  • rich in vitamins
  • rich in minerals

Based on their attributes?

The truth is, some studies show that it may have anti-cancer compounds. For example, the effects of its leaf preparations were studied on laboratory mice and showed that It is an effective anticarcinogenic agent against breast and colorectal cancer.

Although this does not mean that in the amounts we can take these drugs are effective in humans for this purpose, antitumor principles such as ß-sitosterol, a sterol that It has shown good results in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

also Its leaves have been shown to have great antioxidant activity Thanks to its rich vitamins such as A, A few or tocopherols of group B, C and E.

On the other hand, 100 grams of leaves provide almost half a gram of calcium, which makes it a valuable source in many countries of the world where, for example, there is no consumption of dairy products as an important source of this compound. It also emphasizes its contribution to phosphorus.

In this regard, it should be noted that its leaves, similar in appearance to acacia but not woody, can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, and that they contain almost 1 gram of fiber per 100, very little fat. Six grams of protein and almost 15 grams of carbohydrates.

On the other hand, Moringa oleifera It is sold as a powder for medicinal and prophylactic purposes.and also as an additive to various foods, although its preventive efficacy in humans in this form has not been determined. Its leaves can be eaten boiled.

A nutritive oil in its seeds

Although most of the seed is water, the oil extracted from its seed germ is of great nutritional interest for its properties, including It is rich in sterols.

These are substances that can trap intestinal cholesterol, which other foods help to metabolize, and prevent it from entering the body and raising LDL or bad cholesterol levels.

Among these sterols are noteworthy Kaempferol, campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol -Previously cited for its anti-tumor powers – 5-avenasterol and chlorosterol, among others.

In addition to the cholesterol-lowering compounds that prove its cardioprotective power, it emphasizes Its richness in oleic acid Almost 66%, one of the highest percentages in seeds. Oleic acid, also known as olive oil, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

he Moringa oilIn addition, it is also distinguished by the fact that the percentage of saturated palmitic and stearic acids, similar to animal fats, does not reach 10% and 7%, respectively.

These data, together with the richness in vitamin E and similar compounds, as well as the yield of its cultivation, make it A very interesting alternative to palm oil in the third world.

Water treatment plant

The last fascinating aspect of this plant is its ability to purify polluted water. Thus, Moringa oleifera is used to purify water for both Fungicidal properties of its bark as the bactericides of its leaves.

In addition, its pods and its seeds are represented by A cationic polyelectrolyte Can bind negative ions and precipitate organic matter in suspension with an anionic charge and is responsible for turbidity, thereby promoting decantation.

These virtues and the fact that it is an easily cultivated product in the tropics, as well An alternative to aluminum sulfate – flocculant, which is commonly used and which is not biodegradable-, did Some NGOs are studying its implementation in rural areas The third world will increase their level of self-sufficiency and access to drinking water.

Drug interactions and side effects

In any case, if we decide to supplement with extracts of this plant, we must first consult a doctor, because it may interact with certain medications.

  • Levothyroxine. It is used to combat thyroid problems. Compounds in moringa leaf may help thyroid function, but should not be taken with other thyroid medications.
  • Any drug that must be broken down by the liver. Moringa extract can slow down this process, which can cause various side effects or complications.
  • Diabetes medications. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar, for which moringa is also effective. It is vital to ensure that blood sugar levels do not fall too low.
  • High blood pressure medication. Moringa is effective in lowering blood pressure. Using moringa with other medications that lower blood pressure can cause your blood pressure to drop too low.

also Cases of skin rash and itching have been reported obtained from taking an extract of this plant.

Moringa’s anticoagulant properties, on the other hand, suggest that people with blood clotting problems who are being treated with medication for this purpose should consult their doctor before taking supplements.

Its use is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, since the possible abortion effect of Moringa is not excluded. Finally, it can have an unwanted laxative effect.

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Source: El Diario





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