May 18, 2022

Food Hyme

A Food Blog with Bunch of Recipes and Tips

Important Terms Related to Food and Nutrition

17 min read
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Food and nutrition are the way that we get fuel, providing energy for our bodies. We need to replace nutrients in our bodies with a new supply every day. Water is an important component of nutrition.

Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are all required. Maintaining key vitamins and minerals are also important to maintaining good health.

Below is the list of few terms related to food and nutrition are:

amino acids

The building blocks of all proteins, amino acids make up a large proportion of cells, muscles and tissue, carrying out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure. Also play a key role in the transport and storage of nutrients. Essential amino acids need to be gained through diet rather than formed by the body itself.

anaemia

Develops when the blood does not contain enough healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin, important for carrying oxygen around the body. There are many types and causes, including iron deficiency. Symptoms include lethargy, shortness of breath, pale complexion and dry nails.

cell signalling

The communication of cells by sending and receiving chemical signals, which allow the cells in your body to coordinate their activities, such as development, tissue repair and immunity. Errors in signalling contribute to diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity and diabetes.

disaccharides

‘Double sugar’ made of two molecules of simple sugars linked to each other. Include sucrose, maltose and lactose.

eicosanoids

Compounds responsible for many of the beneficial effects of good fats; however, some are potentially harmful if excessive amounts build up in the body.

fatty acids

The building blocks of fat in the body and in food. During digestion, the body breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the blood. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) must be ingested because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. Those not essential are non-essential fatty acids.

folate

Also known as vitamin B9. Folate in the form of folic acid is advised for pregnant women (to prevent neural tube defects in the developing foetus) and to prevent a type of anaemia. Essential for DNA synthesis and metabolizing amino acids, it is a dietary requirement – an essential vitamin.

free radicals

Cells consist of molecules; molecules consist of atoms joined by chemical bonds. When a bond breaks, a free radical is formed, which can set off a degenerative process that damages the cell. Free radicals can be formed during metabolism, by the immune system as a response to illness, by the ageing process, or due to environmental factors such as pollution.

glycaemic index (GI)

Rating system for foods containing carbohydrates, showing how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when consumed on its own. Carbohydrate-rich foods, including sugary foods and drinks, white bread and potatoes, have a high GI rating. Low GI foods include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods. Low GI foods are generally considered more healthy than high GI foods, although foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy.

macronutrients

Three main components of the diet: fat, protein and carbohydrate. All have their own specific functions in the body, and all supply calories or energy. Required in relatively large amounts to grow, develop and thrive.

osteomalacia

Rickets in adults; a softening of the bones caused by a lack of vitamin D or calcium. Symptoms include bone pain, difficulty in walking, easy fracturing of bones and a compressed vertebrae.

peptide bonds

Covalent bond formed between two amino acids. Living organisms use bonds to form long chains of amino acids, known as proteins.

polysaccharides

Carbohydrate (for example starch, cellulose and glycogen) whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together. Serve as short-term energy stores.

simple sugars

Called ‘monosaccharides’; made up of single sugar molecules. Include glucose and fructose. Present in natural and processed foods.

thiamin (vitamin B1)

Water-soluble vitamin
that enables the body to use carbohydrates as energy. Essential for glucose metabolism; plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function.

total energy expenditure (TEE)

Depends on the rate at which the body expends energy at rest (basal metabolic rate – BMR) and our physical activity level (PAL), and this is expressed by the relationship: TEE = PAL x BMR.

triaclyglycerol (TAG)

The major dietary fat, made of a glycerol backbone and three fatty acids (of which there are many different types), with the main division being between saturated and unsaturated types.

amines

Derivatives of ammonia; released by the breakdown of amino acids. Many neurotransmitters are amines, including dopamine, serotonin and histamine. Can be found in cheese, wine and chocolate.

APOE gene

Provides instructions for making a protein called apolipoprotein E. APOE genotyping is sometimes used
to help in the diagnosis of late-onset Alzheimer disease.

dextrin

Common food additive, used as a thickening and preservative agent. Produced by heating any starch in the presence of either water or a dilute hydrochloric acid. Not all forms are digestible; indigestible dextrin is sometimes used in fibre supplements.

enzymes

Protein molecules in cells which work as catalysts, speeding up chemical reactions in the body. Essential to life.

epidemiology

The study of how often diseases occur in different populations and why.

fatty acids

The building blocks of fat in the body and in food. During digestion, the body breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the blood. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) must be ingested because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. Those not essential are non-essential fatty acids.

