Most people have heard of micro- and macro- nutrients, but what on earth are mesonutrients? Most foodies seem to look past this subsection of nutrition that focuses on the active compounds within superfoods. These powerful nutrients go hand-in-hand with the saying “What we see is only a fractional part of what really is.”
In Greek, “meso” directly translates to middle. Mesonutrients are the naturally occurring active compounds found within superfoods. They offer the exceptional benefits most people seek when consuming superfoods. Mesonutrients can be consumed simply by eating superfoods regularly.
Turmeric is currently one of the hottest superfoods at the moment due to its ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Ironically, its not the turmeric root that offers the health benefits, rather it is the mesonutrient within the root called curcumin. The actual turmeric root itself contains only about 2-5% of the curcumin molecule and the human GI tract often has a hard time absorbing it. Experts recommend combining turmeric with freshly ground black pepper in order to activate the curcumin molecule for optimal absorption.
Most people have heard of the spice saffron, mostly used for flavor in cooking and vibrant coloring. Saffron is also known for a multitude of health benefits, including decreasing risk of macular degeneration, boosting heart health, improving digestive health, preventing hair loss and even relieving body aches. Saffron can be considered a superfood due to its mesonutrient, saffronal. Saffronal has recently risen in health rank due to its many health benefits such as being a natural antidepressant and appetite suppressor.
Green tea is a slightly caffeinated drink full of nutrients and antioxidants that have been linked to improving brain function, aiding in fat lass and lowering risks of cancer. Green tea contains a mesonutrient called Epigallocatechin Gallate, commonly referred to as EGCG. This powerful mesonutrient is heavily concentrated in matcha powder. Matcha is sourced from green tea plants that have been prematurely covered to increase chlorophyll production and boost amino acid content. Matcha powder is accessible at most grocery stores and is easy to prepare by adding a few teaspoons to hot water.
Try to spice up your favorite dishes or morning lattes by experimenting with different mesonutrients. The best way to get the most powerful form of the mesonutrient is by consuming the main source on a daily basis!
Written by GUADS intern Lindsey with contributions from onegreenplanet.org