Healthy Eating Glossary
- Tuesday, 01 July 2008
Biologic Value (BV)
Essential Amino Acids
Glycemic Index (GI):
Acidophilus: Acidophilus, also known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, is a protective bacteria that exists in the gastrointestinal tract (large intestine) and vagina. Acidophilus has been used in the treatment and/or prevention of vaginal yeast infections, yeast infections of the mouth, antibiotic-induced diarrhea, and urinary tract infections. Acidophilus can be purchased as a dietary supplement and is found in plain, organic yogurt (ensure the label reads 'live bacterial culture')
AGEs: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are created when proteins or fats react with certain sugars during high-temperature cooking. These compounds are absorbed into the body’s tissues and can cause damaging health effects.
Alkaline/Acidic:Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The 20 amino acids include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and valine. Nine amino acids are considered essential for humans: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, histidine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. These cannot be made by the body and must be ingested from food.
Amino Acid: Metabolic enzymes catalyze chemical reactions within the cells. Enzymes are obtained from eating raw foods and are sensitive to heat. All foods are digested leaving an ash as the result of the "burning" (or digestion). The food ash can be neutral, acid or alkaline, depending largely on the mineral composition of the foods. The natural ratio in a normal healthy body is approximately 4 to 1 - four parts alkaline to one part acid, or 80% to 20%. When such an ideal ratio is maintained, the body has a strong resistance against disease. When the alkaline-acid ratio drops to 3 to 1, health can be seriously compromised. Your body can function normally and sustain health only in the presence of adequate alkaline reserves and the proper acid-alkaline ratio in all the body tissues and the blood.
Biologic Value (BV): Biologic Value is an estimate of the nutritive value of proteins for tissue growth. It measures the proportion of protein absorbed from a food. The BV does not take into account a person’s unique capacity to digest and absorb protein. The BV of certain foods are:
Isolated Whey protein:
Capsaicin: Found in chilli peppers, this phyto-chemical is a cancer-fighter, digestive aid, and a powerful pain killer.
Carotenoids:Carotenes enhance immune response and protect skin cells against UV radiation. There are more than 600 naturally occurring carotenoids. These phyto-chemicals consist of bright yellow, orange and red plant pigments found in foods such as tomatoes, parsley, oranges, pink grapefruit, spinach, and egg yolks. Different carotenes help protect different tissues in the body. Therefore the best overall protective effect occurs when a large variety of carotenes are consumed
Candida: Candida is a yeast-like fungus that may thrive in the intestinal tract, mouth, skin and vagina. There are a wide variety of symptoms that may include yeast infections, fatigue, “brain fog”, and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates include foods composed of sugar, starches, and/or fiber. They include fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, and table sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common source of energy found in food and break down into glucose (the sugar in your blood that provides energy).
Cruciferous vegetables:Also called brassica vegetables, cruciferous vegetables include arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, and radish. This family of vegetables contain several cancer-fighting nutrients, including indole-3-carbinol, glucosinolates (including isothiocynates and sulforaphane), and crambene.
Digestive enzymes: Digestive enzymes occur naturally in the body and are produced in response to nutrients (food) entering the digestive system. Their purpose is to chemically digest, or break down, food eaten. Digestive enzymes are made by the small intestine or pancreas. They include protease, which breaks down proteins, amylase to break down carbohydrates, lipase for the breakdown of fats, and cellulase for fiber. Though not a digestive enzyme by definition, hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach digests protein and is often included in digestive supplements.
Diuretic: A substance that increases the discharge of urine.
Dysbiosis: A general term denoting an overgrowth of pathogens such as yeast, harmful bacteria, viruses or parasites in the intestines.
Enzymes are known as the "sparks of life" because they play an essential role in every biochemical activity of the body. There are two types: digestive and metabolic enzymes.
Digestive enzymes break down foods, and metabolic enzymes catalyze chemical reactions within cells. Enzymes are obtained from eating raw foods and are sensitive to heat. All foods are digested leaving an ash as the result of the "burning" (or digestion). The food ash can be neutral, acid or alkaline, depending largely on the mineral composition of the foods. The natural ratio in a normal healthy body is approximately 4 to 1 - four parts alkaline to one part acid, or 80% to 20%. When such an ideal ratio is maintained, the body has a strong resistance against disease. When the alkaline-acid ratio drops to 3 to 1, health can be seriously menaced. Your body can function normally and sustain health only in the presence of adequate alkaline reserves and the proper acid-alkaline ratio in all the body tissues and the blood.