Human Genome Project

International research collaboration, from 1990 to 2003, to map and understand the genes of human beings.

lipids

Another word for ‘fats’. Contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Along with carbohydrates and proteins, lipids are the main constituents of cells and are easily stored in the body and used as a source of fuel.

maltose

Also known as malt sugar. Made out of two glucose molecules bound together, it’s created in seeds and other parts of plants. Cereals, certain fruits and sweet potatoes contain high amounts.

metabolites

Products of metabolism; substances essential to the metabolism of a particular organism or to a particular metabolic process.

microbiome

Gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans that live in our digestive pipes. Many of these organisms are vital – breaking down food and toxins, making vitamins and training our immune systems. Currently subject to significant research.

nucleic acids

Essential to all known forms of life, nucleic acids are the main information-carrying molecules of a cell and determine the inherited characteristics of every living thing. The two main classes deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

nutrigenetics

The science of how nutritional components in our diet interact with variations in our genes.

obesity

Significantly overweight, with excess body fat; commonly measured using body mass index (BMI). Generally caused when more calories are consumed than burned. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat. Can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and depression.

polymorphisms

Discontinuous genetic variation of a gene that may result in different characteristics or disease risk among the members of a single species.

polyphenols

Abundant substances found in fruits, vegetables and nuts; evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging.

prebiotic

Substrate that beneficially affects the host by targeting indigenous gut bacteria thought to be positive. Currently, main prebiotic targets are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

allergy

Damaging immune response by the body to a substance, such as a food, to which it has become hypersensitive. amino acids The building blocks of all proteins, amino acids make up a large proportion of cells, muscles and tissue, carrying out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure. Also play a key role in the transport and storage of nutrients. Essential amino acids need to be gained through diet rather than formed by the body itself.

bioactive compounds

Extranutritional constituents that typically occur in small quantities in foods. Usually linked with positive effects, and include carotenoids, antioxidants and flavonoids.

bioavailability

Extent to which nutrients are digested and absorbed.

cholesterol

An animal sterol often classified with dietary fats vital for normal functioning of the body. Mainly made by the liver, but can also be found in some foods. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ because too much of it is unhealthy. High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is often referred to as ‘good cholesterol’ because it is protective. Dietary cholesterol in an egg is not the same as the LDL-C that circulates in blood and blocks arteries, and it is erroneous to believe that dietary cholesterol simply becomes LDL-C once it has been consumed.

coeliac disease

Autoimmune disorder from eating gluten, which damages the small intestine. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.

epidemiology

The study of how often diseases occur in different populations and why.

insulin

Hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use or store glucose from carbohydrates in food for energy. Maintains correct blood sugar level. When cells react abnormally to insulin, this is known as insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

gluten

Mixture of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

lactase

Enzyme produced by many organisms, located in the small intestine. Essential to the digestion of milk and dairy foods, as it breaks down lactose.

lactose

Type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products.

lipid profile

Blood tests that measure levels of lipids (fats and fatty substances, or cholesterols) in the bloodstream. Used as part of a cardiac risk assessment.

mercury

Metal found in the environment. Eating a high quantity of foods contaminated with mercury can affect the nervous system and a developing foetus.

micronutrients

Vitamins and minerals; required in trace amounts for the healthy functioning of the body.

omega-3

Fatty acids found in fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardine and mackerel. Important for visual and cognitive development and for heart, cognitive and inflammatory health.

polychlorinated biphenyls

Manmade industrial chemicals that can be released into the environment through waste and absorbed through the food chain.

probiotic bacteria

Live bacteria promoted as having various health benefits, especially for the gut and relating to digestion. Added to yoghurt or taken as supplements.

salmonella

Bacteria in contaminated food that causes food poisoning. Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.

scurvy

Severe vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, severe joint or leg pain, bleeding gums, red or blue spots on the skin, easy bruising.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Agency of the United Nations tasked with building a better, healthier future for people all over the world.

