10 Nutrition Terms And Why You Should Know Them

There are lots of commonly called-out nutrition terms we seldom hear but don’t quite understand what they are and what they do. We just parrot the terms and say them whenever we need too. But understanding a little bit the health terms we say is a bit gratifying and worth knowing, especially that of all the human facets, health is the nearest to our gut.

1. Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Since they are building blocks of protein, to create the many forms of protein in the body, the amino acids link together into the various chain structures known as Peptides that give each type of protein that is found in the bone, hair, nails or blood.

Of the 24 known amino acids that make up thousands of differing protein combinations, eight of these – leucine, isoleucine, valine, methionine, threonine, lysine, phenylalanine and tryptophan – are known as “essential amino acids” as they are needed to created what is called a complete protein. However, none of these can be created by the body itself and must be acquired from food. If only one of them is deficient, then complete protein synthesis is halted and reduced.

Strict vegans sustaining a plant-based diet with little to no protein will be prone to deficient protein synthesis or incomplete protein. Meat, fish and eggs are the obvious abundant source of complete protein.


2. Antibiotics

Who can’t be so familiar with this medical term. While this particular drug has invaluable use during its advent, it has become increasingly infamous as time goes by. Because of indiscriminate use and prescription, bacterias have developed resistance to conventional antibiotic drugs. So as the resistance increased, doctors are obliged to prescribe much higher doses of antibiotics with obvious higher side-effects.

Antibiotics are unable to distinguish between organisms, they tend to kill friendly gut-bacteria beneficial to humans due to its function in food absorption. Now, note that one of the serious side effects of antibiotic use is the proliferation of viginal yeast infections in women who have been, in particular, prescribed with tetracyclines. Antibiotics can consequently neutralize the effects of contraceptive pills.

So, most doctors now reserve the use of antibiotics as a last resort. And since antibiotics affects the immune system, patients who are about to undergo surgery will have to fortify their immune system over a period of time with diet and supplementations.

3. Antidepressants

In nutritional sense, treatment for depression includes two of the amino acids – DLPA (DL-phenylalanine), which increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which are gaining popularity in anti-anxiety treatments.

Calcium is another nutritional agent well-known for its calming mineral which can alleviate insomnia if taken at bedtime at doses of 500mg.

Other vitamins that are helpful in alleviating depression are Vitamin C, B Vitamins (more in particular B1), Niacin, Pantothenic Acid. Herbs that can help include Hawthorn, Kava Kava, Linden, St. John’s Wort and Valerian.

White sugar, white flour, caffeine and high-fat diet should be avoided if you need to cure depression.


4. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is an ancient practice of concocting essences from flowers, leaves, stems, fruits, seeds and roots. Though the concoction may not be oily in nature, it is nevertheless called essential oils. The favorable results are varied and desirable. The oils could be inhaled or applied to the skin which can restore physical well-being, mental and physical balance and the feeling of well-being.

Modern aromatherapy came into full use when rediscovered in 1920 by a French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. He studied the therapeutic effect of essential oils, more in particular lavender oil the treatment of burns.

With the increasing interest in natural healing and living, aromatherapy has been increasingly in use for the treatment and not only for relief of certain conditions. Trained aromatherapists may combine certain oil for certain desired results. Sensual blends for example are made from Ylang-Ylang, Lavender and Sandalwood. Premenstrual tension can be eased with a blend of Clary, Sage and Geranium.

Essential oils can be delivered quickly to the bloodstream through inhalation. Other oils have antifungal and antimicrobial properties too.

5. Aspartame

Nutrasweet or Equal are few of the famed users of this widely used artificial sweeteners. Cola and cereals are users too. This is also sold as table top sweeteners for coffee and tea. Aspartame is 180 times more sweeter than conventional sugar. You cannot use aspartame for cooking since the taste changes when heated.

