There are so many nutritious foods out there – and it’s just a matter of choosing which one works best. This time, it’s a battle between moringa vs kale, both have a very promising nutritional profile, which makes a lot of people wonder – which of the two is better?
Moringa and kale have a lot in common. Apart from their similarity in terms of color, both of these superfoods are also part of the botanical order called Brassicales. Needless to say, moringa and kale are also packed with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Interestingly, both moringa and kale have only exploded in popularity in recent years. Although, both have been around for thousands of years already. In fact, in some countries, moringa and kale has not only been consumed being considered as nutritious food, but has also been used for medicinal purposes.
While we were researching about moringa and kale, we were quite surprised to know that both have very interesting nicknames. When we say nickname, these are names that people tagged to these plants. It is funny how even in their nicknames, it still sounded like a battle between moringa vs kale.
Just so you know, moringa has also been popularly known as the “miracle tree” or the “tree of life” because of its impressive nutritional profile, and also because of its ability not just to keep the body healthy, but also to help prevent or cure certain diseases. Meanwhile, some health experts have dubbed kale as “the most nutritious plant in the world”. Quite a huge claim, but really, which is better between moringa and kale?
It is definitely an exciting battle – moringa vs kale.
MORINGA VS KALE: OVERVIEW
Before anything else, let’s take a deeper look into what moringa and kale are all about.
Moringa oleifera is just one among 13 varieties of moringa. It has been the most popularly known form of moringa having such a very impressive nutritional profile. Needless to say, it has the ability to prevent or treat certain types of diseases.
Moringa originated in India, as well as other parts of Asia like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Moringa tree is known to grow in tropical weather – which is why it is also present in certain parts of Africa, South America, as well as Oceania.
At first glance, there really is nothing note-worthy about moringa. But once you dig deeper, you will eventually realize how impressive this plant tree is.
In some parts of the world, apart from consuming it as a nutritious food staple, moringa has also been used for medicinal purposes – particularly in the field of folk or herbal medicine. By the way, because of its amazing nutritional value, moringa has also been used in impoverished communities to help fight off malnutrition.
Because of its nutritional profile, people tagged moringa as a “miracle tree” or “tree of life”. Furthermore, in some places, it is better known as “drumstick tree” or “horseradish tree” because of certain characteristics it possesses.
Another interesting fact about the moringa tree is that almost all its parts are edible. From its leaves to the flowers, fruit, and seeds, as well as its bark and roots. All of these have their respective nutritional value. Although the moringa leaves were found to be the most nutritious of all. In fact, studies show that the nutritional value of moringa leaves even increases when shade-dried correct. No wonder why most moringa products in the market today are made from moringa leaves.
According to a report posted at Harvard T. H. Chan – School of Public Health, kale has early roots in Greek and Roman culture. In the United States, kale was not that popular. In fact, it has remained a relatively minor commercial crop until recently.
Kale is a green leafy, nutrient-dense vegetable that has gained its celebrity status or its popularity in the year 2012. Slowly, it has appeared on the Michelin star restaurants menu and has emerged to be the choice ingredient of most millennial bloggers.
Surprisingly, when it became popular, kale has displaced other greens in different types of recipes like soups, salads, as well as pesto. Kale has even become one of those chips you will see on snack aisles. No wonder why 2012 has been the year of kale according to the magazine, Bon Appétit. More so, it has become very significant because on October 2, 2013, the so-called “National Kale Day” was launched in the United States. With such recognition, it only means this plant must be very good.
Kale is one of that food that has been found to be very versatile. In fact, it is used in a variety of recipes. As mentioned earlier, it is used in salads, soups, and pesto. In addition, it can also be used in making milkshakes and smoothies. You can also eat kale in raw, boiled, or steamed form.
MORINGA VS KALE: NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Now that we already have an idea of what moringa and kale are, and where they originated before become popularly known in the world today, let’s move on to finding out their respective nutritional profiles.
Yes, it’s time for the battle on nutritional value – moringa vs kale:
As we said earlier moringa is packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential to keep our bodies healthy. Needless to say to also help spare us from certain diseases.
