Moringa nutrition

moringa treeThe Miracle Tree: Moringa Oleifera, Natural Nutrition for the Tropics

Lowell J. Fuglie, Church World Service, 1999
MORINGA OLEIFERA TREE NUTRITIONAL VALUE   Nutritional value of Moringa oleifera tree. Moringa oleifera pods, Moringa oleifera fresh (raw) leaves and dried Moringa oleifera leaf powder contain the following per 100 grams of edible portion:
Nutritional value of Moringa oleifera. Moringa pods, Moringa fresh (raw) leaves and dried Moringa leaf powder contain the following per 100 grams of edible portion: Moringa Pods Moringa Leaves Moringa Leaf Powder
Moisture (%) 86.9 75.0 7.5
Calories 26.0 92.0 205.0
Protein (g) 2.5 6.7 27.1
Fat (g) 0.1 1.7 2.3
Carbohydrate (g) 3.7 13.4 38.2
Fiber (g) 4.8 0.9 19.2
Minerals (g) 2.0 2.3 -
Ca (mg) 30.0 440.0 2,003.0
Mg (mg) 24.0 24.0 368.0
P (mg) 110.0 70.0 204.0
K (mg) 259.0 259.0 1,324.0
Cu (mg) 3.1 1.1 0.6
Fe (mg) 5.3 7 28.2
S (mg) 137.0 137.0 870.0
Oxalic acid (mg) 10.0 101.0 0.0
Vitamin A - B carotene (mg) 0.1 6.8 16.3
Vitamin B -choline (mg) 423.0 423.0 -
Vitamin B1 -thiamin (mg) 0.05 0.21 2.6
Vitamin B2 -riboflavin (mg) 0.07 0.05 20.5
Vitamin B3 -nicotinic acid (mg) 0.2 0.8 8.2
Vitamin C -ascorbic acid (mg) 120 220.0 17.3
Vitamin E -tocopherol acetate (mg) - - 113.0
Arginine (g/16g N) 3.6 6.0 0.0
Histidine (g/16g N) 1.1 2.1 0.0
Lysine (g/16g N) 1.5 4.3 0.0
Tryptophan (g/16g N) 0.8 1.9 0.0
Phenylanaline (g/16g N) 4.3 6.4 0.0
Methionine (g/16g N) 1.4 2.0 0.0
Threonine (g/16g N) 3.9 4.9 0.0
Leucine (g/16g N) 6.5 9.3 0.0
Isoleucine (g/16g N) 4.4 6.3 0.0
Valine (g/16g N) 5.4 7.1 0.0
Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are very important for a healthy diet. An individual needs sufficient levels of certain vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients for his physical development and well-being. A deficiency of any one of these nutrients can lead to health problems. Some of the problems caused by deficient diets are well known: scurvy, caused by lack of vitamin C; night blindness, caused by lack of vitamin A; kwashiorkor, caused by lack of protein; anemia, caused by lack of iron. Many other health problems are caused by lack of vitamins or minerals which are less known, but still essential to a person's bodily functions. Actual need for different vitamins, etc., will vary depending on an individual's metabolism, age, sex, occupation and where he/she is living. Recommendations for daily allowances (RDA) also vary according to whom is doing the study. WHO/FAO recommend the following Moringa oleifera daily allowances for a child aged 1-3 and a woman during lactation: MORINGA OLEIFERA VITAMINS
Moringa oleifera (RDA, in milligrams): Child Woman
A Beta carotene 1.5 5.7
B1 Thiamin 0.5 1.6
B2 Riboflavin 0.8 1.8
B3 Niacin 9 20
C Ascorbic acid 20 95
PROTEIN (grams): 16 65
Moringa oleifera (RDA, in milligrams) Child Woman
Ca Calcium 400 1,200
Cu Copper 0.8 2
Fe Iron 10 15
K Potassium 800 3,000
Mg Magnesium 150 340
P Phosphorus 800 1,200
The following lists the composition of Moringa oleifera tree pods, Moringa oleifera tree fresh leaves, Moringa oleifera tree leaf powder and what this represents in terms of recommended daily intake for children aged 1-3 and women during lactation. The listing of Moringa oleifera pod and Moringa oleifera fresh leaf content is for each 100 grams of edible portion. However, the CWS/AGADA project recommended use of Moringa oleifera dried leaf powder as a nutritional additive to sauces and infant formulas, whereby one or more spoonfuls of Moringa oleifera powder would be stirred into the sauce or formula before serving. One rounded soup spoon (tablespoon) contains about 8 grams of powder (100 grams of powder is a bit less than one and a half cups American measure). As such, the listings of Moringa oleifera leaf powder content are per heaped soup spoon. As an example, 100 grams of the edible part of Moringa oleifera tree pods will contain 2.5 grams of protein. 100 grams of Moringa oleifera tree fresh leaves will contain 6.7 grams of protein and one heaped soup spoon of Moringa oleifera tree leaf powder will contain 2.2 grams. It is recommended that during the months a woman is pregnant or breast-feeding she should be consuming 65 grams of protein daily. So, a meal of 100 grams Moringa oleifera tree pod will satisfy 3.8% of her protein needs and a meal of 100 grams fresh Moringa oleifera tree leaves will satisfy 10.3% of her protein needs for that day. Each rounded soup spoon of Moringa oleifera tree leaf powder added to her diet will satisfy 3.3% of her protein needs.