adolescence

Mental and cultural transition from childhood to adulthood; overlaps with puberty.

anaemia

Develops when the blood does not contain enough healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin, important for carrying oxygen around the body. There are many types and causes, including iron deficiency. Symptoms include lethargy, shortness of breath, pale complexion and dry nails.

bariatric surgery

Weight-loss surgery, which might be recommended for very obese people (BMI of over 35). Could include placement of a gastric band around the stomach, a gastric bypass to join the top part of the stomach to the small intestine, or a sleeve gastrectomy, in which some of the stomach is removed.

bifidobacteria

Major type of bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. Some bifidobacteria are used as probiotics. Found in foods such as live-culture yoghurt.

dementia

Syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. Can affect memory, thinking speed, language, understanding, judgement, mood and movement.

folate

Also known as vitamin B9. Folate in the form of folic acid is advised for pregnant women (to prevent neural tube defects in the developing foetus) and to prevent a type of anaemia. Essential for DNA synthesis and metabolizing amino acids, it is an essential vitamin.

lactation

Secretion of milk from the mammary glands; when a mother feeds her baby. Suckling by the baby to the mother’s breast stimulates the supply of milk, which provides essential nutrients and an array of bioactive substances absorbed by the infant for brain, immune and gut development.

malnutrition

When a person doesn’t eat enough, through illness, or when there is insufficient amounts or quality of food, resulting in insufficient essential nutrients. The consequence is reduced growth or weight loss. Symptoms can include a lack of interest in eating and drinking, chronic fatigue, feeling weak and a diminished immune system.

menopause

When women stop menstruating and being able to conceive. Occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen and progesterone levels decline, and typically lasts for four years. Symptoms include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, trouble sleeping and mood changes.

micronutrients

Vitamins and minerals; required in trace amounts for the healthy functioning of the body.

obesity

Significantly overweight, with excess body fat; commonly measured using BMI (body mass index). Generally caused when more calories – particularly those in fatty and sugary foods – are consumed than burned (through physical activity). The excess energy is stored by the body as fat. Can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and depression.

oestrogen

Primary female sex hormone. Secreted by the ovaries, it plays a key role in puberty, the menstrual cycle and sex drive, and even in cognition, mental health and binge eating. Declines after menopause.

osteoporosis

Bone-weakening condition that develops over several years until a fall or impact can cause a bone fracture. Postmenopausal women are at risk. A healthy diet (including foods rich in calcium and vitamin D), regular exercise and reducing alcohol consumption can help prevent the condition.

pathogens

Micro-organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, that cause disease. Bacteria release toxins, and viruses damage cells. White blood cells can ingest and destroy pathogens, which can be consumed through contaminated food or drinks, resulting in flu-like symptoms and nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or fever.

progesterone

Female sex hormones produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Plays an important role in sustaining pregnancy and regulating the menstrual cycle. High levels are thought to be responsible for symptoms of PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome).

puberty

Physical changes that mature a child’s body into an adult’s body capable of sexual reproduction. The brain sends hormonal signals to the gonads – ovaries in girls, testes in boys. The average age for girls to start this process is 11; for boys it’s 12, and it typically takes four years. See also Adolescence.

sarcopenia

Disease associated with the ageing process. Loss of muscle mass and strength affects balance, gait and ability to perform daily tasks.

type 2 diabetes

Llifelong condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high, as a result of the insufficient production of insulin or the insulin being ineffective.

acetaldehyde

Toxic waste product of alcohol that is a contributing cause of a hangover following alcohol consumption.

anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock)

Severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction (see food allergies).

blood cholesterol

Amount of cholesterol transported in the blood by different lipoproteins. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is known as ‘bad cholesterol’ because it can contribute to the blockage of arteries.

cardiovascular epidemiology

The study of how often diseases of the cardiovascular system occur in populations and why.

coeliac disease

Specialized food allergy involving an immune response to gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye). The body’s response damages the small intestine, causing gastrointestinal symptoms and malabsorption of nutrients.

congeners

Substances other than ethanol produced during fermentation. Responsible for some of the taste, aroma and colour of alcoholic drinks. Associated with contributing to hangovers; the greatest amounts of these toxins are found in red wine and dark liquors.