Essential Amino Acids: An essential amino acid is an amino acid (protein) that cannot be synthesized by the human body, and therefore must be supplied in the diet. Nine amino acids are considered essential for humans: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Ellagic Acid:This phytochemical acts as a natural pesticide in 46 different fruits and nuts, including pomegranate, strawberries, raspberries, and walnuts. It defends against cancer in humans by inhibiting DNA mutations in cells.
Fat: Fats include oils, lipids, and dietary fats. They may be either solid (saturated fats) or liquid (unsaturated fats) at normal room temperature, depending on their structure and composition. Oils (unsaturated) refer to fats that are liquid at room temperature and derive from grains, nuts, or seeds. Fats (saturated fats) are solid at room temperature. Examples include lard, butter, margarine, and cream.
Flavonoids: Flavonoids are phyto-chemicals that enhance the effects of vitamin C. There are over 1,500 flavonoids, including flavones (found in chamomile), flavonols (found in grapefruit, buckwheat, and ginkgo), and flavanones (found in citrus and milk thistle). In humans, flavonoids help protect against allergies, inflammation, free radicals, platelet aggregation, microbes, cataracts, ulcers, viruses and tumours. Flavonoids also block the enzymes that produce estrogen which reduces the risk of estrogen-induced cancers.
Free Radicals:Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that cause cell oxidation which results in cell mutation and/or death.
Food Allergy: A food allergy is the body’s inappropriate response to a “normal” food. As a result, the immune system (which fights infection and disease) creates antibodies to fight the food allergen, the substance in the food that triggers the allergy. When a person comes in contact with that food (by touching or eating it) the body releases chemicals, including histamine, which trigger symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system. These symptoms might include a runny nose, an itchy skin rash, a tingling in the tongue, lips, or throat, swelling, or breathing problems. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, food allergies affect nearly 4 million people in the United States. Up to 6% of children under age 3 have food allergies.
Food Intolerance: Food intolerance doesn't involve the immune system and can be caused by a person's inability to digest certain substances, such as lactose. The reaction may be unpleasant but is rarely dangerous. Examples of food intolerance symptoms include burping, indigestion, flatulence, loose stools, headaches, flushing, or nervousness. A person with food intolerance can usually eat small amounts of the particular food without having any symptoms.
Gluten: Gluten is part of the elastic, rubbery protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. It binds the dough in baking and prevents crumbling. Gluten can be found in breads, cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits, crackers, battered foods, cereals, snack foods, pastas and pizza. Because gluten is also used as a thickener and filler it is found in soups, gravies, sauces, processed meats, pickles, sweets, instant pudding and chocolate. Excess gluten can damage the villi (the absorptive surface) of the small intestine leading to poor nutrient absorption.
Glycemic Index (GI): The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of the way your blood sugar responds two hours after a food is ingested in comparison to the way it responds two hours after an equivalent amount of pure glucose (sugar) is ingested. The glycemic index ranks foods high in carbohydrates. The standard value of 100 is based on the rise caused by the ingestion of glucose. Using the GI helps you keep your blood sugar levels under control. This is especially important for people with or at risk of diabetes, athletes and the overweight.
Glucosamine: Glucosamine is primarily used to treat osteo-arthritis. Glucosamine promotes cartilage health by stimulating the production of proteoglycans and collagen. It also normalizes cartilage metabolism helping the body repair damaged or eroded cartilage. Glucosamine also reduces joint and arthritis discomfort and soreness. There are three main forms of glucosamine: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetyl glucosamine. Research suggests that glucosamine is as effective as low doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen.
Glucosinolates: The glucosinolates are protective phyto-chemicals (secondary metabolites) that occur naturally in many plants of the brassica family (cruciferous vegetables). Approximately 120 different glucosinolates help the body eliminate carcinogens and give cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste.
Hypoglycemia: An abnormally low level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Symptoms often include fatigue, irritability, headaches, or feeling lightheaded a few hours after eating.
HCAs: Heterocyclic amines are formed by condensation of creatinine with amino acids during the cooking of meat. Cooking at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time increase the amount of HCAs produced. Grilling or frying of muscle meats produce more HCAs than boiling, steaming, poaching, and stewing.
