Moringa is well known around the world as one of the most nutritious plants ever discovered and is often called “the miracle tree”. Knowledge of its usefulness and nutritional benefits are beginning to spread in the United States through recent laboratory studies and promotion by health figureheads such as Dr. Oz. The leaves, seeds, and oils from the Moringa Oleifera tree are only now being discovered for their nutritive and healing value, however this tree has been revered for centuries in many countries in Asia and Africa where it grows wild. It contains 18 amino acids, including all 9 essential amino acids, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatory compounds and more than 90 nutrients which make its dried leaves one of the best nutritional supplements.
Moringa oleifera leaves are an ideal supplement for athletes to take to ensure they are at peak performance. Just a few of the many benefits Moringa offers are increased physical energy, faster recovery, increased flexibility, and improved sensory perception. The leaves of the tree are among the most protein dense leaves of any plant species. Isoleucine and Leucine are two of the essential amino acids found in these leaves that help build protein and enzymes that enhance the body’s energy and alertness. Moringa supplements, due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, accelerate the healing process of injuries such as bruises, cuts, and burns.
The human body can differentiate between natural nutritional supplements and synthetic ones. Synthetic supplements can cause many side effects due to the body’s inability to absorb its entire contents. Moringa powder and tea is a 100% natural way for the body to absorb these essential vitamins and nutrients, ultimately improving strength. Moringa, with its high Vitamin A and Vitamin C content, combined with its high iron content (3 times more Iron than that of Spinach), helps to improve the hemoglobin content of the blood. This in turn helps the blood to deliver more oxygen to the muscles during aerobic endurance exercises. Burning unwanted fat is a result of the increased oxygen carried by the blood that helps to increase the metabolic rate.
Using moringa oleifera as both a pre-workout and post-workout supplement can give help the body reach its peak performance. Taking it before a workout helps tune up the body with naturally occurring nutrients that make your energy last longer, including B vitamins, unlike most sugary pre-workout supplements. Increased flexibility has been something most athletes taking it have noticed, which leads to less injuries and sprains.
For a post-workout supplement, moringa oleifera's complete amino profile, along with dozens of vitamins and minerals, makes it a perfect recovery food after grueling workouts and physical strain. Endurance exercise can increase oxygen utilization from 10 to 20 times over the resting state. This greatly increases the generation of free radicals, prompting concern about enhanced damage to muscles and other tissues. Moringa's high antioxidant content helps reduce oxidative stress caused by high levels of physical exertion. Athletes and others alike cannot perform at their best if they are malnourished or dehydrated.
Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino professional boxer and politician, is no stranger to the many advantages of Moringa leaves, which are also known as “Malunggay” leaves in the Philippines. Manny grew up in the Sarangani province of the Philippines where he lived in poverty and scarcely got more than one meal per day. Pacquiao’s secret to bulking up is eating Malunggay leaves from the Philippines at almost every meal. According to the biography “Pacman” by Gary Poole [1}, Manny even has people 'smuggle' the fresh leaves through customs to eat before his fights. Manny has been accused of using steroids or performance enhancing drugs due his unlikely success, but his trainer laughs and says it’s all due to Manny’s special diet. Perhaps one of the most prominent proponents of Malunggay in the Philippines, he has even incorporated moringa into his own brand of energy drink ‘Sting’.
Using a plant-based source to get your intake of calcium and other nutrients instead dairy products, decrease the risk of heart diseases and other illnesses. High amounts of calcium need to be consumed on a daily basis so that when calcium is needed in the blood, it doesn’t take it from your bones and teeth. Not getting enough calcium will result in a condition where bone destruction exceeds bone production especially after the age of 30. This condition is known today as osteoporosis.
There are many ways to incorporate moringa in one’s diet. The simplest way includes using the tree’s leaves in tea form, or by taking a dried leaf powder supplement. Most people include the powder into their smoothies, soups, stews, or just squeeze a little lemon juice into water and mix it with that.
 Poole, Gary. PacMan Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiaothe Greatest PoundforPound Fighter in the World. New York: Da Capo Press, 2011. http://www.msvu.ca:2048/login?url=http://www.msvu.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=844746.Photo and Book Cover Copyright Da Capo Press, 2011