Botanical Nutrition

by Rob Seeman official blogger of the health food movement


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Whole Earth Radio Episode 3

So you say you want a revolution? The battle for the heart and soul of natural living rages on.  Which side are you on and which side will you choose?  The ensuing battle isn’t just about how we SHOP, it is about how we LIVE – and in result about the fate of our PLANET.  What more important revolution could there possibly be? All right! All right!

Listen to Whole Earth Radio now :

WHOLE EARTH RADIO Episode 3


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Moringa : Super Foods Best Kept Secret

Have you heard of Moringa, known as ‘the Miracle Tree’? If not, you’re not alone – but this may be a super food you really want to look into.  Known as the “miracle tree”, it may be one of the best kept secrets in health food in the US – but its impact has been felt all around the world.

Moringa

The plant, latin binomial Moringa oleifera, is native to India, and is now grown on many continents.

The Food Movement began importing Moringa in 2011, and since that time demand and presence in the US natural marketplace has steadily grown.  One of the reasons for this is that of all the ‘green foods’ one can choose as a supplement – Moringa has some really unique phytochemical benefits beyond the usual suspects of chlorophyll and vitamins.  The leaves provide a source of complete protein, and are an unusually rich source of nutrition.

A 2017 review in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine concluded ” ..due to its high nutritional value and several medicinal properties, this tree may act as a nutritional and medical alternative for socially neglected populations.”

moringa facts

Another review in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that “A rapidly growing number of published studies have shown that aqueous, hydroalcohol, or alcohol extracts of M. oleifera leaves possess a wide range of additional biological activities including antioxidant, tissue protective (liver, kidneys, heart, testes, and lungs), analgesic, antiulcer, antihypertensive, radioprotective, and immunomodulatory actions. A wide variety of polyphenols and phenolic acids as well as flavonoids, glucosinolates, and possibly alkaloids is believed to be responsible for the observed effects. ”

Due to these unique properties it has been labeled “the miracle tree” and groups like Trees for Life have planted millions of the plant across starvation-ravaged African nations.  In addition to providing nutrition and medicine from the leaves and pods, the seeds of the Moringa tree can also be used to purify brackish water and are recommended for such purposes by the World Health Organization.

The Food Movement has sought to combine these benefits – the unique health-giving properties of the tree – along with the beneficial social and environmental impact; by selling organic Moringa in the US to raise money for groups like Trees for Life.  Whether your interest is in Moringa’s ability to combat hunger and lack of clean drinking water on a global scale; or if you’re just looking for health benefits for yourself – Moringa can be a true miracle.

 


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Study shows Moringa, Soy & Mushroom soup powder higher in nutrients than other soup powders

The journal Food Science & Nutrition recently published interesting study from India, as it shows the practical applications of three ‘super foods’ as a whole food soup mix.  Cooked Moringa & Soy were combined with a few other ingredients (corn starch, salt and preservative).  The study, entitled Formulation and nutritional evaluation of a healthy vegetable soup powder supplemented with soy flour, mushroom, and moringa leaf, is linked here.

Moringa The Food Movement

Compared to other soup powders, this combination of super foods (they used the highly beneficial Oyster mushrooms) was found to have thee “Highest content of vitamin D, minerals, protein, and fiber” as well as Vitamin C.

study.jpg

 


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White Mulberies : an impressive nutrient-dense super food

If you haven’t yet heard of White Mulberries, botanical name Morus alba, you probably will.  They have recently been getting a lot of attention including an over-the-top proclamation from Dr Oz that these berries will “change peoples’ lives.” !!

You will be happy to know, that there is indeed some science behind these amazing claims. (People, at least here in Chicago, LOVE Dr Oz, and that gives him a lot to live up to, right?)  I decided to delve into the science on White Mulberries to examine what some of the well-documented benefits are.

whitemulberries

First, lets look at some of the research that has been done on the potential health benefits of the White Mulberries, the actual fruiting berries. (There is other research done on the leaves for some of the same benefits.) If you want to see an abstract of these studies visit http://www.pubmed.gov and search for the PMID listed.  These are just a  few of the most interesting studies done on Whilte Mulberries

  1. The juice of the Mulberry fruit may be useful in the prevention of foodborne viral infection.PMID:24350883
  2. Pyrrole alkaloids from the fruit have been shown to activate macrophages, an important part of the immune system.PMID:23164765
  3. Researchers identified a number of antioxidant stilbene compounds in White Mulberries, including resveratrol, oxyresveratrol, and mulberroside A. PMID:24023529
  4. Researchers have also examined the antidabetic and antioxidant effects of a number of phenolic phytochemicals PMID:23936259
  5. Another study indicated that the anthocyanins from White Mulberries fruit prevented diabetes in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. PMID:24137248

In just this handful of studies, you can start to see that these little berries have an amazing amount of antioxidant and health-giving potential. They appear to be able to active macrophage immune cells and may have anti-aging and cell-protective abilities. To add to the total package, the dried berries taste delicious!  They can really satisfy the sweet tooth of even the most jaded junk food junkie.