Isoflavones: Isoflavones are phyto-chemicals found in beans and other legumes. Isoflavones effectively block enzymes that promote tumour growth. The best known isoflavones are genistein and daidzein which are found in soy products and the herb Pueraria lobata (Kudzu). People who consume traditional diets rich in soy foods rarely experience breast, uterine and prostate cancers.
Lignans: A type of soluble fiber and a phytochemical that have shown estrogenic and anticancer effects. They are found in plant foods, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. The best source of lignans are flaxseeds.
Lutein: Lutein is one of 600 carotenoids found in leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, romaine lettuce and leeks. Lutein protects the eyes against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.
Lycopene:This red pigment is a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent cancer of the prostate, lungs, and bladder in addition to other serious diseases including heart disease and macular degeneration. It is abundant in tomatoes and also found in guava, rosehip, watermelon and grapefruit. Lycopene in tomatoes is absorbed more efficiently by the body in the form of tomato sauce, paste, juice, or ketchup.
Minerals: Minerals are inorganic substances found in the earth and are needed for the proper composition of body fluids, formation of blood and bone, maintenance of healthy nerve function, and regulation of muscle tone. Macro-minerals, such as calcium, are needed in larger amounts while trace minerals are needed in tiny amounts.
Parboiled rice: Parboiled rice is rice that has been boiled in the husk. The 2,000 year old practice drives nutrients (especially the B vitamins) into the grain before the bran is removed raising its nutritional profile.
Peristalsis:Peristalsis is the automatic, rhythmic contraction of smooth muscles to move substances food through the digestive system. Peristalsis also moves urine from the kidneys to the bladder, and bile from the gallbladder to the duodenum (small intestine).
Phytochemicals: nutrients (not vitamins or minerals) that are derived from plants and have various protective effects on the body. Known as secondary metabolites, phytochemicals protect a plant from various assaults in its natural environment. Substances such as beta-carotene are phytochemicals. A tomato contains over 10,000 various phytochemicals.
Prebiotics: Prebiotics promote the growth of intestinal bacteria.
Probiotics: Probiotics are dietary supplements containing protective bacteria (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus) that help to balance the microflora within the intestines. Supplementing with probiotics is beneficial after the use of antibiotics.
Protein: Proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies that are necessary for the proper functioning of an organism. They are essential in the diet of animals for the growth and repair of tissue. Protein can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes.
Psyllium: (pronounced Sill-ee-um) is a soluble fiber that can be added to foods as a supplementary fiber source. Psyllium acts as a bulking agent for stool, creating larger, softer stool. It can be added to cereals, baked into muffins, mixed into yogurt, or taken in a large glass of water.
Sulforaphane: Sulforaphane is produced by the breakdown of glucosinolate glucoraphanin. It helps mobilize the human body's natural cancer-fighting resources and reduces the risk of developing cancer. Sulforaphane is primarily found in cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cauliflower sprouts, bok choy, kale, collards, arugula, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, red radish and watercress).
Stevia: Stevia, a member of the chrysanthemum family, is a safe, natural sweetener and sugar substitute. Its leaves are 10 to 15 times sweeter than white sugar. The extract is called Stevioside and is about 200 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar.
Transit Time: Transit time is the time it takes for any food to travel the entire length of your GI tract (from mouth to anus) and exit your body. To avoid constipation, healthy transit time should take no longer than 24 hours.
Tryptophan:Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in dietary protein an other foods, including oats, bananas, yogurt, cow’s milk, cottage cheese, eggs, chickpeas, and peanuts. Tryptophan is a component for serotonin (which can be converted to melatonin) and niacin.
Vegetarian: A vegetarian is a lifestyle choice made by a person who refrains from consuming flesh foods (meat, poultry, fish). The broadest definition of a vegetarian, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, may include dairy products and eggs. The strictest form of vegetarianism is vegan, defined as one who eats plant foods only and avoids all animal by-products.
Vitamins: Vitamins are needed by the body mainly for normal growth and tissue maintenance. Raw foods are rich in vitamins – particularly water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and the B vitamin family. These vitamins are easily destroyed by exposure to light, heat, water and air. Overcooked and processed foods contain very few vitamins.
Water-soluble: A water-soluble nutrient is a nutrient that dissolves in water. Vitamin C and Vitamin B are water soluble vitamins. Water-soluble nutrients cannot be stored in the body for long periods of time. Water-soluble vitamins travel through your body’s fluid systems. Any excess is removed via urine; therefore, water-soluble nutrients must be replaced daily.