In 2006, Beth Doerr attended an International Moringa Workshop in Accra, Ghana. Here are some of the key findings about moringa that were shared at the workshop.
Melanie Broin presented a poster sharing standardized figures for nutrient content. You can view the poster at www.moringanews.org/doc/GB/Posters/Broin_poster.pd…
Studies at the University of Baroda, India, showed that moringa leaf powder retained 50% of beta carotene after 3 months storage (www.moringanews.org/doc/GB/PowerPoint/Vanisha_Namb… ar_GB.pdf) and no beta carotene after 6 months storage. Cooking moringa leaves with oil helped retain beta carotene, and the oil enhances the conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A in the body. In contrast, cooking moringa with tomato products reduced beta carotene (vitamin A is unstable in acidic conditions).
Also notable were studies done at the World Vegetable Center (also known as AVRDC) office in Mali. Nutrient content of leaves was evaluated at three different harvest times: in the cool, dry season; in the hot, wet season; and in the spring. The leaves contained higher vitamin A, protein and antioxidant activity in the hot-wet season, but higher iron and vitamin C levels in the cool-dry season. A comparison of older and younger leaves showed that mature leaves were more nutritious but younger leaves exhibited better eating quality. [No specifics were given, but presumably younger leaves would be more tender. They might also have a milder taste.] Iron bioavailability and aqueous antioxidant activity was found to increase when moringa was cooked. When moringa leaves were cooked with mungbean, iron bioavailability was greatly increased. You can view the document at: www.moringanews.org/doc/GB/Papers/RayYuText_GB.p…
Some potential constraints were identified at the workshop. Rats fed a high level (40%) of moringa leaf powder exhibited no weight gain, and intestinal problems were identified. In Ethiopia, potential goiter issues were noted amongst people who eat leaves of a different species of moringa, M. stenopetala. [We mentioned M. stenopetala in EDN 82-5. As we commented in that article, any food contains both helpful compounds and harmful ones. Aim to eat a variety of different foods in moderation (including M. stenopetala) rather than very large quantities of one thing.] In Liberia, hospitals recommend that women stop taking moringa during their last trimester of pregnancy, due to the trend of higher birth weights for babies and the resulting increase in number of babies delivered by C-section!
ECHO Staff 2009. Moringa Information from 2006 International Moringa Workshop. ECHO Development Notes no. 104