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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

anthocyanin
naturally occurring compounds that impart color to fruit, vegetables, and plants. Derived from two Greek words meaning plant and blue, anthocyanins are the pigments that make blueberries blue, raspberries red, and are thought to play a major role in the high antioxidant activity levels observed in red and blue fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are also largely responsible for the red coloring of buds and young shoots and the purple and purple-red colors of autumn leaves. Close to 300 anthocyanins have been discovered; known to improve eye sight
antioxidants
counteract the oxidizing (burning) effects of free radicals, harmful molecules that can cause cellular damage throughout the body. Besides leading to heart and coronary artery disease by promoting the buildup of plaque in the walls of blood vessels, oxidation may increase your risk of developing health problems as diverse as cataracts and Alzheimer's disease. And oxidation can cause cellular damage that may eventually result in malignancy. Antioxidants can interrupt this process, potentially conferring protection from cancer. Some scientists believe that, in high enough doses, antioxidants can even reverse the growth of cancers that have already taken hold. The body produces its own antioxidants that combine with free radicals to help keep the oxidation process in check. But a number of scientists believe that the body often cannot produce enough antioxidants on its own, especially when confronted with exposure to environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke and polluted air. They recommend antioxidant supplementsand supplementation has, in fact, become extremely popular. When embarking on a regular supplementation program, however, it's important to keep two points in mind. First, there's a growing body of evidence suggesting that antioxidants in pill form may not provide the same benefits as those obtained from natural foods. Second, just as with many other substances, more of an antioxidant is not always better. Beyond certain levels, some actually become toxic. For instance, The U.S. Institute of Medicine has set an upper daily intake level of 2 grams for vitamin C and 1 gram for alpha-tocopherol (equivalent to about 1,500 IU of natural vitamin E or 1,100 IU of synthetic vitamin E). A high antioxidant level can help improve memory and reduce build-up of bad cholesterol.

B

B complex
B vitamins (and folic acid) - particularly B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid - strengthen the immune system and may play a role in fighting the early development of malignant cells. In some studies, people deficient in riboflavin have developed cancer of the esophagus. In laboratory tests, folic acid, another of the B vitamins, has a protective effect against precancerous cells from the colon and cervix; and women with low levels of folic acid are more likely to develop cervical cancer. The B vitamins are available in a variety of foods. Citrus fruits are high in folic acid. Red meat, dairy products, asparagus, and broccoli contain riboflavin. Vitamin B6 comes from white meat chicken and fish, whole grain cereals, egg yolks, potatoes, and bananas. Vitamin B6 also helps brain chemical production which may help the body cope with anxiety and panic
beta carotene
A carotenoid that is stored in the liver, where the body converts it to vitamin A, as needed; found in dark, leafy greens and red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. A powerful antioxidant, beta carotene may play a role in slowing the progression of cancer. In population studies, it's related to decreased risk of lung cancer and oral cancers.
boron
important to brain function, especially in enhancing memory, cognitive function, and hand-eye coordination. Evidence continues to mount that boron may reduce either the symptoms or incidence of arthritis.

C

calcium
The most plentiful mineral in the body and one of the most important. The body needs it to build and repair bones and teeth, help nerves function, make muscles contract, clot blood, and allow proper function of the heart. Almost all of the calcium in the body is stored in bone. The rest is found in the blood.
carcinogens
A cancer-causing substance or agent. There are three major stages in cancer development.
  • Initiation, in which a cancer-causing agent first damages a cell's genetic material.
  • Promotion, when cells in which initiation has occurred are exposed to chemicals that speed up cell division. Such chemicals cannot initiate cancer themselves: Generally long-term exposure to these promoters is necessary for cancer to develop. Nutritional factors are thought to have their greatest impact on cancer in this stage.
  • Progression is the final stage of cancer development when cells become fully malignant and acquire the ability to metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
carotenoids
help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and help preserve vision. See also Beta Carotene
catechin
A subclass of flavonoids found in grapes and tea. Up to 30% of the dry weight of green tea leaves is catechins. Scientists believe catechins to be one of the important active substances that gives green tea extract its cancer-preventive and possibly curative properties in animal studies. But population studies show no such clear-cut protective effect
copper
required for normal infant development, red and white blood cell maturation, iron transport, bone strength, cholesterol metabolism, myocardial contractility, glucose metabolism, brain development and immune function, among other things. The richest dietary sources of copper include nuts, seeds, legumes, the bran and germ portions of grains, liver, kidneys, shellfish, oysters and crustaceans.
coumarins
A class of widely occurring phenolic compounds, especially abundant in citrus fruits, that may help the enzymes that fend off cancer.
cynarin
stimulates bile secretion creating support for the liver and digestion and positively affects cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood

E

elegiac acid
a natural organic compound thought to inhibit the start of cancer caused by certain chemicals.