People with genetic conditions such as Phenylketonuria (PKU) are at risk of developing brain damage if they use aspartame. PKU is a genetic predisposition where the body has no ability to oxidise phenylalanine to tyrosine due to a defective enzyme. That is why most advertised sweeteners using aspartame has a warning “…contains phenylalanine”.

6. Aspirin

Aspirin is an inexpensive pain killer traditionally isolated from willow bark which is readily obtainable over-the-counter and has become a household name for quick relief for pains. Common pains and arthritis are the common ailments to use aspirin.

However, aspirin is not a cure!

It only mitigates pain at best and despite its wide use, aspirin is not totally harmless. Aspirin can irritate your delicate stomach lining and cause internal bleeding. It can also deplete your body’s Vitamin C supply.


7. Ayurveda

Ayurveda is translated as “Science Of Life”. It is a traditional Indian approach to healthy living and longevity. It has become widely in demand that Ayurveda has is beginning to become a Western alternative for wellness.

Ancient Sanskrit mentioned Ayurveda in its texts. It is a complete holistic approach to health restoration not only of the body but as well as the entire human facets. Ayurveda is considered as the first holistic system of diagnosis and treatment that integrates nutrition, herbs, mediation and awareness.

8. Baking Soda

Sodium Bicarbonate, commonly known as Baking Soda is an alkaline leavening agent. It causes the dough to rise when mixed and kneaded with acidic bread. Bicarbonate’s reaction with the bread releases carbon dioxide causing the dough to rise.

Baking soda may be a popular alternative to baker’s yeast, however, it tends to deplete Vitamins B1 and Folic Acid and also neutralizes Vitamin C. Some other brands of baking soda include Aluminium Salts (E-521), which is known to accumulate to the brain and would later on cause brain damages such as memory loss and dementia.

Sourdough is a better alternative as it is leavened with fermented starter substance – a culture of naturally occurring airborne yeast and lactobacilli – this causes the dough to ferment and leaven it.

One good use of baking soda is for heartburn. A teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water. Baking soda is also good at whitening the teeth and neutralizing acidic plague when included in brushing.

Lastly, baking soda should not be used as antacid by people with low-sodium diets.

Learn more about Important Uses of Baking Soda »


9. Bioavailability

This nutritional term might be seldom mentioned in any casual discussions but is very much important when absorbability of nutrients is concerned. This term specifies how much micronutrients is absorbed by your body and becomes available for your organs to use.

More often, it’s not the question of how much or how many food and supplements you take. It’s all about how much your body really absorbed. Absorption is more important than consumption.

There are factors you have to note that influence your capability to absorb food micronutrients. It could be ageing, food processing, insufficient digestive secretion, shortage of enzymes, nutrient interactions where some nutrients inhibit or increase the absorption of other nutrients.

Curcumin is a concrete example of poor bioavailability when taken in itself. But with the aid of black pepper its bioavailability increases to about 2000%.

Here, you will learn more how to increase the bioavailability of the food you eat »

10. Bioflavonoids

Or less commonly known as Vitamin P. Bioflavonoid are complex nutrients that are found in most plants and are closely related to Vitamin C. In fact, Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids work in tandem to make particular health advantages. They strengthen the capillaries and help prevent excessive menstrual bleeding. They are antiviral and anti-inflammatory to add a few. Best of all, bioflavonoid is well known as an antioxidant that protects you from free radicals and inhibits histamine release.

Garlic and onions are just a few of the sources of bioflavonoids called quercetin. Quercetin has a powerful anti-carcinogenic activity that inhibits the growth of certain cancers including breast, ovarian cancer and leukemia.

Learn more about Foods rich in Bioflavonoids »

Sure thing, there are still hundreds of nutritional common words we encounter on a daily basis. But that would be another Top 10 in the next article.




Author's Corner

Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was, had I not been made of common clay. I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet, seen the fuller air, the larger day. From the wildness of my wasted passion I had struck a better, clearer song, Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled with some Hydra-headed wrong. – Oscar Wilde

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