Moringa Oleifera RDA moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g)
moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
Child aged 1-3: 16 15.60% 41.9% 13.60%
Lactating woman: 65 3.80% 10.30% 3.30%
Proteins are essential constituents of all body tissues and help the body produce new tissue, so are extremely important during growth and pregnancy and when recovering from wounds. Deficiency can cause growth retardation, muscle wasting, kwashiorkor and edema (abnormal swelling; collection of fluids in the body). Synthesis of protein by the body requires intake of vitamin A. Fresh Moringa oleifera leaves contain more than twice the amount of protein found in spinach (2.8g/100g).


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
carbo- hydrates(g) 3.7 13.4 3.1
Carbohydrates are compounds which provide heat and energy for all forms of body activity. Deficiency can cause the body to divert proteins and body fat to produce needed energy. This can lead to depletion of body tissue.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
FIBER(g) 4.8 0.9 1.5
An important part of any diet, fiber aids in digestion. Recommendations are that an average adult should consume 18-32 grams of fiber daily.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF powder (8g)
CalciumCa (mg): 30 440 160.2
Child aged 1-3 - RDA 400 7.5% 110% 40%
Lactating woman RDA 1200 2.5% 36.7% 13.4%
Calcium builds healthy bones and teeth and assists in blood-clotting. Calcium intake is very important during the childhood growing years. Deficiencies can cause rickets, bone pain and muscle weakness. Women frequently suffer from calcium deficiencies during pregnancy and breast-feeding periods. Fresh Moringa oleifera tree leaves contain almost four times the amount of calcium found in cow's milk (120mg/100g) and more than double the amount found in spinach (170mg/100g).