coronary heart disease (CHD)

When the heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. Symptoms include angina and heart attack.

coronary thrombosis

Formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel of the heart, which restricts blood flow. One of the causes of a heart attack.

ethanol

The bulk of ethanol in the body is broken down in the liver by an enzyme called ‘alcohol dehydrogenase’.

food allergies

Involve an immune response to food and can be severe (anaphylaxis) and sometimes fatal. Common foods causing allergy include cows’ milk, hens’ eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, breathing problems, faintness and loss of consciousness.

food intolerances

Disorders of digestion; an inability to break down or take up the food in the normal way. Occur as a response to common foods and are not life-threatening.

fructose

Fruit sugar; a simple sugar naturally occurring in fruit, honey, sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. Very sweet.

glucose

A simple one-unit sugar, which is an important source of energy used by the body. ‘Blood sugar’ refers to the amount of glucose in the blood.

hypertensive

Having high blood pressure; rarely has noticeable symptoms. If untreated, it increases risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

lactose

Sugar found in milk. Broken down into two parts by an enzyme called ‘lactase’.

maltose

Made out of two glucose molecules bound together, it’s created in seeds and other parts of plants. Cereals, certain fruits and sweet potatoes contain high amounts.

monounsaturated fat

Dietary fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain consists of one carbon–carbon double bond. Often referred to as ‘good fats’, along with polyunsaturated fats, because when substituted for dietary saturated fats they can help lower LDL-cholesterol. Found in avocados, olives, rapeseed oil and some nuts.

normotensive

Having normal blood pressure.

phenylketonuria

Results from the inability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine (found in many dietary protein sources).

polyphenols

Abundant micronutrients found in fruits, vegetables and nuts; evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging.

polyunsaturated fat

Dietary fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain consists of two or more carbon-carbon double bonds. Referred to as ‘good fats’ because they can help lower LDL-cholesterol. Found in nuts, seeds and oily fish.

saturated fat

Dietary fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain consists of single carbon–carbon bonds. Referred to as ‘bad fats’ as high intakes are linked to raised LDL-cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

sodium nitrite

Common additive to red meat, due to: inhibiting growth of disease-causing micro-organisms; providing taste and colour; and helping to prevent rancidity.

starch

Most abundant carbohydrate in the human diet. Starchy foods include bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, cereals, oats and other grains like rye and barley.

sucrose

Most common dietary disaccharide, containing one glucose and one fructose sugar molecule. From sugar cane or beet.

alpha-linolenic acid

Essential fatty acid found in nuts and seeds; ; a metabolic precursor of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

amines

Derivatives of ammonia; released by the breakdown of amino acids. Many neurotransmitters are amines, including dopamine, serotonin and histamine. Can be found in cheese, wine and chocolate.

atherosclerosis

Build-up of material, including cholesterol, inside arteries; causes narrowing of the arteries, which, when blocked by a blood clot (thrombus), causes heart attacks and strokes.

bifidobacteria

Major type of bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. Some are used as probiotics. Found in foods such as live-culture yoghurt.

dementia

Syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. Affects memory, thinking speed, language, understanding, judgement, mood and movement. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause.

fatty acids (FAs)

The building blocks of fat in the body and in food. During digestion, the body breaks down fats into FAs, which can then be absorbed into the blood.

flavonoids

Common chemical compounds that are present in many plant-based foods and drinks, such as blueberries, tea, citrus fruits, wine, onions and chocolate.

glucosinolates

Main phytochemical found in cruciferous crops. Epidemiological and experimental data suggests they may act as anti-carcinogenic agents.

hypertension

High blood pressure; rarely has noticeable symptoms. If untreated, it increases risk of heart attacks and strokes. Can be decreased by reducing salt, cutting back on alcohol, losing weight and exercising.

isoflavones

Class of flavonoids, which are produced only by members of the bean family of plants (Fabaceae).

isothiocyanates

Produced by Brassicales plants to defend against pests and diseases. When these plants are eaten, an enzyme converts glucosinolate molecules in the plant tissues into isothiocyanates, creating distinctive aromas and flavours. May be effective against types of cancer.

