Oxidants, also known as free radicals, can cause serious damage to the body through the breakdown of cells. This breakdown can weaken the immune system and may be responsible for causing cataracts, some forms of cancer, arthritis, heart disease and other physical ailments; free radicals can cause accelerated aging of cells and physical systems as well. Free radicals are the result of oxygen reacting chemically with cells in the body during the breakdown of food or other substances.

These chemical compounds can damage the DNA structures of other cells, creating mutations that can cause significant alterations to the cells and may serve as precursors to cancerous growths within the body.

Antioxidants can help to protect against this damage by breaking down free radicals into their constituent parts or chemically bonding with these harmful substances and removing them from the physical system. While the body naturally synthesizes some antioxidant enzymes including catalase and glutathione, other antioxidant materials are derived from dietary sources. Beta carotene and Vitamins A, E and C are considered to be among the most beneficial antioxidants in terms of controlling and eliminating free radicals from the body. Many antioxidant substances work to eliminate free radicals independently while others act as helpers in the process; for instance, Vitamin C acts directly to break down free radical compounds in the bloodstream, while selenium works with gluthathione to create enzymes capable of breaking down hydrogen peroxide into safe and manageable substances within the body. The Moringa oleifera tree, colloquially known as the drumstick tree, is an outstanding dietary source of antioxidants and provides a significant portion of the daily recommended allowances of beta carotene and other vitamins and nutrients that work to cleanse free radicals from the tissues and bloodstream. The antioxidant properties of the seeds, seed pods and leaves of the moringa plant can protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals and may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, the plant can help keep cells healthier and prevent premature aging. A study by Nambiar, Guin, Parnami and Daniel published in 2010 in the Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology (Read full research) showed that the antioxidant properties of moringa leaves can be highly beneficial for overweight individuals and those who have high levels of lipids in their systems. These hyperlipidemic patients showed reductions in the amounts of fatty materials in their bloodstreams; the reduction in cholesterol levels produced by the antioxidants in moringa leaves may help to protect against coronary disease and other damaging circulatory ailments.

Combined with the highly nutritive composition of moringa leaves and seeds, the high levels of antioxidant substances in the plant can provide superior health benefits and protection against the effects of free radicals on the body. While the antioxidant benefits of moringa leaves and seed pods are especially important in parts of the world where other types of healthy food are scarce, moringa can provide significant benefits as a dietary supplement even in technologically advanced societies. By incorporating these healthy products into everyday nutritional choices, individuals can enjoy the antioxidant benefits of moringa while continuing their normal diets.