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Glossary of Terms

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"Excellent Source of"
This claim may be found on food labels. It indicates that a serving of the food contains 20% or more of the daily value for the nutrient. For example, if a food label states that the product is an excellent source of vitamin C, it means that a serving of the food has at least 20% of the daily value for vitamin C.
"Good Source of"
This claim may be found on food labels. It indicates that a serving of the food contains 10-19% of the daily value for the nutrient for which the claim is made. For example, if a food label states that the product is a good source of vitamin C, it means that a serving of the food has 10-19% of the daily value for vitamin C.
Acute pain
Sharp or sudden pain. This term is often used to refer to pain that is of recent onset and which may be severe.
Adaptation
The process of adjustment to a specific stimulus.
Additives
Substances that are added to foods but are normally not consumed by themselves as foods.
Adipose tissue
Fatty tissue; connective tissue made up of fat cells.
Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs)
Compounds that result from a chain of chemical reactions after an initial type of chemical reaction called glycation. They can be formed inside the body through normal metabolism. These substances can form from the rapid, high-temperature cooking of foods that contain sugars and fats or proteins, such as when grilling, broiling, or frying. They are thought to be associated with aging, and may play a causative role in the development of age-related diseases. AGEs may contribute to blood vessel damage and poor circulation in those with diabetes. These compounds are also sometimes called glycotoxins.
Aerobic
Requiring oxygen. Aerobic physical activity is the type that strengthens the heart, circulatory system, and lungs by requiring them to work harder than normal to deliver oxygen to the body's tissues.
Alzheimer's disease
A progressive condition in which nerve cells degenerate in the brain and the brain substance shrinks. Alzheimer's disease is common cause of dementia. In this condition, there is a reduced level acetylcholine - a type of chemical transmitter in the brain. This disorder is more common with increasing age. Currently, there is no cure.
American Dietetic Association (ADA)
The professional organization of dietitians in the United States.
Amino Acids
Nitrogen-containing compounds that are the building blocks of proteins.
Anti-inflammatory medication
Medication to reduce inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation include pain, redness, swelling, and warmth. Muscles and joints can be affected by inflammation, as occurs with muscle strains and various types of arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications can either be prescription or non-prescription. Non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications include aspirin and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others), or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
Antioxidants
Compounds that protect cells from by-products of reactions involving oxygen. Chemical reactions happen all of the time in cells. Normal cell metabolism, in which oxygen is involved, can produce by-products called free radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive compounds, which can damage the cell. The antioxidants react with the free radicals, acting as scavengers, and sparing the cell from injury.
Appetite
The psychological desire to eat.
Atherosclerosis
The buildup of cholesterol and plaque in blood vessels
Bradycardia
Slow heartbeat. This is a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute.
Bulimia Nervosa
A condition characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, combined with a morbid fear of becoming overweight or obese. It is usually followed by self-induced vomiting or purging.
Bunion
Refers to a bump on the inner aspect of the foot, at the base of the big toe. The great toe usually points outward, toward the second toe. Bunions are often progressive. Redness and inflammation may overlie the bump, and there can be skin thickening in this area. Bunions can run in families. Experts disagree whether high heel shoes cause bunions or just make them worse once they've begun to develop.
Buoyancy
An upward force on an object immersed in a fluid (a liquid or a gas). It reduces the weight of a solid object in the fluid and enables some objects to float in a fluid, such as water.
C-reactive protein
A blood marker of inflammation. Persons with elevated levels of C-reactive protein appear to be at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Calorie
The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one centigrade. In dietary usage, this term is used interchangeably with kilocalorie, which is technically 1,000 calories. One pound of fat has the equivalent of 3,500 kilocalories of energy.
Carcinogenic
Causing cancer. Used to refer to agents, chemicals, or other substances that can lead to the development of malignant tumors.
Cervical spine
That portion of the spinal column in the neck. It consists of 7 vertebrae. The vertebrae are the individual bony segments in the spinal column. The cervical spine also includes wafer-like cushions between the bony vertebrae. These are called the intervertebral disks.
Chronic pain
Pain that has persisted for longer than 3 months or past the expected time of healing.
