Why should bodybuilders use Moringa Oleifera in plant based bodybuilding?

Bodybuilders are very focused on a diet that would add protein for muscle building. In this post, we will discuss some of the proven health benefits of Moringa Oleifera for plant based bodybuiding.

Moringa Oleifera is rightly called the “miracle plant” because all of its parts possess nutritional value. When we say all, we mean the roots, leaves, bark, flowers, pods and fruits.

Native to the Indian Himalayas, the Moringa Oleifera is known in different parts of the world as the miracle tree, ben oil tree, horseradish tree and drumstick tree. THe greatest plus about this amazing tree is that all of its parts are high in a wide variety of nutrients that bodybuikders need for muscle buiding nad overall health and well being.

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Basic information about the Moringa tree

The Moringa tree is fast growing and resistant to drought. IT thrives well in tropical climates. The tree becomes very dense and can grow up to 10–12 meters. The leaves are delicate and feathery and hang from fragile branches. The pods are long and hang down in clusters.

Nutritional content of Moringa

Moringa is commonly classed as a superfood because it contains a wide variety of nutrients. It is also low in sodium and calories. One cup of fresh, chopped leaves contain:

Protein: 2 grams
Vitamin B6: 19% of the RDA
Vitamin C: 12% of the RDA
Iron: 11% of the RDA
Riboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDA
Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDA
Magnesium: 8% of the RDA
(Healthline, 2019)

NB: RDA – Recommended Daily Allowance

Experts also say that Moringa contains nine times more protein than yoghurt; 15 times more potassium than bananas; 25 times more iron than spinach and 17 times more calcium than milk (Science Direct, 2016).

The leaves of the Moringa plant contain:

– Minerals: calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper.
– Vitamins: beta-carotene of vitamin A, vitamin B such as folic acid, pyridoxine and nicotinic acid.
– Vitamin C, D and E also present.
– Phytochemicals: tannins, sterols, terpenoids, flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, alkaloids.
– anti-cancerous agents like glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, glycoside compounds and glycerol-1-9-octadecanoate (Science Direct, 2016).

Moringa pods health benefits

Moringa pods are fibrous which means that they add bulk to stool when they are eaten. This prevents constipation and digestive problems. They protect against colon cancer (Science Direct, 2016).

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Moringa seeds health benefits

Scientists have found that the Moringa seeds purify water. A 2013 study from the Uppsala Universitet revealed that Moringa “seed material can give a more efficient purification process than conventional synthetic materials in use today.” (Science Daily, 2013).

The water purification elements is produced by an extract from Moringa seeds. A protein in the seeds binds to impurities causing them to cluster. These clusters are then separated from the water.

This would be a great way for bodybuilders to purify their water sources, thus providing a great cleanse during and after workouts.

Vitamin content in Moringa

Moringa is high in vitamins especially Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. In fact, it is believed to have 7 times more vitamin C than oranges and 10 times more vitamin A than carrots (Science Direct, 2016).

Protein content of Moringa

Moringa is a very good source of leafy vegetable protein. These are very simple proteins which are very easy for the body to take in or absorb.

Proteins are essential nutrients that are found in every body cell. They are made of simple building blocks called amino acids. In turn, these amino acids combine to form more complex proteins.

The human body uses amino acids to make thousands of proteins. Proteins are absolutely essential for many body functions including:

Growth.
Breaking down food.
Repair of body tissue.
Formation of hemoglobin which transports oxygen.
Formation of enzymes that power many chemical reactions such as digestion of food.
Energy supply in the body.

The amazing amino acid content of Moringa

Amazingly, moringa contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body. The plant also contains ALL of the nine essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. They are found only in foods that we eat. Since Moringa contains all nine, it is an excellent source of protein.

The nine essential amino acids are:

Histidine – found in red blood cells (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2019).

Methionine – is necessary for the formation of two other amino acids (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2019).

Valine – keeps the mind calm.

Leucine – combines with isoleucine to increase energy levels.

Lysine – inhibits the growth of viruses, aids the absorption of calcium into the bones and supports antibodies.

Threonine – aids digestion, aids metabolism and prevents fatty build up in the liver.

Isoleucine – gives natural energy, helps the brain to be healthy.

