Why the west is going crazy for this “superfood” we’ve had for centuries
You’re late again, Europe and America
Jun 8, 2017
It’s a wonder how it’s only been in this decade that malunggay has made its debut to the Western world, where it is quickly gaining a reputation. Dubbed as the “next superfood” since almost half a decade ago, it has more vitamins and nutrients than the last fad, kale.
To be more specific: It has seven times the Vitamin C of an orange, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, 13 times the Vitamin A of spinach, and four times the Vitamin B of pork. It also has 63 times the potassium of milk (three times that of bananas), 30 times the R-Amino Acid of brown rice and 50 times the Vitamin B2 of sardines.
Companies are now harvesting the leaves of these unassuming trees and drying them for export. Products that include the famed Moringa in their list of ingredients like supplements and energy bars are selling like pancakes. It comes as a surprise how something so natural to us (and mostly overlooked) is finding a rather large niche market in our Western counterpart. Here are a few benefits that we’ve known as Filipinos that malunggay has instilled in our culture.
1. Malunggay aids lactation in breastfeeding mothers
A controlled study from Ospital ng Makati found that mothers who took malunggay supplements before and after giving birth experienced an earlier onset of breast milk and larger volumes of it. And according to testimonials from breastfeeding mothers, myself included, consuming an increased amount of malunggay integrated in the daily diet does have a noticeable effect on the amount of breast milk produced.
2. Malunggay helps with indigestion and other stomach problems
Truly Filipino households will have that one elder with all the inherited knowledge of natural medicine. I remember an old household helper who used to boil malunggay leaves and stems along with ginger every time me and my siblings had too much to eat. But the “miracle tree” is known for its anti-flatulent properties among its numerous benefits.
3. Malunggay is a rich source for vitamin C
Mothers take note! It is a good idea to add that extra dose of malunggay leaves in your chicken tinola during the rainy season or when your child is starting with the sniffles. Its slew of vitamins and minerals help boost the immune system and fight infections (the plant is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties), while the innate calcium helps strengthen the bones.
Moringa oleifera or more locally known as malunggay normally grows in dry tropical environments—an advantage we have in the Philippines. While the rest of the world is only realizing the amazing benefits of this flexible plant, the Philippines has had it in its system since the dawn of history. So, to all of you Western health buffs in awe: You’re welcome.
Featured image courtesy of Miss Dasalla