Concentric movement
contraction of a muscle in which the muscle shortens as it generates force. The muscle exerts a force, overcomes a resistance, and shortens.
Concentric Movement
contraction of a muscle in which the muscle shortens as it generates force. The muscle exerts a force, overcomes a resistance, and shortens.
Creatine
A nitrogen-containing compound that combines with phosphate to form a high-energy compound stored in muscle.
Cruciferous vegetables
Vegetables with cross-shaped blossoms. Cruciferous vegetables consist of those in the cabbage family, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. Consumption of these types of vegetables has been associated with a reduced cancer rate in human populations.
Cuisine
A style of cooking.
Dehydration
A condition of depleted fluid stores in the body.
Demyelinating
An inflammatory process of nerves that destroys myelin. Multiple sclerosis is an example of a demyelinating disease.
Diabetes mellitus
A chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Diabetes mellitus (DM) can result either from failure of the pancreas to produce insulin (type 1 DM) or from insulin resistance (type 2 DM). Type 2 diabetes is more common in sedentary and overweight individuals. Classic symptoms of diabetes include increased urination (polyuria), excessive thirst, and increased food consumption. Type 2 DM is more common than type 1 and accounts for approximately 90% of cases of diabetes.
Drag
A mechanical force generated by the interaction and contact of a solid body with a fluid (a liquid or gas). It is a force of resistance, one of which opposes motion.
Drug
Any substance that when taken into the body can modify one of more of its functions.
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)
A non-invasive method for determining bone mineral content (which correlates with the amount of calcium in the skeleton). This type of exam uses 2 low dose x-ray beams of different energies. This test is quick and painless and can calculate total body fat and lean body mass, in addition to estimating bone mineral content. Clinically, it is used in diagnosing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Eccentric Movement
A muscle action in which the muscle lengthens against resistance while producing force.
Eccentric movement
A muscle action in which the muscle lengthens against resistance while producing force.
Electromagnetic radiation
This is a spectrum of radiation that includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays. All of these waves travel at the speed of light, and they exhibit some properties of waves and some properties of particles. The different types of electromagnetic radiation vary in their wavelength and their energies.
Enuresis
Bedwetting.
Essential Nutrient
A nutrient that must be obtained from the diet because it cannot be produced by the body.
Excellent Source of
This claim may be found on food labels. It indicates that a serving of the food contains 20% or more of the daily value for the nutrient. For example, if a food label states that the product is an excellent source of vitamin C, it means that a serving of the food has at least 20% of the daily value for vitamin C.
Fat Free
Less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.
Fatty Acid
The building block of fats. Fatty acids are important for the production of energy during prolonged low intensity exercise.
Flavonoid
Any member of a chemical family of yellow pigments in foods.
Frequency
The number of crests of a wave that pass a given point per unit of time. It is often expressed in terms of cycles per second or Hertz.
Functional foods
No official U.S. definition exists, but the term is generally used to describe foods with beneficial physical or psychological effects beyond providing nutrients. Health Canada defines functional foods as foods that appear similar to conventional foods, consumed as part of the usual diet, with demonstrated physiological benefits or with the ability to reduce chronic disease risks beyond basic nutrient functions.
Genistein
A phytoestrogen found primarily in soybeans that both mimics and blocks the action of estrogen in the body.
Ghrelin
Hormone primarily secreted by the stomach that has been implicated in stimulating hunger and fat storage.
Good Source of
This claim may be found on food labels. It indicates that a serving of the food contains 10-19% of the daily value for the nutrient for which the claim is made. For example, if a food label states that the product is a good source of vitamin C, it means that a serving of the food has 10-19% of the daily value for vitamin C.
Headache
Pain in the head. Sometimes upper back pain or neck pain may be interpreted as headache.
High heel shoes (high-heeled shoes)
Those whose heels are 2 inches or taller.
Hyperglycemia
Increased blood sugar, as occurs in diabetes mellitus. A fasting blood sugar of greater than 126 mg/dl on more than one occasion is diagnostic of diabetes mellitus.
Hypersomnolence
Excessive daytime sleepiness. Hypersomnolence is an important symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.
Hypertension
High blood pressure.
Hyponatremia
Below normal amount of sodium in the blood.