(DISCLAIMER : This writer does not condone animal testing.  In doing research, we are forced to consider the results of animal testing because it is still valid and relevant.  However, many of these same studies could be done in human volunteers or using in vivo modeling if the scientific system at present wasn’t dead set on continuing to use animal-testing as a mainstay of research.  I believe in my heart of hearts that one day we will progress beyond this methodology.)


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Moringa documentary drives home ‘The Miracle Tree’s contribution to hunger relief

When I think of ‘food medicine’ (and the arbitrary distinction between what is ‘food’ and ‘medicine’ in the West, as opposed to in the East) I often think of Moringa.  You may know of it because of its reputation as a high source of vitamins and minerals. In fact the freeze-dried biodynamic Medicatrix Moringa has as much Calcium gram for gram as many Calcium isolated supplements such as Calcium Carbonate! Yet it is in a whole plant form and arguably more beneficial, if only because of the broad range of phytonutrients a whole plant can offer.

The video below drives home an important aspect of the plant – its role in alleviating hunger and other afflictions in Africa and other parts of the world.  While the West suffers from diseases of excess, mother Africa still struggles with the fundamentals of survival.  Moringa may be part of the solution for both. Watch the video if you get the chance and support our friends at Trees of Life. Tell them the food movement sent you!


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Moringa : Whole Leaf Super Food Nutrition

Moringa oleifera is  a tree native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Moringa The Food Movement

I’ve been really interested in Moringa for a number of years. It has quite a reputation internationally as one of the world’s most nutritious foods. As an herbalist, I’ve been intrigued by the possibilities of a food that offers so much benefit to anyone ingesting it, and also hope to those looking for dynamic botanical solutions to the problems of world hunger.  There are so many aspects of Moringa oleifera to consider.  For now, we are looking primarily at the leaf as a dynamic source of nutrition, though the ‘drumstick’ fruit pods are  very commonly eaten as well.  The roots and the seeds, when harvested, provide other diverse benefits.

This is an extremely important plant! It is a complete protein, contains a good deal of nutrients including calcium, iron, magnesium, is a complete protein source and contains many different vitamins and unique phytochemicals.  It would be ridiculous to ‘standardize’ or extract this plant, it is a leaf vegetable used across the world for many years.

Yet it has been virtually absent from the U.S. market. Unfortunately what little I myself have found on the market has been of very low quality.  As I’ve worked with the Food Movement to find a premium raw  material internationally (which we have finally secured – more on that to come) I have come to appreciate why it is so easy to get it wrong with Moringa.

(The Food Movement biodynamic freeze-dried Moringa whole leaf powder will be available here in September.)

Initially, suppliers of Ayurvedic herbs would offer Moringa leaf powder at a surprisingly low price.  Then, we found that some suppliers would only offer it as an extract, because the fresh raw material was often easily contaminated with potentially harmful microbes.  I myself believe that the only preparation one should consider is the whole leaf.  It is, after all, a food.

There is definite misinformation out there causing some to consider something other than whole leaf Moringa.  Just look to the wiki page on Moringa oleifera and you find this nugget of (mis)information

“Some of the calcium in moringa leaves is bound as crystals of calcium oxalate[14] which may inhibit calcium availability to the body. It is not clear whether the calculation of the reported amount of calcium in moringa leaves includes such non-bioavailable calcium.”

However, the reference they provide only documents that Moringa contains calcium oxalate (which it does, and many plant sources of calcium do) not that calcium oxalate is a non-bioavailable calcium. A study published in 1999 in The Journal of Nutrition found that calcium oxalate indeed was a bioavailable form of calcium. The researchers concluded “Thus, calcium bound as a small, neutral, calcium salt such as calcium oxalate does not have to be dissociated prior to absorption. Possibly other small compounds would be similarly absorbed. These results alter our current understanding of calcium bioavailability from foods and therapeutic agents.”

Anybody good at doing wikipedia edits?  I believe many people who have a negative opinion of calcium in plants as “non-bioavailable” would benefit from seeing this study.

Oh, and if the waters weren’t all ready murky enough for you… now Dr Oz has entered the arena…

Stay tuned to this bat channel for more examinations of the many healing aspects of Moringa to come.  Harvest time is now!


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The Food Movement to Release Plant-Based Vitamin D-3 to US Health Food Stores

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which has become more and more popular in recent years as a nutritional supplement.  However, those following a pure vegetarian (vegan) diet have been left out in the cold because all of the vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol) on the U.S. market is derived from animal sources (either fish oil or sheep’s wool lanolin.)  Those looking for a non-animal-derived vitamin D have been forced to accept vitamin D-2, which has been shown to be much less bioavailable to the human body.

The Food Movement Co., based in the Chicago, IL area, has announced that they will soon release one of the first completely vegan vitamin D-3 products.  Plans to produce a 5,000 i.u. 60 softgel capsule and 1,000 i.u. 120 spray bottle are currently under way.

The vitamin D-3 is derived sustainably from a unique Lichen species found high in the mountains of Asia.  This product is very unique, and represents a hallmark for those following a pure vegetarian diet and seeking greater health. For more information on the various health benefits of vitamin D-3 check here.

The Food Movement has a mission to bring human beings greater health through nutrient-dense plant foods.  Additionally, their agenda is to alleviate hunger and to encourage environmental sustainability and greater biodiversity.