F

ferulic acid
an organic acid. The immune system can benefit and be strengthened by ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is also a natural source for ultraviolet light UV protection. Used for aging, cancer, colds %26 flu, free radical damage, Immune system, muscle health, performance, skin aging, skin cancer, and sun protection
fiber, soluble
aids in controlling high blood cholesterol; eating 3 grams a day can lower cholesterol levels by about 5%25 and protect against heart disease. See also Pectin
flavonoids
a group of compounds with antioxidant properties, are found in carrots, tea, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, peppers, squash, tomatoes, soybeans, eggplant, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. Besides their antioxidant activities, flavinoids seem to be able to inhibit the action of certain hormones such as estrogen, and may help prevent hormone-based malignancies such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
  • Anthocyanins are naturally occurring compounds that impart color to fruit, vegetables, and plants. Derived from two Greek words meaning plant and blue, anthocyanins are the pigments that make blueberries blue, raspberries red, and are thought to play a major role in the high antioxidant activity levels observed in red and blue fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are also largely responsible for the red coloring of buds and young shoots and the purple and purple-red colors of autumn leaves. Close to 300 anthocyanins have been discovered; known to improve eye sight.
  • coumarins - A class of widely occurring phenolic compounds, especially abundant in citrus fruits, that may help the enzymes that fend off cancer rutin and hesperidin, which may prevent or slow tumor growth
  • kaempferol is a powerful anticancer agent; Black teas are excellent potential source of quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin in the human diet.
  • quercitin and myricetin, a flavanoid with antioxidant qualities, which helps eliminate free radicals in the body, inhibits low-density lipoprotein oxidation, protects and regenerates vitamin E and inactivates the harmful effects of chelate metal ions
  • resveratrol - fights breast, liver, and colon cancers; also anti-inflammatory
folate
is the naturally occurring form of folic acid found in leafy green vegetables and fortified grains. It is also part of a group of vitamins known as B vitamins. See also Vitamin B.
folic acid
see Folate and Vitamin B

H

hesperidin
a flavonoid which may prevent or slow tumor growth

I

indoles
may prevent carcinogens from reaching their intended goal inside of cells. See also sulforaphane.
iron
a necessary mineral for the proper function of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. It is also needed for proper muscle and organ function. About three-fourths of the body's iron is bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells, while the rest is either bound to other proteins (transferrin in blood or ferritin in bone marrow) or stored in other body tissues. When red blood cells die, their iron is released and carried by transferrin to the bone marrow. In the bone marrow, iron is stored and used as needed to make new red blood cells.

K

kaempferol
Among other functions, it may block carcinogens as well as slow the growth and spread of cancer cells. It also may prevent the conversion of nitrites in the stomach to compounds that become building blocks for carcinogens.

L

lutein
A powerful antioxidant and one of two carotenoids found in the eye. These yellow pigments are believed to filter out harmful blue light and protect against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. Studies show that eating lots of spinach and collard greens - rich in lutein and its carotenoid partner, zeaxanthin - may substantially lower the risk of this irreversible disease. More resistant to cooking than other carotenoids, it's also associated with decreased lung cancer risk.
lycopene
antioxidant shown to reduce prostate cancer and inhibits other cancer development; red pigment is from carotenoids.

M

magnesium
an essential mineral in human nutrition with a wide range of biological functions. Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions. It is necessary for every major biological process, including the production of cellular energy and the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. It is also important for the electrical stability of cells, the maintenance of membrane integrity, muscle contraction, nerve conduction and the regulation of vascular tone, among other things.
manganese
Apart from its uses in rare overt deficiency disorders, manganese might have some efficacy in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis as well as in some with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Evidence for these benefits is preliminary.
monounsaturated fat
helps lower bad cholesterol and boosts good cholesterol. Believed to lower cholesterol and may assist in reducing heart disease. Like polyunsaturated fat it provides essential fatty acids for healthy skin and the development of body cells.
myricetin
a naturally occurring flavonoid that is found in berries, fruits, vegetables, herbs, tea and wine. Many in vitro studies have demonstrated the antioxidant properties of myricetin. In vitro research also suggest that myricetin in high concentration is capable of modifying LDL cholesterol in a manner that enhances its uptake by white blood cells.

N

niacin
a member of the B-vitamin family. Niacin, via its metabolites, is involved in a wide range of biological processes, including the production of energy, the synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol and steroids, signal transduction, the regulation of gene expression and the maintenance of genomic integrity.

