You are probably thinking, what’s this moringa thing? Well, up until a couple of months ago, I didn’t know what it was either. At our annual dietetics conference in Chicago this year, I met the representatives of a brand called Kuli Kuli. They sell a variety of products made with moringa powder. But what is it?
There are not a lot of products that intrigue me enough for me dig into the research. It always makes me nervous to anticipate looking up research on something I’ve never heard of before, but I had nothing to worry about here.
There are dozens of studies that have been done over the past 15 years on the benefits of Moringa oleifera. Not only singular clinical studies, but also many reviews, which is always helpful when looking for a lot of information all at once.
Moringa is rich in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the chemicals in plant foods that are thought to be responsible for the health benefits that we get from eating these foods. They are responsible for the rich colors and strong odors of some foods, such as the deep purple of cabbage and the strong smell of garlic. There is no specific recommendation on how many phytochemicals we should eat in a day, but if you’re eating the rainbow, you’re doing a great job getting in your phytochemicals.
Moringa also contains lutein, with is so important in eye health, especially in blocking the blue wavelengths of light from our computers and devices. One of my favorite benefits is that is it rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. I do not eat a lot of seafood, so hearing that it contains omega-3s was huge for me. It also contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
So, where has this superfood been hiding? Apparently in plain sight. In the U.S., we are sometimes slow to reap the benefits of plants that thrive around the world. It is traditionally grown in India, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
I’ve been sampling some moringa products and I really like them. The most popular brand right now is Kuli Kuli and they have so much information on their website about moringa. They sell moringa powder that can be added to just about anything. It isn’t tasteless, so remember that when adding it to your favorite dishes. Oh, and it is green, so it will change the color whatever you are adding it to.
I had these energy bars on my to-do list and I thought I would see how they would taste with a little moringa added in. Amazing. I love that I can, essentially, fortify my own foods with more nutrients.
Let’s just say you don’t have moringa on hand, you could substitute the powder for finely ground flaxseeds, or flaxseed meal.
These bars are great to keep in a fridge and grab one when you’re headed out the door. They can also be cut smaller and used as little bites for lunchboxes or post workout snacks. They are high in protein and high in fiber with just enough fat to satisfy.
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup dried plums
- ⅓ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons moringa powder (or you could substitute 2 Tablespoons of flaxseed meal - ground flaxseeds)
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a ball, it will be sticky
- Line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and press the dough onto the parchment, filling out all sides
- If it gets a little sticky, press down with wet hands
- Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight
- Remove from pan and parchment paper and lay flat on a cutting board
- Cut into 10 bars
- Store in refrigerator for up to a week
*Kuli Kuli sent me samples of their products to try. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Reference: Phytochemicals of Moringa oleifera: A review of their nutritional, therapeutic and industrial significance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033775/