Moringa and Moringa powder Getty Images

Looks like turmeric has some competition! Moringa is the latest superfood that experts are raving about.

“It’s stronger than turmeric in terms of its ability to fight inflammation,” Juice Generation founder Eric Helms reveals to Us Weekly of the super green native to parts of Asia and Africa. “It’s a hidden gem of a powerful green superfood.”

Moringa Getty Images

Moringa leaves, which grind down to a green velvet-like powder, first came on the wellness scene approximately two years ago. The extract of Moringa has since been rising in popularity and was even named one of Well+Good‘s 2018 top wellness trends for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

“We now know that inflammation underlies nearly every disease of aging, from diabetes and obesity to cancer and heart disease,” Kellyann Petrucci, a naturopathic physician in New York City and Los Angels told Mind Body Green in August 2017.

Prior to Moringa’s arrival on the wellness scene with additions to everything from bottled green juices to smoothie powders, supplements and more, turmeric was deemed the ultimate anti-inflammatory. “Turmeric is a spice from the same family as ginger that has some potential medicinal properties,” New York City-based nutritionist Brooke Alpert told Us. “It contains the chemical curcumin, which helps decrease inflammation in the body and can also be beneficial for treating conditions that involve inflammation.”

But Moringa’s benefits go well beyond its stellar anti-inflammatory properties. “It has twice the protein of spinach and three times as much iron,” nutritionist Kimberly Snyder told Well+Good in December 2017. In a study published in Plos One, researchers document the leafy greens super high protein content, a stand out characteristic that has some experts recommend it be added to smoothies in lieu of classic protein powder.

Moringa extract’s potential to help manage high sugar levels has also showed promise in some research. In a study cited in Frontiers of Pharmacology, participants who had been previously diagnosed with type-2 diabetes saw a decrease in their glucose levels after taking Moringa daily for eight weeks.

Helms, whose company includes the superfood in their Matcha Mint Chip smoothie, explains that while its anti-inflammatory and proteinpacked benefits are impressive, Moringa won’t be the be-all-and-endall of functional ingredients. “I don’t see it bucking kale because Moringa is not used as a leafy green in salads — instead it’s ground up,” Helm notes.

Trisha Williams, a nutritionist at Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman in New York City, not only suggests clients take Moringa in supplement form, but notes that the extract is a staple ingredient in Be Well Eats meal delivery service. “Because Moringa is said to be twice as anti-in flammatory as turmeric, we like to use a therapeutic dosage of the powder in our cooking,” she says. One such recipe? “Wild caught salmon crusted in Moringa with cauliflower fried rice,” she shares. “The powder has an almost peppery taste similar to arugula.”

Credits: Nicole Catanese