So, for your reference, below are some of the most commonly known nutrients that are present in moringa:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)
In addition to that, according to the National Institute of Nutrition’s 1989 book entitled, “Nutritive Value of Indian Foods,” it says that a handful of moringa leaves contain the following nutritional value (posting the information in verbatim):
- Seven times the amount of vitamin C in an orange
- Three times the amount of iron in spinach
- Four times the amount of vitamin A in a carrot
- Four times the amount of calcium in one glass of milk
- Three times the potassium in one banana
- Two times the protein found in regular, plain yogurt
This alone makes us really amused at how this simple-looking tree can give so many nutrients. It isn’t surprising why moringa has earned recognition from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations its September 2014 Traditional Crop of the Month.
According to the Harvard T. H. Chan – School of Public Health, kale is found to be rich in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Carotenoids – Lutein and Zeaxanthin
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin K (Phylloquinone
Meanwhile, in a report published at the Medical News Today website, it says that a cup of chopped, raw kale that weighs roughly 16 grams, contains the following nutrients:
- 8 calories
- 68 g of protein
- 4 g of carbohydrate
- 6 g of fiber
- 24 mg of calcium
- 24 mg of iron
- 8 mg of magnesium
- 15 mg of phosphorus
- 79 mg of potassium
- 6 mg of sodium
- 2 mg of vitamin C
- 23 mcg of folate DFE
- 8 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
- 80 mcg of vitamin A, RAE
Furthermore, it also states that a cup of cooked kale contain over 1,000 percent more vitamin C compared to one cup of cooked spinach. In contrast to spinach, kale has low oxalate, which means both iron and calcium are more easily absorbed by a person’s digestive tract.
MORINGA VS KALE: HEALTH BENEFITS
The battle between moringa vs kale continues. Now, let’s look into the health benefits both offer. Essentially, moringa and kale are very beneficial to human health, but what do people can get really from these superfoods?
Let’s find out below:
- Skin and Hair
Moringa, particularly the moringa seed extract is beneficial in protecting the hair from free radicals. It also helps keep the hair healthy and clean.
Meanwhile, moringa leaves contain protein, which is very useful in protecting the skin cells from possible damage. Needless to say, moringa also contains detoxifying and hydrating components that help boost both hair and skin.
- Liver Function
Moringa contains essential nutrients that help protect the liver against the risk of getting damaged because of anti-tubercular drugs. It also has components that help quicken the repair or healing process of a damaged liver.
Recent studies have shown the possibility of moringa being an aid in the prevention, as well as in treating certain cancer. Moringa was found to contain niazimicin, which is an essential compound that helps destroy the development of cancer cells.
- Stomach Problems
Moringa, particularly moringa extracts were found to be helpful in treating some stomach problems like and ulcerative colitis constipation, as well as gastritis. It also contains natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties that may be helpful in constraining the growth of various pathogens.
Furthermore, moringa has high vitamin B content, which is very helpful in having healthy digestion.
- Bone health
Moringa is rich in calcium and phosphorus. Both of these nutrients are vital in keeping the human bones healthy and strong. Moringa also contains many anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful in treating conditions like arthritis and damaged bones.
- Cardiovascular Health
Moringa contains powerful antioxidants, which is vital in preventing cardiac damage, and also essential in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Based on studies, moringa has been found to be one of the natural ways that helps reduce high blood sugar levels, which is why it is an ideal food or supplement for people with diabetes. It also helps reduce the sugar and protein content in the urine.
- High Blood Pressure
Moringa has isothiocyanate and niaziminin. These are compounds that is proven to help stop arteries from thickening. A thickened artery may cause blood pressure to rise, and in some cases, may lead to more serious heart problems like heart attack.
Kale contains a high amount of fiber and antioxidants, both offer protection from high blood glucose problems particularly diabetes.
Based on studies, high consumption of fiber helps a lot in reducing high blood sugar levels in people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. As with those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, fiber helps improve blood sugar, insulin, and lipids levels.
By taking one cup of freshly chopped kale, you get to enjoy 0.6 grams of fiber, while a cup of cooked kale will give you 2.6 grams of fiber. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 the recommended fiber intake for adults aged over 18 years is between 25 grams and 33.6 grams.
