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Malunggay Mania

By Margaux Salcedo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:22:00 08/15/2009

Filed Under: Food, Health, Food and Diet and Nutrition

I WAS given the task of researching on ?the lowly malunggay? this week by my editor. This is what I learned:

First, the malunggay or moringa is not ?lowly? at all. Considered ?nature?s most nutritious food,? it is in fact so well-respected in terms of its health benefits that its tree has earned the name the ?Elixir Tree.? It has so many vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it can treat at least 300 different diseases and disorders of the body (source: steadyhealth. com).

Research shows that malunggay leaves contain seven times the vitamin C found in oranges, four times the Vitamin A found in carrots (said to prevent blindness), four times the calcium found in milk, three times the potassium found in bananas and two times the protein found in yogurt (source: http://affleap. com/blog/the-potentials-of-moringa-the-miracle-plant/). Best of all, the moringa or malunggay leaf has no proven bad effects and is therefore considered safe, organic, and suitable for people from any age group.

It is now also being promoted as a very good supplement for women who are pregnant as a natural way to increase breast milk. It also prevents mastitis, an inflammation of the breast caused by the blocking of milk ducts while the mother is lactating, because it acts against the bacteria staphylococcus aureus that causes the inflammation. (source: Moringa?The Breastfeeding Supplement at http://www.free-press-release.com/news/ 200805/1210154844.html)

Once the mother has given birth, it is also recommended that malunggay be made part of the menu for infants and toddlers. The Tree of Life by Church World Services advises, ?For children aged 1-3, a 100g serving of fresh cooked leaves would provide all their daily requirements of calcium, about 75 percent of their iron and half their protein needs, as well as important amounts of potassium, B vitamins, copper and all the essential amino acids. As little as 20 grams of leaves would provide children with all the vitamins A and C they need.? (source: steadyhealth. com)

Not just infants, but the aged as well, would benefit from malunggay. It is said to help reduce ulcers, tumors, and pain from arthritis; help control blood pressure, relieve skin and sleep problems and work as an energy booster.

Other benefits: It increases the body?s immune system and promotes the cell structure of the body. It provides nourishment to the eyes and the brain. It promotes metabolism, natural serum cholesterol, and proper digestion. It promotes the normal functioning of the liver, kidney and circulatory system. It acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It supports the normal sugar levels of the body and gives a feeling of general wellness. It promotes energy. And ? ladies listen up ? it lowers the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and beautifies the skin. (source: http://leafpower.wordpress. com/moringa-benefits/)

There is also currently a study that shows how moringa may work as an immune stimulant and thus help people diagnosed with AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) or are HIV-positive.

Some articles on moringa have gone as far as saying that ?moringa aleifera has great potential in combating extreme poverty and hunger? because it is easy to grow. Within six months of planting a seed or a piece of trunk, one can already cut leaves from the tree to eat. These can be cooked, dried, or ground over a screen for several days into a fine powder that can be added to almost anything as a nutrient supplement. The seeds also have the potential for producing biofuel, cooking oil, personal care products, cosmetics, aromatherapy perfume, industrial oil and lubricants.

There are stores now that offer various malunggay products. Chimara in Greenbelt 3 offers malunggay soup; malunggay peanuts, which are beautifully caramelized; malunggay popcorn, which tastes almost like their other flavored popcorn products; and malunggay cookies that come in fun choco-peppermint and oatmeal flavors. They look like ordinary cookies but they have these itty-bitty malunggay leaves in them. Cute! I would not purchase these cookies for the flavor, mind you, but as a healthier option I would greatly consider it. (The popcorn I would go for any day.)

Another interesting store is Echo Store in Serendra where you can buy take-home malunggay goodies, such as malunggay bihon that tastes just like ordinary pancit but with the benefits of malunggay.

So next time you go shopping, go healthy and go malunggay. Bow. ?

Chimara. Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati. Tel. 757-5652. tei@tatersgroup.com.
Echo Store. G/F Serendra Piazza, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Tel: 901-3485. echostore.ph.

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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