See why following this new trend could be one of the best health decisions you make...
f you’re into health and fitness, you probably know about macronutrients. These are the carbs, protein and fats in our food that provide our bodies with calories for energy; but did you know that 'macro’ is the Greek word for ‘big'?
We know 'micro’ means small, and micronutrients are all the essential vitamins and minerals that produce the enzymes and hormones our bodies need to function - but you probably already knew that too.
If you did, it’s highly likely you also know about superfoods as well. These are the foods that can boost mitochondrial function, repair damage to DNA, and even prevent and reverse disease.
However, not many people have heard about mesonutrients. 'Meso’ means 'middle’ or 'inside’ in Greek, and mesonutrients are the active compounds found in superfoods. In other words, we’re talking about the substances that give superfoods their superpowers.
Preventative medicines based on nutrition and lifestyle are taking off in the wellness world, and 2019 is the year we get right to the source of our superfoods. Here are 6 mesonutrients and how to use them for optimal health!
There’s a good reason why acai bowls are so popular in the wellness world, and it all comes down to that gorgeous, vibrant, purple colour. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, purple, and blue plants their colouring. They are a mesonutrient found in foods like in blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, kidney beans, purple sweet potatoes and, of course, acai berries.
Aware of their anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, herbal medicine practitioners use anthocyanin-rich substances to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, colds and urinary tract infections. Recent research also suggests this mighty mesonutrient can help fight against major health concerns like heart disease, obesity, dementia and cancer.
Try this 5-ingredient acai blueberry sorbet to fight free-radicals, supercharge your immunity, and enhance your heart health in the most delicious way!
Somewhat more difficult to come by than other mesonutrients, berberine is found in goldenseal and barberries - which aren’t commonly known! An alkaloid extracted from these lesser-known plants, berberine has very strong bioactivity in the body and has the power to balance blood pressure and alleviate respiratory infections. Berberine is also a bitter digestive stimulant, a gastrointestinal tonic, an antimicrobial and an immune stimulant.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this magical mesonutrient is primarily used to reduce insulin resistance and improve the biomarkers of type II diabetes. As it’s not found in the more common superfoods that we eat regularly, berberine is definitely worth seeking out in supplement form because of its incredible anti-inflammatory properties!
Turmeric is famous for its healing properties. However, it’s actually the curcumin in turmeric that provides all the benefits. Curcumin is a polyphenol and the active ingredient in turmeric, which is often associated with the treatment of inflammatory conditions and metabolic syndromes, along with many other health-boosting benefits.
While eating a turmeric-rich cooked meal is very healthy, consuming raw turmeric is the best way to access curcumin through your diet. Unfortunately, however, our gastrointestinal tracts can’t easily absorb it, and eating raw turmeric can result in mild digestive upset.
The tummy-friendly secret to activating and absorbing the curcumin in turmeric is to combine it with freshly ground black pepper and take it with a healthy fat source, such as coconut oil or coconut milk. Here’s a deliciously nourishing turmeric latte recipe to put this to the test!
To get the most out of curcumin, however, it’s recommended to go the supplement route. Research shows that supplementing curcumin is particularly helpful if you’re struggling with osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, depression, or anxiety. Did you know that turmeric is one of the ingredients in Tropeaka Lean Protein?
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)
It’s a big, weird word - but you’ve probably been consuming this powerful mesonutrient without realising. Green tea is basically the broccoli of beverages, but it gets its superpower from epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG.
EGCG is one of the plant phenols, or more specifically, a tannin. In addition to improving brain function, preventing cell damage and assisting with fat loss and cardiovascular health, EGCG has powerful cancer-preventing properties.
As it’s a much more potent way to consume tea leaves, Matcha powder offers one of the best ways to get a high dose of EGCG. Unlike green tea made from steeping and straining tea leaves, matcha powder is finely ground and uses the whole leaf.
This higher potency means matcha is the best option for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, enhancing mood and cognitive function, increasing energy, promoting weight loss, and keeping blood sugar levels in check.
Sound just like what you need? Stock up on Matcha Tea powder here.
Have those orange pasta sauce stains on your cookware got you seeing red? While it might be an effort to scrub them clean, trust us when we say it’s worth it!
Those stains from your tomato-rich sauce are caused by a plant pigment called lycopene, which also happens to be a mighty mesonutrient. Found in all the red foods like tomatoes, red capsicum and watermelon, lycopene has been found to help protect our skin from environmental damage, strengthen our bones, and even help prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. It’s also good for our eyes, heart and brain, and scientific studies reveal that lycopene can protect us from DNA damage.
It’s easy to get good doses of this mesonutrient if you love tomato in all its wonderful forms. In fact, nutritionists say that cooking tomatoes with olive oil, or consuming products like tomato paste or sauce actually makes the lycopene more absorbable! If the red foods aren’t your favourite, however, lycopene is also available as an effective supplement.
Surprise, surprise - the mesonutrient called safranal comes from the world’s most expensive spice, saffron.
It's worth the investment, though. Not only is safranal a known antidepressant and appetite suppressant, but it also can boost your libido! Safranal supplements are the best way to get a decent dose in one hit, but using saffron frequently in the kitchen will also have powerful effects in the long-term.
In traditional medicine, saffron has been used to treat ailments such as asthma, cramps, stress and congestions. The rise of the mesonutrient, however, has seen safranal supplementation providing therapeutic benefits for people with anxiety, PMS, diabetes, cancer, learning disabilities and neurodegenerative disorders.
Saffron isn’t just for making rice gorgeous and golden, by the way. Here are 9 sweet and savoury saffron recipes from around the world!
How to use mesonutrients for optimal health
Superfoods are an ideal way to get a potent dose of mesonutrients. Supplementing with superfoods allows us to tap right into the active compounds of our favourite superfoods to boost our health and wellness gains.
This form of supplementing is known as meso-dosing. Not to be confused with microdosing, meso-dosing brings another dimension to the world of plant medicine. We’re so lucky in 2019 because we can get highly concentrated doses of mesonutrients without having to eat superfoods all day, every day - and this is super news if you’re super busy!
Top tip for meso-dosers: Play the long game! Even in concentrated supplement form, nutrients don’t act like drugs. This means a little persistence and patience is required while we’re waiting to feel the powerful effects of these plant medicines.