“This hardy plant native to tropical and subtropical regions is a galactagogue,” says Dr. Eca Lorenzo, an internal medicine specialist, and functional medicine practitioner, referring to the superfood perfect for mothers.
Galactagogue, she adds, “is the term used to describe something that increases the flow of mother’s milk”. Dr. Lorenzo is talking about Moringa oleifera or malunggay.
Local studies show that Filipino mothers who consumed malunggay while breastfeeding produced more breast milk and had babies who gained more weight.
According to Dr. Lorenzo, the nutrient-dense leafy green is not just beneficial for lactating women, “but in other milestones of motherhood” as well.
Moringa boasts a higher content of vitamins and minerals typically associated with more popular foods: On a gram-per-gram basis of its dried leaves, its has 10 times the vitamin A of carrots, seven times the vitamin C of oranges, 17 times the calcium of milk, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 25 times the iron of spinach, and nine times the protein of yogurt. It is packed with over 90 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, and a slew of amino acids.
For pregnant women, Dr. Lorenzo says moringa “can meet the daily iron requirements of pregnant women,” while its generous supply of vitamins and minerals also covers the daily nutritional needs of those trying to conceive or already on their way to build a family.
Working moms, on the other hand, can benefit from, among others, the immune-boosting vitamin C in the leafy green.
“Moringa’s vitamin C strengthens your immune system, its amino acids Isoleucine and Leucine boost energy levels, and its phytochemicals can help regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Moringa’s leaves also contain antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, and neuroprotectant properties,” says Dr. Lorenzo.
Moringa’s calcium and phosphorus content, meanwhile, can help “ensure strong, healthy bones” of women past their childbearing years. The doctor adds, the superfood’s anti-inflammatory properties may soothe pain associated with osteoarthritis, and even contribute to the healing of joints.
Dr. Lorenzo says the plant’s antioxidants protect the heart, which becomes vulnerable to disease once a woman reaches menopause. Its high fiber and vitamin B content promotes digestion, while its diuretic properties help reduce water retention.
“Moringa also elevates energy levels and keeps mood swings at bay with its tryptophan, an amino acid needed to make serotonin, the hormone responsible for stabilizing mood and memory,” adds Dr. Lorenzo.
Experts say moringa, particularly its leaves, is safe to consume daily and is a versatile ingredient in various food items. Sekaya, from Unilab’s Synnovate Pharma Corporation, offers Organic Moringa food supplement made with 100 percent locally sourced pure and organic Moringa oleifera. Daily recommended intake is one to three capsules daily, or as advised by a healthcare professional. It is available in Babymama, BioBalance, The Diabetes Store, The Allganic Store, WeNourish.ph, Orange and Peach, Lazada, and Shopee.
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