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Matcha? So last year. Turmeric? Yawn. The latest superfood cropping up in juice bars and beauty counters across the country boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers, is a nutritional powerhouse and can easily be incorporated into every meal of the day (including dessert). Here, your guide to this year’s hottest ingredient. 

RELATED: Turmeric: How to Eat, Drink and Use This Household Spice

Moringa leaves and its brances
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What Is Moringa?

There are 13 species of moringa tree but the most common one is moringa oleifera, a plant native to the Himalayas (but tenacious enough to also grow in the tropics) that’s also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree and miracle tree. Moringa leaves are typically dried and ground into a bright green powder, but the flowers, seeds and fruit are also edible. And like so many buzzy ingredients, this “new” superfood has actually been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.

Scoop of green moringa powder
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Health Benefits

“Moringa’s potential health benefits include antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol properties,” says Jane Dummer, RD. And one study from Saudi Arabia found that both the leaf and bark of the moringa plant have anti-cancer properties that could be beneficial when developing new cancer drugs. (We weren’t kidding when we said moringa was a superfood.) But Dummer notes that many studies are based on animals trials or small sample sizes, so more research is needed to determine moringa’s effectiveness.

Moringa powder is also highly nutritious, high in both protein and iron, explains Dummer. And according to a paper published in Ecology of Food and Nutrition journal, moringa leaves contain four times the vitamin A of carrots, seven times the vitamin D of oranges, four times the calcium of cow’s milk and three times the potassium of bananas.

lime moringa chocolate tarts
Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen

How to Eat It

With a slightly nutty, earthy taste (similar to matcha), try adding a teaspoon of moringa powder to smoothies and juices, or sprinkling on top of granola and oatmeal. It also makes a virtuous addition to baked goods, like these pumpkin seed moringa cupcakes or moringa lime chocolate tarts. In the mood for something savory? Add the plant’s pods (which taste like slightly sweeter green beans) to soups and stews for a nutritional boost.

Moringa makeup beauty product
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Beauty Benefits

The beauty industry has discovered the moisturizing, nourishing and antioxidant powers of moringa seed oil, including it in makeup, cleansers, face creams and hair products. (It’s even been touted for its anti-ageing benefits.) Here are 12 moringa oil beauty buys that we love.

Moringa powder on a spoon
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Where to Buy It

You can buy moringa powder online or in the bulk section of health-food stores and grocery stores like Whole Foods. 

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