Isometric muscular contraction
A muscle contraction in which the muscle is generating force but not significantly changing in length. The angle formed at the involved joint is relatively fixed
Isometric Muscular Contraction
A muscle contraction in which the muscle is generating force but not significantly changing in length. The angle formed at the involved joint is relatively fixed.
Ketosis
A condition of undesirably high concentration of ketones in the blood or urine. Ketone bodies are acidic compounds that are derived from fat and certain amino acids. They are normally not found in significant amounts in the blood. However, when carbohydrate intake is low, the body may rely on the burning of fat and protein for energy, with these substances being produced as by-products.
Lean
A label claim that may be found on seafood or meat products. It indicates that the food contains less than 10 grams of total fat per serving, as well as less than 95 mg of cholesterol and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat.
Leptin
A hormone produced by fat cells that has been suggested to promote satiety and reduce caloric consumption. When leptin levels are low, hunger is increased. Sleep loss is associated with diminished leptin levels.
Lignans
Phytochemicals present in flaxseed, but not in flax oil, that are converted to phytosterols by intestinal bacteria and are under study as possible anticancer agents.
Linoleic and Linolenic Acids
These are two essential fatty acids; that is, 2 types of fat that the human body cannot manufacture on its own and that must be obtained from the diet. Both are polyunsaturated. Deficiency of these essential nutrients can lead to symptoms. Functions of linoleic and linolenic acids include: providing raw material for certain chemicals in the body; serving as sructural and functional parts of cell membranes; contributing lipids to the brain and nerves; assisting in gene regulation; and maintaining the outer layer of the skin. Linolenic acid is the "parent" member of omega-3 fatty acids; EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids made from linolenic acid by coldwater fish. Alpha-linolenic acid is found in walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans, butternuts, and oil of evening primrose.
Low calorie
40 calories or less per serving.
Low cholesterol
20 mg or less cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving.
Low fat
3 grams or less of fat per serving.
Low sodium
140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
Lumbar spine
That portion of the spinal column that is in the lower back area. Most people have 5 lumbar vertebrae. Occasionally, individuals may have 4 or 6 lumbar vertebrae. The lumbar spine also includes wafer-like cushions between the bony vertebrae. These are called intervertebral disks.
Lutein
A plant pigment of yellow hue; a phytochemical believed to help prevent macular degeneration, an age-related degenerative condition in the eye.
Lycopene
A pigment responsible for the red color of tomatoes and other reddish vegetables; this phytochemical may act as an antioxidant in the body. It may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Mammogram
A special kind of x-ray examination designed to evaluate breast tissue and detect breast cancer at an early stage.
Monounsaturated fatty acid
A fatty acid containing one less than the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms (i.e. having one point of unsaturation).
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
A chronic disease affecting the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin, a constituent of brain tissue and an insulator of nerves. Its cause is unknown, and there is not currently a cure. The immune system is partly responsible, with antibodies produced by the body leading to inflammation and demyelination. This condition is more common in women than in men, and more common in those of Northern European ancestry than in African-Americans or Asian-Americans. There is geographic variation in prevalence of MS, with this disease being more commonly encountered in temperate climates in latitudes farther from the equator than in tropical or subtropical regions. Symptoms can wax and wane and may include fatigue, visual problems, weakness, numbness, bowel and bladder difficulties, imbalance, emotional changes, speech difficulties, as well as memory and thinking impairments.
Mutagen
Any agent that causes genetic mutation.
Mutagenic
Capable of inducing damage or change (mutation) to DNA, which is the body's blueprint material. Mutagenic substances are typically also carcinogenic, increasing the likelihood of developing cancer. Many chemicals are mutagenic, as are certian types of electromagnetic radiation, such as ultraviolet radiation.
Myelin
A fatty substances found in the brain and forming the coating of nerves. It acts as an electrical insulator and increases the speed on nerve transmission.
Obstructive sleep apnea
A common disorder in which there is obstruction of airflow in the nose and/or throat during sleep, resulting in interrupted breathing. The pauses in breathing typically last 10-20 seconds or even longer. These pauses can occur many times an hour while asleep. Sleep apnea lowers blood oxygen levels. Symptoms of this condition include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and morning headache. Irritability and difficulty concentrating are also symptoms. Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure. It can lead to heart failure, and it is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Sleep apnea is twice as common in men as in women. It is also more common in those who are obese.