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
MAGNESIUMMg (mg) 24 24 29.4
Child aged 1-3: 150 16.0% 16.0% 20.6%
Lactating woman: 340 7.1% 7.1% 8.7%
Magnesium helps the body maintain and repair cells, and provides energy. Deficiencies can result in weakness, tiredness, vertigo, convulsions, nervousness, cramps and heart palpitations.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
hosphorus 110 70 16.3
Child aged 1-3: RDA 800 13.8% 8.7% 2.0%
Lactating woman: RDA 1200 9.2% 5.8% 1.4%
Phosphorus provides energy and helps build the structure of bones and teeth. Deficiency can lead to loss of appetite, weakness, bone pain and mental confusion. However, phosphorus is present in many foods so deficiencies are rare.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
POTASSIUM K (mg) 259 259 106
Child aged 1-3 800 32.4% 32.4% 13.2%
Lactating woman: 3000 8.6% 8.6% 3.5%
Potassium helps the body maintain normal water balance in cells, transmit nerve impulses, keep acids and alkalis in balance, and stimulate normal movement of the intestinal tract. Deficiencies can cause vomiting, acute muscle weakness, loss of appetite and coma.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF Powder (8g)
COPPER Cu (mg) 3.1 1.1 0.04
Child aged 1-3 0.8 388% 138% 5.7%
Lactating woman: 2 155% 55% 2.3%
Copper is a co-factor in many enzymes, including those which provide hair and skin color, help skin to heal, provide protection from infections, and form healthy blood and bones. Copper, along with iron, is necessary to promote recovery from anemia among malnourished children. Deficiencies in babies can cause depigmentation of skin and hair, slow growth and diarrhea. In adults it can result in anemia, irritability, brittle bones, loss of hair color and loss of sense of taste.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
IRON Fe (mg) 5.3 7.0 2.3
Child aged 1-3 10 53.0% 70.0% 22.6%
Lactating woman: 15 35.3% 46.7%
Iron is a vital component of red blood cells which carry oxygen. Iron assists the muscles to keep reservoirs of oxygen and makes the body more resistant to infections. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, tiredness, headaches, insomnia and palpitations. In children, deficiency can cause slow growth and impaired mental performance. Fresh Moringa oleifera leaves contain over three times the amount of iron found in spinach (2.1mg/100g). MORINGA OLEIFERA SULFUR
Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
SULFURS (mg) 137 137
Sulfur is a constituent of all proteins and an essential element for all life. In the body, the sulfur content is mostly found in the skin, joints, nails and hair. The more sulfur content in the hair, the curlier it will be (sheep hair is about 5% sulfur). Although involved in many metabolic processes, there is generally not a recommended dietary requirement for sulfur because the body can extract it from the amino acids cysteine and methionine.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
OXALIC ACID(mg) 10 101 1.60 % *
An acid also found in strawberries, rhubarb and spinach, oxalic acid can combine with calcium and iron in the body to form insoluble compounds which the body cannot absorb. However, only large amounts of oxalic acid consumption are liable to cause calcium and iron deficiencies. (*Oxalic acid content in leaf powder is listed as a percentage).


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
VITAMIN A -Beta carotene (mg) 0.11 6.8 1.3
Child aged 1-3 1.5 7.3% 453% 86.9%
Lactating woman: 5.7 1.9% 119% 22.9%
Vitamin A in the form of retinol is found mainly in meat, eggs and dairy products. Beta carotene is the precursor to vitamin A which can be found in many plants, particularly those with yellow, red or dark green coloring. However, since absorption of B-carotene by the intestines is not very efficient, it is estimated that six milligrams of B-carotene are needed to give the dietary equivalent of one milligram retinol. Vitamin A is important for developing good eyesight, healthy skin and hair, strong immunity and resistance to infection, strong bones, good growth and helps prevent anemia. Deficiency can cause intestinal and respiratory infection, poor hair quality, eyeball pain, poor eyesight, night blindness and xerophthalmia (a dry, thickened, lusterless eye condition) which can damage the cornea and lead to blindness. It is estimated that this causes 500,000 new cases of blindness a year in children in south-east Asia. Children who lack vitamin A are more likely to get respiratory, intestinal and other infections and are more prone to die from them. Vitamin A is not destroyed by most methods of cooking. Some losses can occur at high temperatures, such as when leaves are fried in oil. Sunlight will also destroy vitamin A, so significant losses can occur if leaves are exposed to sunlight during the drying process. Carotene may cause some yellowing of the skin if taken in excess, but it is not harmful. The vitamin A content of fresh Moringa oleifera tree leaves cited above is a very conservative estimate. Other researchers have found fresh leaves to contain as much as 9mg vitamin A per 100g.9 Nonetheless, even the conservative figure means that fresh Moringa oleifera tree leaves contain almost three times the Beta-carotene content of spinach (3.5mg/100g).


