Mesonutrients are the power source of the superfoods.
By Julie Alvira, MD, MBA
Trendy! We have heard about macros (big) and micronutrients (small) but now there are mesonutrients (in the inside or middle). Correction, the word might be new but mesonutrients have always been here. These are the middle players in the super foods with a specific benefit. They are the power source of the superfoods.
Hype surrounds “superfoods.” The trendy name has been marketed successfully, resulting in booming sales. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, certain food is coined as a superfood when it is rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health. These superfoods can prevent diseases because they are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and good fatty acids.
“Focus on a super plate, not just superfoods.”––Harvard School of Public Health
Remember that in order to have a healthy daily plan, it is important to practice variety and not just eat this or that food all the time and forget about the others just because some are considered superfoods. The idea is to practice balance.
- Curcumin: a powerhouse with anti-inflammatory properties found in turmeric. It is said that consuming this, combined with piperine, enhances the absorption of curcumin. Some individuals might experience indigestion, diarrhea or nausea. It may help improve symptoms of arthritis and depression.
- Lycopene: a carotenoid and the pigment found in red and pink colored fruits and veggies. Tomatoes provide around 80% of lycopene. Research had shown that it protects the skin. When cooking tomatoes, the heat activates a usable form of lycopenes, but it can destroy other important vitamins such as vitamin C and E.
Note: The common carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin are provitamin A carotenoids which can be converted to retinol. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene are NON provitamin A carotenoids and cannot convert to retinol (Oregon State University, 2016). Carotenoids found in the retina are lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Anthocyanins: energy boosting compounds found in plant foods. They occur in plants in the form of glycosides. While they are abundant in blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, red and purple grapes, red wine, and eggplants, you can also find them in black plums and red cabbage. Research had shown it lowers the risk of death from cardiovascular disease due to reduction in arterial stiffness and blood pressure. Anthocyanins had been linked to memory enhancement and age-related decline of mental functioning.
- Epigallocathecin gallate (EGCG): a catechin found in several teas including green tea, oolong, and white tea. Green tea is the major source and has several flavonoids including EGCG but this last one is the most significant. From most green tea brands, the one with the highest amount of EGCG is Teavana Green Tea Gyokuro with 86 mg. Research has shown protective benefits against cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
- Berberine: an alkaloid compound that can be extracted from plants including shrubs called Berberis. It is said to help with blood sugar levels and prevention of metabolic syndrome. It has been used in Chinese medicine for years.
- Saffronal: not a lot is known about this one but it comes from the famous spice saffron. Research has shown it can help with depression and libido.
While companies are marketing mesonutrients amounts for optimal levels and high strength doses, always make sure to consult your healthcare provider first.
Julie Alvira, MD, MBA, is a Certified Life Coach for men and women but has a passion for women’s recoveries from addictions. Creator of Your Recovery Gal program for women, she is a Nationally Certified Addictions Professional and offers bilingual virtual or in-office sessions. Reach her at www.coachdrjulie.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.