Feeding and taking care of children are not easy work – thankfully, a tree often called “Mother’s Best Friend” is here to help! You may know of the moringa tree, but did you know it is also a great food source? On top of providing nutrition, this tree can also be used for cooking oil, fuel for light, soap, fertiliser, and even water purification. The useful moringa tree grows well in most African countries, even in dry places.
Nutrition is very important for everyone, but it is especially important for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Proper nutrition will help children grow strong, tall, and healthy. With good nutrition, people are less likely to become sick. After adding moringa to their diets, people have reported feeling more energetic and being able to produce more milk when breastfeeding. Let us discuss how different parts of the moringa tree can provide nutrition.
Moringa leaves are one of the most nutritious parts of the plant. They are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Getting enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins each day is important for having strong muscles, bones, teeth, eyes, and more! The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Try not to boil the leaves more than once, since it may decrease the nutrients. Moringa leaves can also be easily dried for storage. Dry the leaves in the shade to keep as many nutrients as possible. When the leaves are dry, you can make them into a powder. This powder is easily added to all kinds of food, including sauces, soups, porridges, and food for babies. For breastfeeding mothers, 6 spoons of the powder a day will provide many of the nutrients needed. For young children, give them 1 spoon, 3 times a day.
The flowers can also be eaten after cooking, or they can be boiled with water to make a tea. They are a good source of minerals that are important for strong bones and teeth.
When the pods are young and green, they can be eaten raw or cooked like green beans. When the pods have turned brown, they can be fried and eaten. Like the leaves, the pods contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. You can even drink the water from boiling the pods!
When they are still green, the seeds inside the pods can be boiled, roasted, or fried for food. The seeds also contain very good quality oil, also known as “ben oil.” To collect the oil, crush the seeds, add a bit of water, and heat the water for 10-15 minutes. The oil will float to the surface after some time. Next, filter the oil with a clean cloth. To help store the oil, add a bit of sage, rosemary, or mint. The oil makes a nutritious, delicious cooking oil. It can also be used as fuel for lights, as a lubricant, or to make soap. After collecting the oil, the leftover seed parts are still useful! For example, they can be used to purify water or added on soil as a fertiliser.
It is not recommended to eat the roots, as they contain some toxins that can be harmful. Will you add moringa to your diet?
What are some delicious and creative recipes you can think of?