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
VITAMIN B -Choline (mg) 423 423 -
Choline helps with metabolism and fat-stabilization. Deficiency can cause nerve degeneration, senility, high blood pressure, reduced resistance to infections, strokes and thrombosis (presence or formation of blood clots).


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
VITAMIN B1 -Thiamin (mg) 0.05 0.21 -
Child aged 1-3 0.5 10.0% 42.0% -
Lactating woman: 1.6 3.1% 13.1% -
Vitamin B1 helps the body convert glucose into energy in nerves and muscles. It helps in improving mental ability and heart functions, digestion, and warding off rheumatism. Deficiency can cause easy fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, impaired memory and ability to concentrate, beri-beri. Deficiency is a risk during periods of pregnancy and breast-feeding.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
VITAMIN B2 -Riboflavin (mg) 0.07 0.05 -
Child aged 1-3 0.8 8.8% 6.3% -
Lactating woman: 1.8 3.9% 2.8% -
Vitamin B2 helps the body convert proteins, fats and sugars into energy, and also helps the body repair and maintain tissues. Deficiency can cause bloodshot or tired eyes, inflammation and ulcers on the tongue and lips, hair loss, vertigo, slow-learning and insomnia.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
VITAMIN B3 -Niacin (mg) 0.2 0.8 -
Child aged 1-3 9 2.2% 8.9% -
Lactating woman: 20 1.0% 4.0% -
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is needed to help the body release energy from metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Deficiency can cause dimness of vision and eye muscle fatigue.


Moringa oleifera moringa PODS (100g) moringa LEAVES (100g) moringa LEAF POWDER (8g)
VITAMIN C -Ascorbic acid (mg) 120 220 1.4
Child aged 1-3 20 600% 1100% 6.9%
Lactating woman: 95 126% 231% 1.5%
Vitamin C is necessary for healthy development of bones, teeth, blood and sex organs. Deficiency can cause bleeding and inflammation of the gums, loosening of the teeth, weakness, lassitude and scurvy. Much of the vitamin C content will be lost when leaves are boiled in open pots or when the cooking water is discarded. Excess intake of vitamin C is not harmful.


VITAMIN E (mg) - - 9.0
Vitamin E influences oxidation in body tissues, protects vitamin A and amino acids, and promotes the ability of white blood cells to resist infectious diseases. Some studies have indicated that vitamin E will help prevent cancer and Alzheimer's disease, as well as improve blood flow in people affected by arterial hardening, clotting or inflammation (atherosclerosis, thrombosis and thrombophlebetis). Deficiencies in children can result in irritability, water retention and hemolytic anemia. In adults, deficiencies can cause lethargy, apathy, lack of concentration, muscle weakness, irritability and decreased sexual interest. Recommendations for daily intake vary. For infants, formulas should contain at least 0.3mg per 100ml. For adults, recommendations range from 3 to 30mg per day, although extended intake of up to 3,200mg per day have not caused any negative effects. Other significant sources for vitamin E are soybean oil (87mg/100g), maize oil (66mg/100g), and roasted groundnuts (12mg/100g).


