While you may have only seen the word “moringa” in the last few years, how much do you know about it? How does the superfood moringa compare to other superfoods like turmeric? Turmeric is often used for conditions involving pain and inflammation, and moringa can also help with inflammation.
Moringa vs. Turmeric: A Recap
Morina has been showing up strong in the Battle of the Supergreens, a lively series where we compare superfoods with each other. Both moringa and turmeric are really healthy additions to your diet. We recommend a Moringa Turmeric Smoothie after reading this article!
Superfoods and Inflammation
Inflammation is more than a sprained ankle or scraped knee. It can happen to any tissue in the body. Through inflammation, our body communicates that something is amiss. And food does play a role in how our bodies respond to inflammation. For a more in-depth read on anti-inflammatory foods, we have articles on that too.
Moringa’s anti-inflammatory prowess has been somewhat overshadowed by the relative popularity of another superfood… turmeric. As an anti-inflammatory, moringa may be more effective at reducing inflammation than turmeric.
There are already more than enough reasons to make moringa a regular part of your diet. To give a quick snapshot, moringa has twice the protein, three times the calcium, and four times as much iron as kale. Beyond these amazing nutritional properties, research is now pointing to the fact that moringa should be your anti-inflammatory of choice.
But just how strong of an anti-inflammatory is moringa? We decided to compare it to turmeric in an anti-inflammatory battle royale
Comparing Anti-Inflammatory Superfoods
Before we compare the anti-inflammatory properties of two different foods, we must first understand how the foods actually reduce inflammation. Turmeric is a root, related to ginger, and is used in food and cooking. Its principle anti-inflammatory compound is a curcuminoid phenol compound known as curcumin. Curcumin is also what gives turmeric its yellow color.
Moringa is similar to broccoli in that it is a cruciferous vegetable and contains glucosinolates that can form isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates can also be found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale. Isothiocyanates are readily absorbed in the body and have been well-studied in broccoli.
Emerging research on moringa has shown that the isothiocyanates in moringa are even more stable and bioactive than those found in broccoli. These compounds reduce inflammation by reducing the production of nitric oxide (NO) and inflammatory markers. Additionally, they are able to activate a detoxification pathway known as Nrf2.
A recent study found that the isothiocyanates were more effective at reducing inflammation markers than curcumin. In the test, Curcumin reduces nitric oxide (NO) production by 5-30% while similar concentrations of moringa isothiocyanates reduced NO by 72-93%. Moringa was also more effective at reducing concentrations of three different inflammatory markers including iNOS, IL-1β, and IL-6.
Turmeric is not Readily Absorbed
Turmeric is not as easily absorbed when eaten on its own, which brings to question its bioavailability. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to eat turmeric in conjunction with black pepper. Black pepper contains an alkaloid called piperine, which significantly boosts the body’s ability to absorb turmeric. However, this can be a hassle as it takes a few hours after consumption for piperine’s effects to peak.
Additionally, if you don’t have the time to eat pepper in advance, there aren’t many cases in which black pepper and turmeric go well together. Finally, despite turmeric’s popularity as an anti-inflammatory, there isn’t enough research that has proven clinically the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin.
Moringa has Higher Bioavailability
Isothiocyanates may be more bioactive and easily absorbed in the body than curcumin. No need to worry about pre-gaming your moringa with pepper because your body can absorb it all by itself. Moringa also gives you a host of other health benefits beyond what your typical green vegetable is capable of providing. This is in part because while most greens are 90% water, moringa is only 80% water, making it more nutrient-dense than most leafy greens.
Of course, this isn’t to say turmeric isn’t good for you (it is a superfood after all). However, in terms of anti-inflammatory foods, moringa may be a simpler and more versatile ingredient to add to your anti-inflammatory lifestyle. If you’re looking for a natural solution to reducing inflammation, add moringa to your favorite smoothies, shakes, and any sweet or savory dish.
It’s just one more reason to eat moringa every day as part of a healthy diet. Still not convinced? Eating moringa can also help reduce blood sugar and bad cholesterol.
Check out our Moringa Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie or the vast offering of #MoringaInspired recipes and smoothies on our website. Because of moringa’s versatility, you can use it to improve the nutritional quality of so many meals. Try moringa in a bar, as an energy shot, or in our new moringa greens and protein powder!
For more information on moringa’s health benefits, check out Kuli Kuli’s popular Battle of the Greens series below!
Kale vs Moringa
Matcha vs Moringa
Spinach vs Moringa
Collard Greens vs Moringa
Swiss Chard vs Moringa
Kelp vs Moringa
Spirulina vs Moringa
There you have it! A bit of the nutritional details behind moringa and turmeric, revealed.
Don’t forget to tag @kulikulifoods in any social media posts you share so we can see your beautiful creations!
Graf, Brittany L., Asha L. Jaja-Chimedza, and Ilya L. Raskin. “Comparative Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Moringa-Derived Isothiocyanate versus Curcumin in vitro and in vivo.” The FASEB Journal 31.1 Supplement (2017): 972-22.
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Laurence, Emily. “This Super Green Is a Stronger Anti-Inflammatory than Turmeric.” Well+Good, 12 Sept. 2017, www.wellandgood.com/good-food/health-benefits-of-moringa/.
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Tumer, Tugba Boyunegmez, et al. “Direct and indirect antioxidant activity of polyphenol-and isothiocyanate-enriched fractions from Moringa oleifera.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 63.5 (2015): 1505-1513.
Waterman, Carrie, et al. “Stable, water extractable isothiocyanates from Moringa oleifera leaves attenuate inflammation in vitro.” Phytochemistry 103 (2014): 114-122.