Each part of this superfood can find a way into your diet to make the most of all its nutrients
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While the homely drumstick has always been an integral part of the South Indian diet, it is only now that the world has put it on the pedestal of 'green superfood moringa'. Drumstick or Moringa grows in most parts of India, yet it is one of the most overlooked plants. Of late you can will moringa in the form of powder and capsules in many gourmet and health food stores, thanks to its health benefits and high nutrition content. It is rich in vitamin C, protein, iron, beta-carotene and more. Another great thing about this plant is that you can use not just the drumsticks but also the seed pods, leaves, flowers and oil pressed from seeds. We share with you how you can make the most of drumsticks or moringa.

Drumsticks

Drumsticks are rich in dietary fiber, they are commonly prepared in most households by parboiling and cooking in a curry. Bangalore-based nutritionist and wellness consultant Sheela Krishnaswamy says, "Drumstick is commonly used in South Indian dishes like sambar and aviyal.  Its leaves are used to make a dry vegetable curry or stuffed into parathas. Although it has been a part of Indian cuisine for many decades, it has caught the fancy of the western world now and is being promoted as a ‘superfood’ called moringa."

Drumstick is a potent antioxidant. Payal Kothari, integrative nutritionist and life coach, suggests using moringa sticks to make soups or the popular south Indian dish aviyal or sambar. "You can steam cook it and bite into them to squeeze out all the flesh. It is a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, protein, complex carbs, fiber and only has a minuscule amount of fat,” says Kothari.

Another hack she suggests is a quick way to incorporate it in your skincare regime by steaming it and using it as a scrub by mixing it with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and granulated sugar. Its antibacterial properties can work wonders for your skin and helps take care of skin conditions like acne, pimples and fungal infections.

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Leaves and moringa powder

Moringa leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant because of the high content of vitamin C, provitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and protein. They are commonly dried and crushed into a powder to use for soups and sauces or simply cooked like spinach.

"Moringa leaf powder is being sold like gold internationally, but it has not become very popular here even though it has been used in various Ayurvedic practices for ages. It is extremely high in iron and also has vitamin C, calcium, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is great to have on a regular basis by adding the powder to your smoothie, soup or even plain water. It does not have a very strong taste, so it can also be included in your gravies. If you are consuming it in the form of a capsule, have it with your breakfast. The alkaline intake will help your body prevent and fight diseases,” says Kothari.

Moringa seeds

The moringa seeds also contain high levels of vitamin C and dietary minerals. It can be roasted like nuts and munched on like any other dry fruits and nuts. Kothari suggests preparing a stir-fried dish with the seed pods or simply putting them on top of any salad or fruit bowl for the added crunch. 

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Moringa roots

The roots of the plant have a very sharp flavour, so it is said to be used in selective condiments. Otherwise, the bark, sap and roots are used in traditional medicine. It helps fight joint pain, diabetes, intestinal ulcers, high blood pressure, fluid retention and many other conditions. Kothari also advises people suffering from UTI to add it in any form into their meals as it helps to ease the symptoms and fastens recovery.

Moringa flowers

You can also have drumstick flowers which are quite tasty by throwing them on top of your salads. In some places, the moringa flowers are served as a snack by deep frying it after mixing it in a batter of gram flour and spices. Kothari says, "Moringa in any form helps in treating problems such as sexual sterility. It is a great ingredient to be added in the diet for those who are planning to have babies."

Moringa oil

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Oil extracted from the moringa seeds is also called 'ben oil' since it is a rich source of behenic acid, which is a fatty acid derived from oil extracts of plants. Moringa oil is rich in vitamin E which makes it perfect for both topical application as well as consumption. The cold pressed moringa oil is rich in good cholesterol and offers benefits such as improving blood sugar levels, managing diabetes and controlling cholesterol levels.

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