Superfoods Are Coming to Breakfast
By Brad Frischkorn
Breakfast foods are increasingly not only healthier, but super healthy. Fans simply call them "superfoods."
Japanese importer Brilliant Earth Co. is hopeful that a dietary revolution is brewing in our morning tea. Based in Ehime Prefecture, some 800km southwest of Tokyo, the firm holds an exclusive nationwide distributorship for a range of healthy foods, including Moringa oleifera, which has garnered worldwide fame in recent years.
Brilliant Earth President/CEO Masato Kataoka dutifully manned a booth at the CareTEX 2016 exposition held at Odaiba in mid-March, doling out samples of Aduna Moringa Green Superleaf Powder to interested guests. Moringa looks much like Japanese macha, a finely granulated and relatively expensive type of tea used in ceremonies and official occasions.
"Moringa can be blended into smoothies, or simply drunk like regular tea," says Mr. Kataoka. "It really doesn't matter; the health benefits don't diminish no matter how you prepare it."
Although it remains relatively unknown in the West, Moringa, also known as the Drumstick Tree or Horseradish Tree, has developed a reputation in native India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Africa, where the leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicines. The powdered leaves contain 46 types of antioxidants, four times more calcium than milk, seven times more vitamin C than oranges, three times more potassium than bananas, and four times more vitamin A than carrots. Antioxidants are known to guard against cancer and degenerative diseases.
WebMD notes that Moringa also serves as an effective natural treatment for anemia, rheumatism, asthma, cancer, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, intestinal ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney stones, as well as a host of bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections.
Perhaps ironically, it is also touted to both increase sex drive, boost breast milk production, and prevent pregnancy.
Dissolved into hot water, the taste is slightly bitter. Nutritional site miracletrees.org recommends putting the used tea bag contents into milkshakes or salads.
"Orders are pretty strong for Moringa, as its nutritional reputation has begun to spread," says Mr. Kataoka, who is also a licensed pharmacist. "Japan has a long-standing tea-drinking culture, and green tea (ocha) has many similar benefits, although to a less concentrated degree."
Brilliant Earth tries to bundle Moringa with another up-and-coming superfood: the African Baobab fruit, recognized as one of the most nutrient-dense whole foods on the planet. Completely organic, it dries naturally on the branch, and boasts more antioxidant content than any other fruit. In terms of Integral Antioxidant Capacity (IAC), Healwithfood.org scores Baobab at 11.11 versus kiwifruit (0.34), oranges (0.10), strawberries (0.91), and apples (0.16). In powdered form, Baobab sports a slightly sweet, citrus flavor. Brilliant Earth has been marketing it for about the last year.
"The Baobab is lesser known than Moringa, and probably works best as an additive, mixed in with pancake batter, cereals, granola, or spread on fruit," says Mr. Kataoka. Considering the high fiber content (about eight times that of the Japanese gobo (burdock) root, we think people will get used to it over time."
Brilliant Earth markets Aduna Moringa Green Superleaf Powder at ¥2,000 for a 100g canister (a 25-day supply), and Baobad Superfruit Powder at ¥2,000 for 80 grams (a 20-day supply).
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