lactobacilli

‘Friendly’ bacteria that live in the digestive, urinary and genital systems without causing disease; associated with beneficial health effects. Also found in some fermented foods like yoghurt and in dietary supplements.

microbiota

Billions of bacteria living in the large intestine. The bacteria live in a symbiotic relationship with their human hosts, influencing a wide range of bodily processes – positively and negatively.

neurodegenerative

Range of conditions which primarily affect the neurons in the human brain. Diseases include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

nitric oxide

Gas naturally produced in the body; used to communicate between cells; cardio-protective.

osteoporosis

Bone-weakening condition that develops over years until a fall or impact causes a bone fracture. Postmenopausal women are at risk.

polyphenols

Abundant substances found in fruits, vegetables and nuts; evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. Flavonoids and isoflavones belong to this compound class.

polyunsaturated fats

Dietary fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain consists of two or more carbon-carbon double bonds. Referred to as ‘good fats’ because they can help lower LDL-cholesterol.

prebiotics

Indigestible components of food that are able to reach the large intestine, to feed beneficial bacteria and promote its growth and function.

probiotics

Micro-organisms claimed to provide health benefits (especially gut-related) when consumed. Added to yoghurts or taken as supplements; ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria.

rickets

Children’s skeletal disorder leading to softening of the bones; caused by a lack of vitamin D or calcium.

sulforaphane

Isothiocyanate found in broccoli and rocket; may be associated with lower risk of prostrate cancer.

type 1 diabetes

Failure of the pancreas to produce insulin, which results in glucose remaining in the blood rather than being taken up by cells and used as fuel for energy.

additives

Components added intentionally to a food to affect its characteristic, by improving look or appeal.

ascorbic acid

Micronutrient, also known as vitamin C, that also acts as a preservative, antioxidant or colour stabilizer in foods.

beta-lactoglobulin

Specific protein in the whey component in milk that can initiate an allergy in some susceptible individuals.

bioavailability

Extent to which nutrients are digested and absorbed.

endosperm

Food reserve tissue inside the seeds of most flowering plants that surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch. May also contain oils and protein.

enrichment

Process that can reintroduce nutrients to refined foods, to improve the nutritional quality.

ethical omnivorism

Philosophy and diet that makes it essential only to consume foods that come from animals that are grass fed and free range; similarly, only wild fish caught ethically or sustainably farmed fish can be consumed.

gene

Basic physical and functional unit of heredity, a specific region of DNA that codes for RNA, which make proteins.

genetic modification or engineering

Genetically modified (GM) organisms are those whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that doesn’t occur naturally through reproduction. Scientists introduce a new gene from a different organism, even one unrelated to the modified species. Has seen the rise of commercialized genetically modified crops and livestock.

iodine

Essential micronutrient in the diet, involved in the production of thyroid hormone. Present naturally in soil and seawater; found in dairy products and seafood. Symptoms of deficiency are related to the thyroid.

lycopene

Naturally occurring carotenoid that is responsible for the red/pink colours seen in tomatoes, pink grapefruit and other foods.

nitrate

Occurs in vegetables, grains and drinking water; produced for use as fertilizers in agriculture. Scientific reviews have reported that organic food crops can contain less nitrate than conventional crops, the consumption of which has been associated with both good and negative effects on health.

polyunsaturated fats

Dietary fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain consists of two or more carbon–carbon double bonds. Often referred to as ‘good fats’, along with monounsaturated fats, because when substituted for dietary saturated fats they can help lower LDL-cholesterol. Found in nuts, seeds and oily fish.

refined foods

Processed or altered foods that are no longer in their natural state, a process that results in a loss of beneficial nutrients and fibre.

saturated fat

Dietary fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain consists of only single carbon–carbon bonds. Often referred to as ‘bad fats’ because high intakes are linked to raised LDLcholesterol and increased risk of heart disease events. Commonly found in animal-derived products.

scurvy

Severe vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, severe joint or leg pain, bleeding gums, red or blue spots on the skin, easy bruising.

selenium

Essential mineral that increases immunity, defends against free radical damage and inflammation and maintains a healthy metabolism. Found in Brazil nuts, eggs, liver, tuna, cod, sunflower seeds, poultry and certain types of meat.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Agency of the United Nations tasked with building a better, healthier future for people all over the world.

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