Moringa oleifera moringa pods (100g) moringa leaves (100g) moringa leaf powder*
Arginine (g/16g N) 3.6 6.0 1.33 %
Histidine (g/16g N) 1.1 2.1 0.61
Lysine (g/16g N) 1.5 4.3 1.32
Tryptophan (g/16g N) 0.8 1.9 0.43
Phenylanaline (g/16g N) 4.3 6.4 1.39
Methionine (g/16g N) 1.4 2.0 0.35
Threonine (g/16g N) 3.9 4.9 1.19
Leucine (g/16g N) 6.5 9.3 1.95
Isoleucine (g/16g N) 4.4 6.3 0.83
Valine (g/16g N) 5.4 7.1 1.06
Amino acids make the specific proteins required by the body's specialized tissues. With the lack of any one amino acid, production of the needed proteins cannot occur. Although the body is able to make most of the amino acids it needs, several are not made in sufficient quantities and must be obtained from the person's diet. These are called essential amino acids. The above amino acids represent every one of the essential amino acids. Argenine and histidine are especially important for infants who are unable to synthesize sufficient protein for their growth requirements. (* Leaf powder amino acid content is listed in terms of percentage).     MORINGA TREE NUTRITION CONCLUSIONS  Leaves and pods of the Moringa oleifera tree can be an extremely valuable source of nutrition for people of all ages. For a child aged 1-3, a 100 gram serving of fresh Moringa oleifera tree leaves would provide all his daily requirements of calcium, about 75% of his iron and half his protein needs, as well as important supplies of potassium, B complex vitamins, copper and all the essential amino acids. As little as 20 grams of Moringa oleifera tree fresh leaves would provide a child with all the vitamins A and C he needs. For pregnant and breast-feeding women, Moringa oleifera tree leaves and pods can do much to preserve the mother's health and pass on strength to the fetus or nursing child. One portion of Moringa oleifera leaves could provide a woman with over a third of her daily need of calcium and give her important quantities of iron, protein, copper, sulfur and B vitamins. Just 20 grams of Moringa oleifera tree fresh leaves will satisfy all her daily requirement of vitamin C. For both infants and mothers, Moringa oleifera tree pods can be an important source of fiber, potassium, copper, iron, choline, Malnourished children can benefit from addition of Moringa oleifera leaves to their diet. The high concentrations of iron, protein, copper, various vitamins and essential amino acids present in Moringa oleifera tree leaves make them a virtually Moringa oleifera tree leaves can be dried and made into a powder by rubbing them over a sieve. Drying should be done indoors and the Moringa oleifera tree leaf powder stored in an opaque, well-sealed plastic container since sunlight will destroy vitamin A. It is estimated that only 20-40% of vitamin A content will be retained if Moringa oleifera leaves are dried under direct sunlight, but that 50-70% will be retained if Moringa oleifera leaves are dried in the shade. This powder can be used in place of Moringa oleifera fresh leaves to make leaf sauces, or a few spoonfuls of the Moringa oleifera tree powder can be added to other sauces just before serving. Addition of small amounts of Moringa oleifera leaf powder will have no discernible effect on the taste of a sauce. In this way, Moringa oleifera tree leaves will be readily available to improve nutritional intake on a daily basis. One rounded soup (table) spoon of leaf powder will satisfy about 14% of the protein, 40% of the calcium, 23% of the iron and nearly all the vitamin A needs for a child aged one to three. Six rounded spoonfuls of Moringa oleifera leaf powder will satisfy nearly all of a woman's daily iron and calcium needs during times of pregnancy and breast-feeding. If one rounded tablespoon of Moringa oleifera powder is added to an infant's food, three times daily, the 25g of Moringa oleifera leaf powder will give him roughly the following
  • Protein: 42%
  • Calcium: 125%
  • Magnesium: 61%
  • Potassium: 41%
  • Iron: 71%
  • Vitamin A: 272%
  • Vitamin C: 22% During periods of pregnancy and breast-feeding, women are most at risk of suffering from nutritional deficiences. If a woman consumed six rounded tablespoons of Moringa oleifera tree leaf powder per day during these times, she would receive roughly the following in terms of RDA:
  • Protein: 21%
  • Calcium: 84%
  • Magnesium: 54%
  • Potassium: 22%
  • Iron: 94%
  • Vitamin A: 143%
  • Vitamin C: 9%
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