We’ve all heard of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), but have you heard of mesonutrients?
We sure haven’t! Don’t worry, this is a relatively new term but we came across this term recently and we were really keen to understand what it is and what types of food contain this nutrient.
But first, let’s quickly go through the two most commonly talked about nutrients: macro and micro.
What are Macronutrients?
These are nutrients you need in large quantities and supplies you with energy. The three types (macros) are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. If you watch a lot of Youtube Fitness Influencers, you often hear the term IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). This is essentially a type of “diet”, which you count how much protein, fats, and carbs you consume and follow a certain ratio to achieve a certain goal. Each of these macronutrients supply your body with a certain amount of energy measured in calories - kcals or kilojoules - kj.
- Protein: 4 calories per 1g
- Carb: 4 calories per 1g
- Fat: 9 calories per 1g
A standard diet ratio range would be about:
- Protein: 10-35% of calories
- Carbs: 45-65% of calories
- Fat: 20-35% of calories
Each macro serves as its own function in the body and depending on what you want to achieve, you can adjust the ratio to suit your lifestyle.
What are Micronutrients?
These are the nutrients you need in tiny quantities that your body uses to carry out its daily functions. Basically, macronutrients supply you with energy while the micronutrients help your body break down the macros so you can actually USE that energy.
Micronutrients can be divided into four groups:
- Water-Soluble Vitamins (Play an important role in producing energy)
- B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins (Best absorbed when consumed together with fat)
- A, D, E K
- Macrominerals (They all have different functions for a healthy body)
- Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Sulfur
- Trace Minerals (Enables important functions in the body)
- Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Iodine, Fluoride, Selenium
As you can see, micronutrients all play different roles in the body and there’s a daily recommended intake for each type. The micronutrient content of each food also varies. That’s why people always say your plate should always look like a rainbow! The more types of food you eat, the fuller your nutrient profile will be for our body to absorb!
Macronutrients vs Micronutrients
Now that we generally understand these two groups of nutrients, let’s talk about this new exciting concept of Mesonutrients!
So What are Mesonutrients?
Claimed as the new health trend of 2019, mesonutrients focuses on the active compounds within superfoods. In other words, this is what makes superfoods so super for your body! Superfoods are foods that are very nutrient dense and contain antioxidants to help prevent many diseases. Because of their numerous health benefits, people try to incorporate as much superfoods as they can into their diets.
The Best Superfoods according to Harvard Medical School includes:
- Wild Fish
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Olive Oil
- Whole Grains
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Matcha/Green Tea
Other common known superfoods include: Sauerkraut, Flax, Chia, Acai, Turmeric, Hemp, Maca, etc.
Different superfoods have different mesonutrient profiles and supplement companies have now capitalized on this new term and started providing mesonutrients in pill and powder form.
Photo: Swanson Vitamins
The Most Commonly Mesonutrients Discussed So Far Are:
- Known in its spice form - saffron which is an orange spice used a lot in Indian cuisine
- Promotes mental health, boosts heart and digestive health, prevents hair loss, and helps minimize PMS symptoms
- The active ingredient in turmeric that provides the anti-inflammatory benefits. Your body best absorbs the mesonutrient in Turmeric when consumed with freshly ground black pepper.
- Found in red foods like tomato and watermelon
- Strengthens bones, protects the skin from environmental damage, and prevents against cancers such as lung, stomach, and prostate
- Found in purple foods like blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, and purple sweet potatoes
- Also found in red foods like cherries, pomegranates, and cranberries
- Improves cardiovascular health, prevents cancer and dementia
- More difficult to find but they are in foods like goldenseal and barberries
- Helps to balance blood pressure and also have amazing anti-inflammatory properties
- It will probably be better to get in supplement form because it’s difficult to get in foods
So now that we have a better understanding of this nutrient subcategory, if you want to get more mesonutrients in your diet, we have a wide variety of superfoods at our store!
Want some ideas? Check out this list!