Meanwhile, kale contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which according to studies is helpful in reducing glucose levels, prevent oxidative stress, as well as increase insulin sensitivity.
- Heart Disease
Kale is found to be rich in vitamins C and B6, as well as fiber and potassium. All of these are proven to promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
Based on studies, an increased potassium intake, at the same time, decreasing the consumption of sodium helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or CVD. Apart from that high consumption of potassium has also been associated with lowering the risk of stroke, conservation of bone mineral density, decreased formation of kidney stones, as well as protection against loss of muscle mass, and reduction of high blood pressure.
Kale consumption on a daily basis helps a lot in reaching the required daily intake of potassium, which is 4,700 mg. Just so you know, a cup of fresh kale contains 79 mg of potassium, while a cup of cooked kale provides 296 mg.
Kale is found to have high water and fiber, which are essential in the prevention of constipation, as well as the promotion of regular and healthy digestive system.
Furthermore, kale also contains vitamins B and C, which helps promote absorption, and also in releasing energy from food.
- Hair and Skin Health
Kale contains beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that is transformed by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A is helpful in enabling all bodily tissues to grow, which include both the human hair and skin. Needless to say, it is also essential in producing sebum, which is the oil that helps keep the hair and skin moisturized. In addition, vitamin A also plays a role in the functionality of the immune system, as well as in keeping a good eyesight, and a healthy reproductive system.
Furthermore, a cup of cooked kale can provide 53.3 grams of vitamin C, which the body needs to help maintain as well as build collagen, the essential protein that gives structure for the bones, hair, and skin.
This is quite a very interesting fact but apparently, chlorophyll, which is commonly present not just in kale but also other green vegetables can aid the body from absorbing heterocyclic amines, which are chemicals produced when you grill animal-derived foods at a high temperature. Apparently, too much of this chemical may lead to developing cancer.
Though the human body is unable to absorb chlorophyll that much, the chlorophyll that is present in kale has the ability to bind to carcinogens, which in effect helps the body from absorbing them – keeping you limited from developing the Big C.
- Bone Health
Kale has been found to be a good source of vitamin K, which is essential in keeping our bones healthy. Low intake of vitamin K can lead to higher risk of getting bone fracture.
Although the human body has the ability to create most of the vitamin K it needs, suitable vitamin K intake is essential in maintaining a healthy body. Having enough vitamin K helps improve calcium absorption, transform bone matrix proteins, as well as lower the amount of calcium expelled in urine.
MORINGA VS KALE: PRECAUTIONS AND/OR SIDE EFFECTS
Generally, there are no reported side effects when taking moringa. However, some precautions must be observed if you are:
– Taking maintenance medicine for hypertension or diabetes. As mentioned earlier, moringa has the ability to reduce high blood sugar and high blood pressure levels naturally. Experts recommend not taking moringa alongside maintenance medicine for these health conditions as it may further lower down high blood sugar and high blood pressure levels, which is not healthy for the body as well.
– Pregnant or suspected to be pregnant. There have been studies conducted that show that the moringa roots contain compounds that may lead to uterine contraction, which makes it harmful if you are pregnant or suspected to be one. It might lead to premature birth or worse, miscarriage.
While kale consumption is generally safe, here are some precautions for people who are:
– Taking beta-blockers. Beta-blockers are usually given to those with heart diseases. This causes an increased potassium level in the blood. Taking such medication along with kale might be a little harmful. In the same way that too much potassium intake may cause harm to how your kidney functions.
– Taking anti-blood thinners. Kale provides a good amount of vitamin K, which may interfere with what blood thinners do. That is why people taking such kind of medication are advised to be cautious in taking particular food like kale to avoid any problem.
MORINGA VS KALE: THE BOTTOMLINE
To be honest, overall, we can say that both moringa and kale are indeed a superfood. In fact, we find it hard to battle moringa vs kale because both has their respective things to offer.
At the end of the day, it will just depend on what you need more based on your health condition. But all in all, we just have to commend these two amazing plants/vegetables. They’re both great in their own ways.