Common Medical Terms You Need to Know Nutrition

Here is a list of some common medical terms related to nutrition:

Nutrition-related Terms

  • Antioxidants – These are the chemical compounds which help in protecting against cell damage (from free radicals). Antioxidants enable anti-aging and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and coronary heart diseases.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) – It is a measure of your body weight that is relative to your height. It determines if you are at a healthy weight, overweight or obese.
  • Cholesterol –Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that is essential for some body functions. It is a common misunderstanding among common people that cholesterol is not good for the body; which is, however, not true and not all cholesterol is bad.
    • Bad cholesterol (called as Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol) is the one which sticks to the walls of blood vessels, narrowing them. Deposition of its clots in arteries (blood vessels which carry pure blood from heart to various organs of the body) leads to heart attack and stroke.
    • Good cholesterol (termed as High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol) removes excessive cholesterol from these clots and hence, reduces the risk of heart diseases.
  • Glycemic index (GI) – It is a numerical index which indicates how fast and how high a particular food can raise the blood sugar (blood glucose) levels. Foods with low GI enable controlling blood sugar levels and prevent heart diseases, cancers and maintain a healthy weight. Including low GI foods like grapefruits, apples, raw carrots, tomatoes, breakfast cereals such as oats and barley in your diet can maintain your health.
  • Nutrients – Compounds like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals which are essential for growth and proper functioning of the body. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are required in large amounts to maintain the body functions properly. Vitamins and minerals, however, are required in trace amounts.
  • Proteins are the compounds which are required for the structure, function and regulation of body’s organs. Foods like beans and nuts are rich in proteins.
  • Carbohydrates are the major sources in food that provide energy to the body. Whole bread, pasta, potatoes, brown rice are some of the carbohydrate-rich food sources.
  • Fats play a role in providing energy and also in maintaining the structure of human cells. Butter, ghee, soya bean, coconut oil and olive oil are some of the food sources of fat.
  • Vitamins and Minerals They are the elements which aid in various body functions including boosting immune system, supporting growth and development, protect body cells from damage, and so on. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K are the various kinds of vitamins. Examples of minerals – Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, etc.
  • Dietary supplements – Dietary or food or nutritional supplements are the ones which supplement the diet and provide vitamins or minerals. If your regular diet does not meet the required nutrient demands essential for body, you need to take supplements to maintain its proper working.
  • Calorie – It is a measure of energy you get from the food you eat.

Having an idea on these terms helps you maintain your health properly.

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