Eating local is important to raising your fitness levels and becoming the strongest version of yourself. Foods that are native to your region are typically the most nutritious. After all, how wholesome can ingredients that are flown in be? If your kale, quinoa or avocadoes are grown on another continent, and have spent hours in transit, you can hardly call them superfoods anymore.
It’s wiser to stick to locally grown foods rooted in timeless Indian wisdom. One such lesser known powerful ingredient is moringa flower, known in Hindi as sahjan. Almost every part of the moringa (commonly referred to as the drumstick tree) is said to be edible. It’s rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and a great source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The flowers are a rich reservoir of calcium, potassium and iron.
Moringa flowers are high on vitamins and iron.
Swati Bhushan, chief clinical nutritionist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, highlights the nutrient profile of moringa flowers, and shares a recipe for Moringa flower chutney:
• Flowers of moringa contain antioxidant compounds such as vitamin C and carotenoids, flavonoids like quercetin as well as tannins. Antioxidants fight against harmful free radicals that cause cell damage and inflammation. Tannins help in blood clotting, maintain blood pressure and blood lipid levels. Quercetin is cardio-protective, cancer-protective and helpful in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
• Moringa flowers help in resolving infertility issues in men and women. Various vital nutrients present in it revitalise the reproductive system and make it function more effectively.
• High concentration of polyphenols in the flowers protects the liver from damage and toxicity. The extracts of flowers used in studies have shown to reduce liver injury, increased levels of antioxidants like glutathione and antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and catalase.
• Moringa flowers can be a potent therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that the flower extract reduces primary and secondary lesions and inflammation.
• Decoction made from moringa flowers can help treat urinary tract infections and cold.
• Moringa flower powder can be incorporated in the first weaning foods like cereal gruels made from ragi and other millets, to enhance the sensory properties of the infant meal. This addition of dried moringa flower powder helps in meeting the standard requirements of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, required for weaning food. Cereals are limiting in some essential amino acids, while moringa flowers are good sources of essential amino acids which can significantly help in growth and development.
• Moringa flowers have anti-microbial potential. Studies using flower extracts showed promising anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-larval properties.
How to use it: Recipe for Moringa Flower Chutney
1 cup of moringa flowers (Sahjan)
2 sprigs of green garlic
2 stalk curry leaves
½ inch ginger
3 green chillies
1 tablespoon roasted chana dal
2 tablespoons beaten curd
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon water
1. When using moringa flowers, do not discard the tiny buds. Boil some water in a vessel and add salt. When the water comes to a boil, add the flowers and cook till tender. Drain the water. Then wash the flowers in fresh water. Keep it in a strainer and allow it to cool. This process will take the bitterness out of the flowers.
2. Chop off the roots of green garlic sprigs, chop garlic and greens roughly.
3. Grind together cooked moringa flowers, curry leaves, garlic with greens, ginger, green chillies, roasted chana dal and salt to taste.
4. Pour into a dish, add the beaten curd and mix well.
5. Heat oil in a small pan, crackle sesame seeds and mustard seeds and then add water. Pour this sizzling tadka on moringa flower chutney.
6. Serve this chutney with any snack or as an accompaniment to meals.
Follow @acharu.com for more