Omega 3 fatty acid
A polyunsaturated fatty acid with its endmost double bond being situated 3 carbon atoms from the end of the carbon backbone. An example of an omega 3 fatty acid is linolenic acid, such as present in canola, soybean, and walnut oils, as well as wheat germ and flaxseed. Omega 3 fatty acids can also be found in fatty coldwater fish, such as salmon and mackerel.
Organosulfur compounds
A large group of phytochemicals containing the mineral sulfur. Organosulfur phytochemicals are responsible for the pungent flavors and aromas of foods belonging to the onion and garlic family. They are thought to stimulate the body's own defenses against cancer.
Overreaching
Refers to a brief period of heavy overload without adequate recovery. Overreaching can be used to enhance athletic performance in the short term. It is generally not used for more than a few weeks.
Overtraining
Refers to the point where an individual starts to experience impairment in performance or adverse symptoms from engaging in exercise that is too intense, too frequent, or too long.
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
A measure of the antioxidant potential of different foods.
Oxygen radical absorbance capacity
A measure of the antioxidant potential of different foods.
Pain killers
Drugs or medications that reduce pain.
Periodization
Type of conditioning program that includes periods of high training stress and planned periods for recovery. In such a program, more intense exercise sessions are incorporated during one phase of the program, while lighter, recovery sessions are incorporated at other points.
Photosynthesis
The process by which green plants use the energy of sunlight to manufacture carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Oxygen is produced as a by-product of photosynthesis and is vital to respiration in plants and animals.
Phytochemical
Biologically active compounds of plants believed to confer resistance to diseases on the eater.
Phytoestrogens
Phytochemicals structurally similar to mammalian hormones, such as the female sex hormone estrogen. Phytoestrogens weakly mimic hormone activity in the human body.
Plyometrics
A type of training that involves explosive movements, in which eccentric muscle contractions alternate quickly with concentric movements. This type of training improves muscular power - the ability of a muscle to generate a significant force in a brief period of time. Jumping and hopping exercises are forms of plyometrics.
Plyometrics
A type of training that involves explosive movements, in which eccentric muscle contractions alternate quickly with concentric movements. This type of training improves muscular power - the ability of a muscle to generate a significant force in a brief period of time. Jumping and hopping exercises are forms of plyometrics.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Fatty acids with two or more points of unsaturation (more that one area in its molecular backbone in which there is a double carbon bond).
Procyanidin
A type of antioxidant found in cocoa. It belongs to a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds are thought to stimulate nitric oxide production by cells lining blood vessels, dilating arteries and lowering blood pressure.
Radiation
The transmission of energy through space. The term also applies to the radiated energy itself. Different types of radiation include electromagnetic radiation and acoustic radiation.
Reduced Calorie
At least 25% less calories per serving compared to the original product or reference product.
Reduced Fat
At least 25% less fat per serving compared to the original product or reference product.
Reduced Sodium
At least 25% less sodium per serving compared to the original product or reference product.
Saturated fatty acid
A fatty acid containing the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms. Saturated fatty acids are primarily a combination of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
Sciatica
Pain that is along the distribution of the sciatic nerve. This is a long nerve which runs from the lower back, past the buttock region, and down through the back and inner aspect of the leg. There is a sciatic nerve on each side of the body.
Sedentary
Inactive.
Sodium
A mineral found in many foods. Together with chloride, it forms table salt (sodium chloride). It can lead to fluid retention and elevate blood pressure.
Tachycardia
Rapid heartbeat. This refers to a heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute.
Talk test
A subjective method for measuring exercise intensity, utilizing observation of respiratory effort and the ability to talk while exercising.
Target heart rate
The number of heart beats per minute that indicates appropriate exercise intensity level for an individual.
Toxin
A poisonous substance produced by animals or plants. They are usually proteins.
Ultraviolet radiation
Invisible electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter than visible light, but greater than x-rays; that is, of greater energy than visible light, but less energy than x-radiation.
Wavelength
The distance between successive peaks of a wave. One full wavelength of a wave represents one complete cycle; that is, it represents one complete vibration in each direction.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.