Antioxidants are substances that protect the body by neutralizing unstable molecules called free radicals that may cause oxidative stress and can do serious damage to cells once they build up in the body. This may contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes (1).
Some of the factors that promote excessive free radical formation are air pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol intake, toxins, and high blood sugar levels (2).
Our body may generate its own antioxidants, such as the cellular antioxidant glutathione. However, the best way to get antioxidants is through the intake of certain foods (such as colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts) and vitamins. Some of the well-known antioxidants are vitamin A, C, and E, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and selenium (3).
Moringa As A Source Of Antioxidant
Moringa oleifera is also known as “drumstick tree,” “miracle tree,” and “tree of life”. This superfood has been used as a traditional remedy for a range of health issues for thousands of years (4). It is traditionally used for conditions like diabetes, long-lasting inflammation, bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, heart health, joint pain, and cancer (5).
Moringa oleifera contains essential amino acids, carotenoids in leaves, and components with nutraceutical properties. These support the idea of using this plant as a nutritional supplement or constituent in food preparation (6).
Studies revealed that several antioxidant plant compounds are present in the leaves of Moringa oleifera (7,8).
These include the following (9,10):
Vitamin C – Boost the immune system, remove unwanted substances known as reactive oxidative species (ROS) from the body, helps the body absorb iron, helps the body produce collagen, L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitter, and enhances wound healing (11).
Beta-carotene – essential for normal growth and development, immune system function, healthy skin and epithelia, and vision (12).
Quercetin – a dietary flavonoid that may help reduce inflammation, allergy symptoms, and blood pressure (13).
Chlorogenic acid – phenolic acids found in coffee that have beneficial effects on glucose regulation (14).
Different Ways To Incorporate Moringa Into Our Daily Diet
- Stir it into your water
- Steep it as a tea
- Mix it into smoothies
- Sprinkle it into soups
- Bake it into… anything
- Green up your guacamole
- Shake it into salad dressing