Tryptophan – boosts the mood, supports immunity, reduces the risk of heart attack and lowers bad cholesterol levels.

Phenylalanine – improves memory, increases alertness, reduces hunger pangs and enhances communication between the nerve cells of the brain.

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Source: Research Gate. (2019). Moringa protein content. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Moringa-protein-content-15_tbl3_216463190

“Available evidence indicates that it’s the source of protein (or, the protein “package”), rather than the amount of protein, that likely makes a difference for our health.” (Harvard School Of Public Health, 2019).

Key reasons why bodybuilders should choose plant based protein over animal protein

Meat sources of protein are linked to increased risk of disease. These include processed meats such as hams, saussages, frankfurters; red meat and other meats from animal sources:

– diabetes.
– weight gain.
– heart disease.
– premature death.
– higher risk of cancer and cancer related deaths (Harvard School of Public Health, 2019)

The Harvard School of Public Health (2019) recommends that protein sources should come from plant sources as much as possible and that one should:

– Choose proteins from fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. Pay attention to the fact that most poultry are injected with antibiotics and that other food sources may be Genetically Modified. Therefore, it is important to read labels.

– limit red meat and cheese

– avoid bacon, cold cuts

– avoid all other processed meats.

– Eating protein from plants when possible:

– peas (green, snow, snap, split)

– legumes (beans and peas)

– nuts – (almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts etc.).

– seeds (hemp seeds, squash and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds).

– whole grains such as kamut, teff, wheat, quinoa, rice, wild rice, millet, oats, buckwheat. Avoid processed grains since the nutrients have been diminished.

– and other plant-based sources of protein such as those inwhile many vegetables and fruits. Those with higher protein quantities include corn, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and artichokes.

Moringa is high in antioxidants

Research shows that Moringa is high in many antioxidants which protect the body from cancer
Two antioxidant plant compounds called quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid may help to regulate blood sugar levels after meals while Quercetin may help lower blood pressure (Healthline, 2019).

How to prepare moringa for use

Moringa leaf tea

.

This can be bought as tea bags. Alternatively, the powder can be made at home as shown below.

Ingredients

1½ tablespoons moringa powder
3 cups cashew milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons coconut oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a small pot over medium heat, combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly until well-combined.

Bring to almost boil and then remove from heat.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend until frothy and smooth.

Divide evenly between two mugs and serve.

Start off with lower doses and use on alternate days. This is because Moringa can have laxative effects and upset stomach in high doses (Dr Axe, 2019).

Moringa leaf powder

.

The powder is prepared from the leaves which air dry very easily. In fact, I dry them under a towel for about 2 days. After drying, pulverize them in a suitable device like the Magic Bullet.
Remember that the stems, bark and roots have nutritional benefits. I recommend that you explore their preparation.

Resources

Dr Axe. (2019). Moringa tea latte recipe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/recipes/moringa-tea/

Encyclopedia Brittanica. (2019). Histidine: amino acid. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/histidine.

Encyclopedia Brittanica. (2019). Methionine: chemical compound. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/methionine

Gopalakrishnan, Lakshmipriya.; Doriya, K.; and Kumar, DS. (2016). Moringa oleifera: A review on nutritive importance and its medicinal application. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453016300362

Harvard School of Public Health. (2019). Dietary Proteins. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/

Health Retreats. (2019). 92 nutrients and 46 antioxidants in one tree Moringa oleifera. Retrieved from https://www.amchara.com/detox-and-cleanse/92-nutrients-and-46-antioxidants-in-one-tree-maringa-oleifera

Healthline. (2019). 6 science-based health benefits of moringa oleifera. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-benefits-of-moringa-oleifera#section2

International Tree Foundation. (2015). Moringa: the miracle tree. Retrieved from https://internationaltreefoundation.org/moringa-miracle-tree/

Medline Plus. (2019). Amino acids. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002222.htm

Patch. (2019). Moringa known as the miracle tree. Retrieved from https://patch.com/georgia/cascade/bp–moringa-known-as-the-miracle-plant.

Research Gate. (2019). Moringa protein content. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Moringa-protein-content-15_tbl3_216463190

Uppsala Universitet. (2013, December 5). Better water purification with seeds from moringa trees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 4, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205092059.htm

Last modified: 5th January 2020

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