It's a bird... It's a plane... It's Moringa!
There’s no doubt the word “super” elicits a feeling. Think about Superman—he could fly, had X-ray vision and had a cool name (Kal-El) before cool names were the thing. Let’s face it, if you slap a “super” label on something people might just believe it’s just that.
This brings us to “superfood.” What does this even mean? What makes food “super?”
It’s seems that “superfood” is not a term coined by the Food and Drug Administration, or any other scientific outlet or medical institution. Just like Superman, things that are coined “super” sell and marketing teams are smart on the take.
Some popular superfoods that seem to be recurrent on the health food scene are acai, blueberries, pomegranate, grapefruit, chard, quinoa, goji … the list is long and some of the foods even harder to pronounce than the last two. One of the newer additions to the superfood family: moringa.
Hailing from the tropical regions of South America and deep reaches of Asia and the Middle East, this tree, oftentimes called the “miracle tree,” has been praised for its potential medicinal and overall health benefits, according to WebMD.com and KuliKuliFoods.com. The former website lists many possible medicinal uses for moringa, from treating high blood pressure to helping arthritis to reducing fluid retention; the latter website lists health benefits such as eliminating free radicals, increasing focus and the fact that moringa packs seven times the vitamin C punch per gram than oranges. The tree appears to be usable in its entirety—leaves, bark, seeds and all.
So where exactly can you find moringa? Because it’s not nearly as ubiquitous as some of our older superfood friends, you may have to dig deep. (You most likely won’t find moringa leaves shelved next to the spinach at your local chain grocery.) Google “moringa” and you’ll find companies selling some version of it—powder, seeds, teas, bars—and a host of recipes on how to incorporate it into dishes. You’ll also find local health food stores oftentimes have it in stock in several forms.
And back to Superman, who as a girl I once thought I saw flying overhead—one arm extended and cape blowing in the wind. As with most of childhood’s fictional characters, my big brother spoiled that fantasy for me shortly thereafter. But it mattered very little to me; the thought of how it made me feel was what meant the most.
Want to try moringa? Check out one of these local health food stores.
Georgetown Market, 4375 Georgetown Rd., Indianapolis, M–Sa, 8am–5pm; Su 11am–5pm; 317.293.9525; GeorgetownMarket.com
Good Earth Natural Food Co., 6350 Guilford Ave., M–Sa, 9am–8pm; Su 11am–6pm; 317.253.3709; Good-Earth.com