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  • Experts Say Malunggay May Help Prevent Adverse Pregnancy Outcome

    Malunggay is called a "miracle vegetable" for the many benefits it offers, including breastfeeding.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Experts Say Malunggay May Help Prevent Adverse Pregnancy Outcome
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  • A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables is highly recommended, especially to expectant moms. Experts agree that malunggay for pregnant women offer a lot of benefits even after giving birth and while breastfeeding.

    Malunggay as "miracle vegetable"

    Hailed by some scientists as a “miracle vegetable,” malunggay (scientific name: Moringa oleifera) is also promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “low-cost health enhancer” in many poor countries.

    In the Philippines, it is considered a national vegetable and, through House Bill 2017, the "National Malunggay Month" is celebrated every November. Its image is also used as the official logo of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

    The vegetable, also known as drumstick tree or horseradish tree, is loaded with nutrients and vitamins. A mere 100 grams of malunggay leaves has these nutritional values:

    • 75 calories of energy (higher than ampalaya, squash, tomatoes, or carrots)
    • 5.9 grams protein (higher than cauliflower, lettuce, or mustard)
    • 12.8 grams carbohydrate (higher than okra, papaya, or watermelon)
    • 353 milligrams calcium (higher than gabi leaves, mung beans, squash, and camote tops)
    • 3.7 milligrams niacin (higher than other vegetables analyzed)
    • Plus: thiamin, phosphorus and ascorbic acid

    Health benefits of malungggay

    Malunggay is coveted for being a multi-purpose herbal plant used as a human food and an alternative for medicinal purposes worldwide. It contains essential amino acids, carotenoids in leaves, and components with nutraceutical properties. That's why it's also used as a nutritional supplement.

    Its many health benefits include:

    • Prevention of anemia or the deficiency in red blood cells
    • Strengthening of bones and teeth
    • Prevention of the eye disease called xerophthalmia
    • Protection against declining mental ability and stroke
    • Cure for headache, bleeding from a shallow cut, gastric ulcers, and diarrhea
    • Reduction of the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
    • Prevention of the onset of various chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, as well as heart and kidney diseases
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    Malunggay aids in pregnancy and breastfeeding

    Expectant moms are strongly advised to eat malunggay, preferably in soupy dishes like tinola, in preparation for breastfeeding. It's been proven to increase the production of vitamin-rich milk for newborns.

    Beauty queen and first-time mom Jehza Huelar-Simon believes that she was able to prepare her body for breastfeeding because of the soupy dishes she consumed while she was pregnant. She told SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview that the people around her, notably her fellow moms, made sure she always had malunggay in her diet.

    Aside from quantity, malunggay also gives quality milk. This is because the calcium content in malunggay, according to experts, are proven to be four times more than those found in cow's milk.  No wonder they endorse malunggay for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

    Meanwhile, recent studies suggest that malunggay helps prevent adverse pregnancy outcome. It can, for instance, reduce maternal DNA damage and, at the same time, significantly increase hemoglobin concentration among anemic women.

    Malunggay also helps pregnant women fight off inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to health problems such as diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, obesity, rheumatism, arthritis, and joint pains.

    This wonder vegetable suppresses enzymes that cause inflammation in the body and keeping headaches and joint issues at bay. This is particularly helpful for those suffering from constant and troublesome morning sickness.

    Another positive result from a study concerns birth weight. Supplementation using malunggay extract has been found to prevent a newborn from being underweight and can, in fact, increase the baby's weight.

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    Aside from using malunggay as an ingredient in soups and other dishes, it can be made into flakes that you can conveniently sprinkle in your food any time you want. (Read how you can make your own here.) There really is no excuse not to consume malunggay for pregnant, new moms, and practically everybody.

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