Acidophilus: a bacterium that is used to make yogurt and to supplement the intestinal flora. A general name for a group of probiotics, it aids in digestion and fights harmful bacteria.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid: a member of the essential fatty acids group known for prevention of heart disease and its bone-strengthening properties.
Amino Acid: molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and one of the twenty R-groups. They are critical to life, and have a variety of roles in metabolism. One particularly important function is as the building blocks of proteins.
Anemia: a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness.
Ascorbic acid: see vitamin C.
Astringent: causing the contraction of body tissues, typically of the skin.
Bacterium (Bacteria, Bacterial): a member of a large group of unicellular microorganisms that have cell walls but lack organelles and an organized nucleus, including some that can cause disease. The human body uses certain types of "good" bacteria, such as lactobacillus and acidopholus, to fight harmful bacteria.
Beriberi: a disease causing inflammation of the nerves and heart failure, caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1.
Blood Sugar: the concentration of glucose in the blood. If blood sugar levels drop too low, a potentially fatal condition called hypoglycemia develops. Long-term hyperglycemia, blood sugar staying too high, causes many of the long-term health problems associated with diabetes, including eye, kidney, and nerve damage.
Caffeic Acid: a naturally occurring organic compound shown to act as a carcinogenic inhibitor. It is also known for its antioxidant properties. It is unrelated to caffeine.
Calcium: an important dietary mineral for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Additionally, calcium is critical in other body functions such as exocytosis and normal heart function. The human body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium.
Catarhh: a thick build-up of mucus and white blood cells caused by the swelling of the mucous membranes in the head in response to an infection. It is a symptom usually associated with the common cold and chesty coughs, but can also be found in patients with infections of the adenoids, middle ear, sinus or tonsils.
Catechin: a chrystalline compound extensively researched and shown to have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties. It has also been proven effective against the "big 4" human health issues: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes.
Carcinogenic: having the potential to cause cancer.
Celiac Disease: an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy on up. Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue.
Chelation: the formation or presence of bonds (or other attractive interactions) between two or more separate binding sites within the same ligand and a single central atom.
Colesterol: a lipidic, waxy steroid found in the cell membranes and transported in the blood plasma of all animals. It is an essential component of mammalian cell membranes where it is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity.
Cyanocobalamin: see vitamin B12.
Cystine: an easily oxidized amino acid that acts as an antioxidant and an important source of sulfide. It is known to neutralize certain levels of insulin. This is helpful to someone who is succeptable to hypoglycemic attacks. Conversely, diabetics should avoid cystine.
Diabetes: a condition in which the body either does not produce enough, or does not properly respond to, insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.
Fermentation: the conversion of carbohydrates into alcohols or acids under anaerobic conditions used for making certain foods. One of the uses for fermentation is the biological enrichment of food substrates with protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins.
Fiber (Dietary Fiber): the indigestible portion of plant foods that pushes food through the digestive system, absorbing water and easing defecation. The consumption of soluble fiber has been shown to protect you from developing heart disease by reducing your cholesterol levels. The consumption of insoluble fiber reduces your risk of developing constipation, colitis, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids.
Flavonoid: See polyphenol
Folic Acid: see vitamin M.
Free Radical: an uncharged molecule (typically highly reactive and short-lived) having an unpaired valence electron. The free-radical theory of aging (FRTA) states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time.
Gallstone: a small, hard crystalline mass formed abnormally in the gallbladder or bile ducts from bile pigments, cholesterol, and calcium salts. Gallstones can cause severe pain and blockage of the bile duct.
Gluten: a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.
HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: one of the five major groups of lipoproteins which enable lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides to be transported within the water based blood stream. HDL can remove cholesterol from atheroma within arteries and transport it back to the liver for excretion or re-utilization. This is the main reason why HDL-bound cholesterol is sometimes called "good cholesterol." See LDL cholesterol.
Intestinal Flora: the symbiotic bacteria occurring naturally in the intestine.
Jaundice: a medical condition with yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, arising from excess of the pigment bilirubin and typically caused by obstruction of the bile duct, by liver disease, or by excessive breakdown of red blood cells.
Lactobacillus: a rod-shaped bacterium that produces lactic acid from the fermentation of carbohydrates.
LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: a type of lipoprotein that transports cholesterol and triglycerides from the liver to peripheral tissues. Since high levels of LDL cholesterol can signal medical problems like cardiovascular disease, it is sometimes called "bad cholesterol." See HDL cholesterol.
Legume: of, relating to, or denoting plants of the pea family (Leguminosae). They have seeds in pods, distinctive flowers, and typically root nodules containing symbiotic bacteria able to fix nitrogen.
Lycopene: a red carotenoid pigment present in tomatoes and many berries and fruits. Preliminary research has shown an inverse correlation between consumption of tomatoes and cancer risk, therefore lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer.
Monounsaturated Fats: fatty acids that have a single double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded. Foods containing monounsaturated fats lower Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while possibly raising High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Niacin: see vitamin B3.
Nicotinic Acid: see vitamin B3.
Osteoporosis: a bone disease that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture is disrupted, and the amount and variety of non-collagenous proteins in bone is altered.
Pernicious anemia: a deficiency in the production of red blood cells through a lack of vitamin B12.
Polyphenol: group of chemical substances found in plants once briefly known as Vitamin P. The possible health benefits of specific polyphenols such as Quercetin are well-established indicative of antioxidant characteristics. They may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Potassium: an essential mineral important to body functions such as neural processes, muscle contraction, and maintaining electrolyte balance.
Probiotics: substances that stimulate growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties (such as those of the intestinal flora).
Protein: organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain broken down in the stomach during digestion by enzymes to provide amino acids for the body, including the essential amino acids that the body cannot biosynthesize itself.
Pyridoxine: see vitamin B6.
Riboflavin: see vitamin B2.
Rickets: a disease of children caused by vitamin D deficiency, characterized by imperfect calcification, softening, and distortion of the bones typically resulting in bow legs.
Scurvy: a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds.
Tannin: astringent, bitter plant polyphenols that either bind and precipitate or shrink proteins. The astringency from the tannins is what causes the dry and puckery feeling in the mouth following the consumption of unripened fruit or red wine.
Thiamine: see vitamin B1.
Tocopherol: see vitamin E.
Triglyceride: an ester formed from glycerol and three fatty acid groups. Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils, and high concentrations in the blood indicate an elevated risk of stroke.
Tryptophan: an amino acid that is a constituent of most proteins and an essential nutrient in the diet of vertebrates.
Viral: of the nature of, caused by, or relating to a virus.
Virus: an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host
Vitamin B: any of a group of substances (the vitamin B complex) that are essential for the working of certain enzymes in the body and, although not chemically related, are generally found together in the same foods. They include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).
Vitamin B1: a vitamin of the B complex, found in unrefined grains, beans, and liver, a deficiency of which causes beriberi. It is a sulfur-containing derivative of thiazole and pyrimidine. Also known as thiamine.
Vitamin B2: a yellow vitamin of the B complex that is essential for metabolic energy production. It is present in many foods, especially milk, liver, eggs, and green vegetables, and is also synthesized by the intestinal flora. Also known as riboflavin.
Vitamin B12: a vitamin found in foods of animal origin such as liver, fish, and eggs, a deficiency of which can cause pernicious anemia. Also known as cyanocobalamin.
Vitamin C: also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a vitamin found particularly in citrus fruits and green vegetables. It is essential in maintaining healthy connective tissue, and is also thought to act as an antioxidant. Severe deficiency causes scurvy.