Its green leaves contain more calcium than cow's milk
and more iron than spinach
HAROLD CASTRO & GISELLE PAULINE ( TEXT AND PHOTOS ) |
DO RIO OMO VALLEY , ETHIOPIA
Karo woman removes green leaves of Moringa stems to prepare meal ( Photo: © Haroldo Castro / season )
Few Brazilians have heard of a plant called Moringa. Native to Asia and Africa, the tree of up to 12 meters high provides abundant branches laden with small green leaves. Considered as a panacea for many ills - treatment of malaria stomach pains - and a food with high nutritional value and an excellent composition of protein, vitamins and minerals, the Moringa tree is one of those that all inhabitants of the tropics should have in the backyard. Of the 14 identified species, two are the most popular. Native to the Himalayan slopes, Moringa oleifera has been recognized by Ayurvedic medicine as an important medicinal herb for four thousand years. The Indian plant was eventually spread throughout the world and came to Brazil. A related species is the Moringa stenotepala, native to eastern Africa. According to researchers at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, researching the plant for nearly two decades, moringa has a high ability to fight different tropical diseases such as leishmaniasis. But what haunts nutritionists is its composition as food. Researchers concluded that, gram for gram compared with other products, moringa has seven times more vitamin C than oranges, four times more vitamin A than carrots, four times more calcium than cow's milk, three times more iron than spinach and three times more potassium than bananas. What's more, the composition of its protein shows an excellent balance of essential amino acids (those who need to eat because the human body does not produce them).
In a country remembered for malnutrition images, note that the Ethiopian moringa - Moringa stenotepala kind - is abundantly planted in the tropical zone of the country gives us great enthusiasm. On the road out of Arba Minch towards the south, the tree is spread in various fields of corn, as well as around the straw huts of the inhabitants of the region. About 90 km later we arrived in Konso, the gateway to the native territory of the people of the valley of the Omo River. The traditional villages of Konso ethnicity were proclaimed by UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 due to the terraces created for agriculture and stone walls that protect human settlements. Not only that the ingenuity of Konso with their terraces, enabling sustainable agriculture in arid mountain slopes, the ethnic leaders plant, for generations, moringa trees around their homes. Thus, the so nutritious green leaflet no shortage to anyone in the community and brings a minimum of nutrients to the entire population, especially to children.
Thanks to abundant moringa and cereals and legumes planted in Konso terraces , the malnutrition ghost departs increasingly from southern Ethiopia. In fact, in all the weekly markets in the region , we always find bunches and bunches of fresh moringa being sold to those who do not have a tree in your yard. Thamyres Matarozzi , a São Paulo photographer traveling with our small group of Brazilians already knew the fame of moringa since 2011 when he lived in London. For being vegan and seek a conscious power , Thamyres bought in Europe dozens of moringa powder bags to complement a possible lack of proteins or vitamins for his trip to Ethiopia. What was his surprise to see that almost all of the restaurants where we ate offered moringa - or, in the local language , aleko - in various forms, from soup to stew!
Moringa provides yet another gift to rural communities. Due to a particular composition of the oils and proteins contained in seeds, when ground and mixed with a blurred and non-potable water, extraordinary reaction takes place: the water becomes clear. How does this happen? The powder of Moringa seeds has the property of attracting clay, sediment and bacteria, which end up in the bottom of the container and leaving the clear, clean water. Both the seeds of Ethiopian species (Moringa stenopatala) and Asian (Moringa oleifera) have the same characteristics of decant water. Researchers at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais proven in laboratory tests that the seeds of the Asian moringa can remove 99% of the water turbidity. With all these attributes, it is not difficult to consider the moringa as one of the most generous plants on the planet. Therefore, several human development NGOs that fight poverty and hunger call it "super plant", "miracle tree" or "sheet that saves lives." Once you know all this, our next step will be to buy seeds and planting moringa at home! Source:http://epoca.globo.com/colunas-e-blogs/viajologia/ noticia/2015/06/moringa-arvore-magica-que-pode-acabar- com-fome-no-mundo.html
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