STANDFIRST] Bursting with antioxidants, protein and all nine essential amino acids, moringa is finally getting the attention it deserves, writes Robert Picheta.

A new superfood trend seems to come along every other week - but there's good reason to believe you shouldn't be so sceptical of this newest foodie fad.

It's got a snappy name - Moringa - and nutritionists are crediting it with just about every health benefit under the sun, so it's a mystery that we haven't woken up to it previously. But wellness fanatics are finally starting to catch on. Here's what you need to know about it.

Moringa is a tree that grows in dry climates across Africa and Asia. It's also known as the Drumstick Tree for its shape, or the Horseradish Tree for the taste of its roots, and thousands of the plants are scattered across the foothills of the Himalayas. Its pods, bark and even twigs have been cooked and eaten for centuries, but the powder, made by grinding its leaves, is what's started sending health addicts into a frenzy.

Brands including Aduna and food bloggers like Madeleine Shaw have been using it in smoothies and salads, and its use in beauty products is on the rise.

But what makes moringa so moreish? It's unusually rich in protein - in fact, it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. It packs more protein than virtually any other plant-based product, and is richer in amino acids than whey protein, so is increasingly being incorporated into fitness regimes.

And if you find yourself low on energy during the day, moringa's high iron levels might be what you need. Fiona Hunter, nutritionist at Healthspan, explains: "In traditional medicine, moringa is used to treat 'tired blood' and a lack of energy, a result of its high iron content. Lack of iron in the diet reduces the body's capacity to make red blood cells and is a very common nutritional problem". In fact, one in four women in the UK have been found to have low iron levels, and tiredness and lethargy are common consequences.

Moringa is also bursting with vitamins. It contains good levels of thiamin, which helps with the release of energy, and riboflavin, which keeps skin healthy. It's also rich in Vitamins C and E, meaning incorporating it into your diet is supposed to help boost your immune system and keep your bones strong.

Hunter adds: "Moringa leaf powder contains a number of phytochemicals including quercetin and chlorogenic acid, and studies show taking the powder regularly can boost levels of antioxidants in the blood."

When it comes to taste, Naomi Buff of Naomi's Kitchen says: "Unlike other green superfoods, it doesn't have a strong, overpowering taste." Its subtle, slightly spicy flavour is reminiscent of spinach, making it a natural addition to smoothies and juices - which explains why so many brands are jumping on it.

So how can you get moringa into your diet? Organic brand Birt & Tang have a moringa leaf tea (£3.49 for 50 bags,, which makes for a great evening cuppa. Or, if you want an energy boost at the start of your day, get your hands on some moringa powder and sprinkle it into your smoothie blender with whichever fruits you fancy.

The Body Shop's moringa hand cream (£5, is great if you want to really benefit from the plant's skin-healing properties.

Foodies are experimenting with moringa increasingly too. Why not make your own moringa latte, using the powder stirred through coconut milk, with a little raw honey? Or sprinkle some moringa into your oats and cook up healthy moringa porridge for breakfast? You can even treat your sweet tooth with moringa and cocoa chocolate-chip cookies.

It's versatile, tasty, and jam-packed with vitamins and amino acids, and nutritionists insist it will keep you feeling fresh throughout the day - the hype about moringa seems justified, so it might be time to jump on the bandwagon.