A nutritious and protein-rich tree vegetable is the object of current research at the University of the Philippines at Los BaÃ±os. Recent finds have revealed that the proteinaceous seeds, aside from the intrinsic food values, have the capacity of purifying even the most turbid water, making it safer to use. The purifying activity comes from seeds containing a biologically active coagulant. In examining the potential of moringa, more findings are expected to surface in due course. Analysis shows that moringa leaves per 100 g edible portion give 75 calories of food energy (higher than squash, tomato, and carrot); 5.9 g protein (higher than cauliflower, lettuce and mustard); 12.8 g
carbohydrates (higher than papaya and watermelon); 35.3 mg calcium (much higher than taro leaf, mungo, squash tops, and sweet potato tops).
Analysis also shows that among the vegetables tested, moringa has the highest niacin content (3.7 mg) followed by banana flower. For thiamin, phosphorous, and ascorbic acid, moringa has still the highest content. Uncommon in other vegetables, an iron compound found in moringa helps prevent the shortage of red blood cells and builds and maintains blood supply. Being an excellent source of calcium, moringa helps in keeping up healthy bones and teeth. Fresh moringa leaves are also rich in vitamin A. higher than red and green mungo, radish, or eggplant. As a source of vitamin A. it keeps the body healthy and prevents xerophthalmia, an eye disorder characterized by dry and lusterless eyeballs. Likewise, with the same vitamin, moringa stabilizes the body by increasing the body
resistance to disease and preventing poor night vision.
Niacin, on the other hand, is a vitamin of the B complex. In the required dosage, it helps stimulate growth and appetite, prevents roughening of the
skin, neck, and hands, and prevents beri-beri, and anemia. Ascorbic acid is fairly high in fresh moringa leaves (232 mg/100 g edible portion). It is essential in preventing skin hemorrhage (especially in the mouth and gums). anemia, and skin eruption. Ascorbic acid helps to hasten tissue healing and resist body infection. An amino acid, methionine, is present in the protein-rich leaves, in young pods, and in the seeds. It is used in
treating certain liver disorders.
Meanwhile, even more researchers from developed
countries are delving into the properties of moringa. More recent reports have it that moringa seed is now being used to test a model water decontamination system in the UK at the University of Leicester. Moringa seeds, they found, contain biologically active protein
coagulant, which is about 30 to 40% of the seed's weight.
Researchers have believed that this protein acts as polyelectrolyte that cross-links charged particles. When the
seed protein is introduced into clouded and contaminated
water, it coagulates. Later, particles are lumped with
pathogenic, non-pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and other
water-borne organisms. Then the lumped particles settle
down and the turbid water becomes clear. Researchers
at the university said they are further testing the proteinaceous seed coagulant to learn more about its biological properties.
A product called Rico Magda's Malunggay (Moringa) Green Tea has packed the goodness of Malunggay (Moringa).
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