P

pantothenic acid
member of the B-vitamin family, is an essential nutrient in human nutrition. Pantothenic acid is involved in a number of biological reactions, including the production of energy, the catabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, the synthesis of fatty acids, phospholipids, sphingolipids, cholesterol and steroid hormones, and the synthesis of heme and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It also appears to be involved in the regulation of gene expression and in signal transduction.
papain
enzyme which aids digestion
pectin
soluble fiber important in controlling blood cholesterol. A gelatinous substance, also offsets bile acids. It complements the function of cellulose, encouraging healthy digestion by preventing diarrhea. Pectin comes from apples, bananas, beets, carrots, potatoes, and citrus fruit.
phenolic acids
includes ellagic acid, tannic acid and vanillin. Found in almost all fruits, vegetables and grains, phenolic compounds affect the quality, appeal and stability of foods with antioxidant action, flavor and color. They give wine its characteristic hues, flavors and astringency. Besides scavenging for free radicals, some phenolic compounds appear to interrupt cancer development in other ways. Some also hinder LDL oxidation.
phosphorus
is an essential macromineral in human nutrition and plays pivotal roles in the structure and function of the body. Phosphorus, in its pentavalent phosphate form, is essential for the process of bone mineralization and makes up the structure of bone. Approximately 85%25 of phosphorus in the adult body is in bone. Phosphorus in the form of phospholipids makes up the structure of cellular membranes. Phosphorus also makes up the structure of nucleic acids and nucleotides, including adenosine triphosphate, among other things. Life has been said to be built around phosphorus.
phytochemicals
a global term for all the hundreds of chemicals that occur naturally in plants.
potassium
helps control the body's fluid balance, helps muscles contract, transmits nerve impulses and aids in heart and kidney function. Potassium regulates water balance and blood pressure in cells together with sodium, calcium, and magnesium.

Q

quercetin
a flavanoid with antioxidant qualities, which helps eliminate free radicals in the body, inhibits low-density lipoprotein oxidation, protects and regenerates vitamin E and inactivates the harmful effects of chelate metal ions

R

resveratrol
a natural dietary compound also effecting the immune system and inflammation in the body. Both immune and inflammatory components are thought to be important in the development of plaque buildup in blood vessels, which often leads to heart disease.
riboflavin
an essential nutrient in human nutrition and plays a key role in the production of energy. Riboflavin has antioxidant activity. It may have activity in the prophylaxis of migraine headaches and may have activity against esophageal cancer. It has putative anti-atherosclerotic activity and putative antimalarial activity. See also Vitamin B.
rutin
a flavonoid which may prevent or slow tumor growth

S

selenium
essential mineral that works closely with vitamin E to produce antioxidants that neutralize the cell-damaging free radicals that can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases of aging. Breast, prostate, skin, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers are all inhibited by selenium. It appears to confer the greatest protection on men, and seems most effective against gastrointestinal cancer. The selenium in our diets comes from fish and shellfish, organ meats, such as liver, and some whole-grain cereals.
sodium
one of the most important minerals in the body. It is an electrolyte, which means it carries an electrical charge when it is dissolved in blood. Sodium helps regulate the water balance (the amount of fluid inside and surrounding the cells) and electrolyte balance of the body. Sodium also plays an important role in nerve and muscle functions.
sulforaphane
significantly reduced the incidence, multiplicity and rate of development of chemically induced mammary tumors in rats. It has demonstrated an ability to detoxify a number of carcinogens and thus might have the ability to protect against a variety of cancers (by keeping cancer from forming). Abundant in three-day old broccoli sprouts. The levels in three-day old broccoli sprouts are from 10 to 100 times greater than in mature broccoli. Also found in cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cauliflower sprouts, bok choy, kale, collards, arugula, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, red radish and watercress. See also indoles.

T

terpenes
the terpene lactones are thought to be the elements that help improve memory (that is, improve choline uptake in brain synapses), protect the brain from metabolic injury (that is, promote neuroprotection) and reduce the tendency of the blood to clot (that is, inhibit platelet-activating factor)
thiamine
helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. See also Vitamin B.

V

vitamin A
Helps eye health (including seeing normally in low light), helps cells and tissues grow and stay healthy
vitamin B
particularly B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acidstrengthen the immune system and may play a role in fighting the early development of malignant cells. In some studies, people deficient in riboflavin have developed cancer of the esophagus. In laboratory tests, folic acid, another of the B vitamins, has a protective effect against precancerous cells from the colon and cervix; and women with low levels of folic acid are more likely to develop cervical cancer. The B vitamins are available in a variety of foods. Citrus fruits are high in folic acid. Red meat, dairy products, asparagus, and broccoli contain riboflavin. Vitamin B6 comes from white meat chicken and fish, whole grain cereals, egg yolks, potatoes, and bananas. Vitamin B6 also helps brain chemical production which may help the body cope with anxiety and panic. See also Thiamine, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Niacin
vitamin C
fights colds and flus by boosting the immune system. Helps the body absorb iron, promotes healthy gums, and is an antioxidant that helps cells grow and stay healthy
vitamin E
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E plays a vital role in protecting the body from many chronic disorders. It may even slow the aging process and guard against damage from secondhand smoke and other pollutants. Circulatory disorders, skin and joint problems, diabetes-related nerve complications, high cholesterol, endometriosis, immune-system function and memory are also believed to benefit from vitamin E. Slow Alzheimer's disease. Prevent or delay cataracts and macular degeneration. Prevent heart disease and related complications. Protect against prostate and other cancers. Retard the aging process and boost immune function. Promote healing of burns, eczema, and other skin problems.

Z

zinc
vital for growth and development, sexual maturation and reproduction, dark vision adaptation, olfactory and gustatory activity, insulin storage and release and for a variety of host immune defenses, among other things. Zinc may have immunomodulatory activity. It may also have antioxidant activity. Zinc has putative antiviral, fertility-enhancing and retinoprotective activities.