Magic Leaves

28 Nov 2014

Sometimes, the most terrible problems have unexpected solutions. For example: in the tropics, there is a miraculous tree whose leaves are extremely nutritious. The leaves of the moringa tree contain more vitamins and minerals than most natural food we know. But that ancient knowledge has faded, and moringa has been mainly used as roofing and […]

Magic Leaves

Sometimes, the most terrible problems have unexpected solutions. For example: in the tropics, there is a miraculous tree whose leaves are extremely nutritious. The leaves of the moringa tree contain more vitamins and minerals than most natural food we know. But that ancient knowledge has faded, and moringa has been mainly used as roofing and fencing material in recent years…

Hunger is a complex issue. There is, in fact, more than enough food in the world. With 7 billion people on the planet – but we can actually produce enough food to feed 12 billion. More and more people are suffering from obesity. At the same time, almost one billion people in the world have only very limited access to all that food, and suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition.

Actually, unlike what most people think, hunger is only rarely caused by droughts, or by war.  The large majority of the billion people who have too little to eat are small scale farmers, living in relatively stable low and middle income countries. Their hunger seems like a given fact of life. But it isn’t. People with hunger are not the problem, they are the solution.

Addressing a huge problem like hunger begins with the realisation that you can actually do a lot with the limited resources that you already have. So it is that my African colleagues of The Hunger Project have organised a major campaign in Benin, to get people back to an appreciation of moringa.

It’s really a miracle tree: it can grow pretty much anywhere. And, after only three months, the leaves can already be harvested. You can use Moringa as you prefer, either fresh, or dried and ground into a powder which can be added to other food or beverages. The nutritional value of your daily meal will improve by leaps and bounds. And, the good news is: the campaign seems to work. More and more people are enthusiastic about adding moringa to their meals – so we will definitely continue to promote it as one of the solutions to ending hunger in Africa.

Now what about you? Do you also need some extra fibre and vitamins to deal with the upcoming cold and dark winter season? Unfortunately for us, the moringa tree is not fond of our chilly climate. But don’t worry. All kinds of shops now sell moringa tea. On the internet you can find loose powder to mix in with your own healthy shakes and smoothies. Or what about ready-to-eat packaged capsules, if you’re just a little less hip? The ever innovative Bodyshop even has moringa shampoo and a range of moringa bath products – so at the very least you can nourish the roots of your hair…
Evelijne Bruning is managing director of The Hunger Project Netherlands: a non-profit organisation committed to the  sustainable end of hunger worldwide.

Related news

What role do omega-3s play in sports nutrition?

What role do omega-3s play in sports nutrition?

10 Jul 2018

Omega-3 fatty acids have increasingly become part of athletes’ nutritional regime over the past few years but research supporting their role in sports nutrition is still in its early stages.

Read more 
Could nature-identical ingredients damage the natural sweeteners market?

Could nature-identical ingredients damage the natural sweeteners market?

4 Jul 2018

Natural sweeteners are a major target for companies looking to make nature-identical food ingredients, but if they are produced in a lab rather than extracted from a plant, will consumers accept them as natural?

Read more 
How does honey compare to sugar?

How does honey compare to sugar?

27 Jun 2018

Sugar use is down and honey use is up as manufacturers look for natural sweetening alternatives – but does honey live up to the hype?

Read more 
Fruit and vegetable powders add clean label nutrition, colour and flavour

Fruit and vegetable powders add clean label nutrition, colour and flavour

25 Jun 2018

Fruit and vegetable powders are appearing in a range of foods and drinks to improve their flavour, colour, nutrition and texture, driven by the trend toward whole foods and consumer desire to boost fruit and vegetable consumption.

Read more 
What are the smartest botanical ingredients for brain health?

What are the smartest botanical ingredients for brain health?

20 Jun 2018

As the population ages, botanical ingredients to maintain and improve cognitive health are on the rise. What are they, and what evidence is there to support their claims?

Read more 
Turning a spotlight on healthy fats and oils

Turning a spotlight on healthy fats and oils

19 Jun 2018

European food manufacturers have been turning to healthier oils and fats – but there is often a trade-off to be made, balancing their benefits in terms of flavour and health with how easy they are to work with.

Read more 
Beyond ingredients: Food processing as a tool for cleaner labels

Beyond ingredients: Food processing as a tool for cleaner labels

12 Jun 2018

Ingredients come first when companies think about developing clean label foods and drinks, but certain processing technologies also should be considered part of the clean label toolbox.

Read more 
Plant-based eating boosts European walnut demand

Plant-based eating boosts European walnut demand

12 Jun 2018

The current trend toward plant-based diets and wholesome, natural ingredients has led to increased European demand for walnuts, as consumers have become more aware of their health benefits.

Read more 
Europeans embrace a new wave of seaweed ingredients

Europeans embrace a new wave of seaweed ingredients

6 Jun 2018

Seaweed ingredients are on the rise, set to appear in a wide range of new products in Europe in the coming years – far beyond the traditional sushi and miso soup.

Read more 
How clean label ingredients affect packaging

How clean label ingredients affect packaging

28 May 2018

When companies consider ‘cleaning up’ their product labels, they often focus primarily on how to remove or replace certain ingredients – but they should also consider implications for product packaging.

Read more