Do you remember when you were little and your ma insisted you to stay off the chips and eat your veggies?
Don’t we all know this by now, that if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you? Eating healthy foods is the best gift we are giving to our body, that slogs 24/7 to keep us healthy, help us live longer, heal infections, and improve our well being.
The emphasis on vitamins and minerals (read micronutrients) for getting optimal nutrition was passed down from every grandmother to a mother.
I grew up in a home where eating a healthy home cooked meal, very lovingly prepared by my ma and sometimes my grandma was normal. We never ordered a meal from a restaurant, it was always home cooked even for large gatherings.
So along with the usual freshly prepared hot meals a lot of emphasis at home was given to consuming raw fruits and veggies. We ate fruits according to the season it was available in. For instance watermelons, melons, mangoes were all eaten during summer. They helped keep our body cool and gave us the necessary minerals to wade of a host of skin infections.
Today, however times are different.
Due to globalization, many fruits that are seasonal in nature are available throughout the year to be enjoyed whenever we want. For example, living in Delhi I have never eaten a water melon in winters. Everyone knows that it’s a summer fruit meant to cool down your body temperature. So imagine how will it affect my body, if I eat it in on a cold December day? Well I don’t even need to spell it out for you.
What I am getting at is this -It takes all kinds of nutrients to make up a diet. From micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids, to macro-nutrients like carbs, proteins and fats, all of these have been focused on by dietitians, doctors and health aficionados alike, and their virtues extolled. And now, just when you think you’ve finally got it down, yet another type of nutrient pops up claiming to be the answer to improved well being. Enter the mesonutrient.
So what exactly is a mesonutrient?
Today’s tech savvy population doesn’t stop at super foods. They want to dig deeper and unearth the ‘super’ in super foods. Hence, the mesonutrient. A mesonutrient refers to the active compounds or antioxidants within the foods that make them so stellar for our health.
But, you know something?
You probably are already having some of the foods rich with mesonutrient and don’t even know about it.
Here’s one mesonutrient you’ve likely heard of! Turmeric has over 200 active compounds, and the key compound to watch out for is curcumin, which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Ask any Indian chef or mother and they will swear by Turmeric or ‘Haldi’ as we know it. We have been using it in most of our dals , curries, and so many other dishes. Why our ‘haldi ka doodh’ or turmeric milk, fed by our moms to heal our aches and pains is legendary, and something the rest of the world has just woken up to. YEAH, I am talking about the celebrated ‘Turmeric Latte’ which the westerners are going gaga over!
Found in red foods like tomato and watermelon, lycopene has been found to help protect the skin from environmental damage, strengthen the bones and prevent against prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.
Short for epigallocatechin gallate, ECGC is one of a group of plant phenols (also known as tannins) found in green tea that has been found to have the most powerful cancer-preventing benefits.
This antioxidant is found in naturally purple foods or often referred to as the nightshade foods, like in blackcurrants, blackberries and blueberries and purple sweet potatoes, as well as some red foods like cherries, pomegranates and cranberries. They have been linked to a wide variety of health claims, including cardiovascular health, increased longevity, cancer prevention and dementia.
This mesonutrient is a little harder to come by, as they’re found in foods like golden seal and barberries. “What are those?” you may be wondering—Berberine is found in the roots and stem bark of many plants. This is one mesonutrient that may be worth seeking out in supplement form, as they’re thought to balance blood pressure and have remarkable anti-inflammatory properties.
Yep, you guessed it—this one is derived from the spice, saffron! It’s known for its antidepressant, appetite suppressing and libido-boosting benefits.
So what should you include in your diet on a daily basis
To refresh it up, you can use a pinch of turmeric in your curries or in your warm milk. You can also consume two cups of green tea every day. Include dark green veggies such as spinach, kale and Berries like blueberries and blackberries which are rich in anthocyanins, in your salads and smoothies.
And most importantly, do try to stay away from packaged, processed, junk foods or limit its consumption if you really have no choice. Go for natural organic foods rather than ones made in a factory.
Food fads come and go. All I know is that your health is a sum total of what you eat. Go ahead and increase your dose of mesonutrients and fuel up your gut instincts.
Say yes to health !!