Moringa leaves could easily be added to such sauces as a potherb or as dried herbs.
The leaves are outstanding as a source of vitamin A and, when raw, vitamin C. They
are a good source of B vitamins and among the best plant sources of minerals. The
calcium content is very high for a plant. Phosphorous is low, as it should be. The
content of iron is very good (it is reportedly prescribed for anemia in the Philippines).
They are an excellent source of protein and a very low source of fat and carbohydrates.
Thus the leaves are one of the best plant foods that can be found. Researchers at
the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) showed that leaves of
four moringa species (oleifera, peregrina, stenopetala and drouhardii) all contained
high levels of nutrients and antioxidants.
They also found that nutrient content
varied little between ten accessions of Moringa oleifera. Nutrient content did,
however, vary with preparation method, leaf age and harvest season. Though some
nutrients in vegetables are lost as a result of cooking, AVRDC scientists observed
that boiled moringa leaves or leaf powder provided at least three times more bio-available
iron than raw moringa leaves. Boiling also enhanced antioxidant activity of moringa
leaves. Nutrient content was higher in mature than young leaves, though people usually
prefer to eat young shoots.
Vitamin A was highest during the hot-wet season, whereas
iron and vitamin C were highest during the cool-dry season. In many warm-climate
countries today, health workers are now treating malnutrition in small children
and pregnant and nursing women with moringa leaf powder. The results have often
been dramatic and very large numbers of moringa trees are being planted. Some of
the results are published below.
Moringa is one of the world’s most nutritious crops. Ounce for ounce, the leaves
of moringa have more beta-carotene than carrots, more protein than peas, more vitamin
C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and more iron