Department of Public Health
- Glossary List

Term Definition
ABSORPTION The taking up of nutrients into the intestinal cells
ACCEPTABLE DAILY INTAKE The amount of a sweetner that individuals can safely consume each day over the course of a lifetime without adverse effect. It includes a 100-fold factor.
ACCREDITED Approved; in the case of medical centers or universities, certified by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
ACESULFAME POTASSIUM A low calorie sweetner approved by the FDA. Also known as acesulfame-K (K is the symbol for potassium).
ACETALDEHYDE An intermediate in alcohol metabolism.
ACETONE BREATH A distinctive fruity smell that is detectable on the breath of a person who is experiencing ketosis.
ACETYL COA A 2-carbon compound (acetate or acetic acid)to which a molecule of CoA is attached.
ACID-BASE BALANCE The equilibrium in the body between acid and base concentrations.
ACIDOSIS Above normal acidity in the blood and body fluids.
ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS) The end stage of HIV infection in which severe complications are manifested.
ACTIVE VITAMIN D The 1,25-dihydroxy form of vitamin D that promotes calcium balance and bone mineralization.
ACUPUNCTURE A technique that involves piercing the skin with long thin needles at specific anatomical points to relieve pain or illness. Acupuncture sometimes uses heat, pressure, friction, suction, or electromagnetic energy to stimulate the points.
ACUTE DISEASE A disease that develops quickly, produces sharp symptoms, and runs a short course.
ACUTE PEM Protein-energy malnutrition caused by a recent severe food restriction or hypermetabolism; characterized in children by thinness for height (wasting).
ADAPTIVE THERMOGENESIS Adjustments in energy expenditure related to changes in environment such as cold and to physiological events such as overfeeding, trauma, and changes in hormone status.
ADDITIVES Substances not normally consumed as foods but added to food either intentionally or by accident.
ADENOMAS Cancers that arise from glandular tissues.
ADEQUACY (DIETARY) Providing all the essential nutrients, fiber and energy in amounts sufficient to maintain health.
ADIPOSE TISSUE The body's fat tissue, which consists of masses of fat storing cells.
ADOLESCENCE The period from the beginning of puberty until maturity.
ADRENAL GLANDS Glands that are adjacent to and just above each kidney.
ADVERSE REACTION Unusual responses to food including allergies and intollerances.
AEROBIC requiring oxygen
AIDS ENTEROPATHIES The diarrhea and malabsorption associated with AIDS for which no known cause has been identified.
AIDS-RELATED COMPLEX (ARC) The cluster of mild symptoms that sometimes occur early in the course of HIV infection.
ALBUMINURIA Loss of protein in the urine.
ALCOHOL A class of organic compounds containing hydroxyl (oxygen+hydrogen) groups. Ethanol, a type of alcohol is found in beer, wine and distilled spirits.
ALCOHOL DEHYDROGENASE An enzyme that converts ethanol (grain alcohol) to acetalhyde.
ALDOSTERONE A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that stimulates the reabsorption of sodium by the kidneys; aldosterone also regulates chloride and potassium concentrations.
ALIMENTARY HYPOGLYCEMIA Also known as postgastrectomy hypoglycemia, is a type of gycemia that occurs after gastric surgery.
ALITAME An artificial sweetner that is 2000 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) made from two amino acids (alanine and aspartic acid). FDA approval pending.
ALKALOSIS Above normal alkalinity (base) in the blood and body fluids.
ALPHA-LACTALBUMIN The chief protein in human breast milk. In comparison, casien is the chief protein in cow's milk.
ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL The most biologically active vitamin E compound.
ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES Approaches to medical diagnosis and treatment that are not fully accepted by the established medical community.
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE Senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT) is a degenerative disease of the brain involving memory loss and major structural changes in the neuron networks.
AMENORRHEA The abscence of or cessation of menstration. Primary amenorrhea is menarche delayed beyond 16 years of age. Secondary amenorrhea is the absence of three to six consecutive menstrual cycles.
AMINO ACIDS The structural units that make up proteins.
AMYLASE An enzyme that breaks down starches; a component of saliva.
AMYLOPECTIN A component of starch, consisting of many glucose units joined in branching patterns.
AMYLOSE A component of starch, consisting of many glucose units joined in a straight chain without branching.
ANABOLISM The synthesis of new materials for cellular growth, maintenance, or repair of the body.
ANEMIA A deficiency of oxygen-carrying material in the blood.
ANOREXIA NERVOSA A disorder in which a person refuses food and loses weight to the point of emaciation or even death.
ANTIOXIDANT A substance that prevents or delays the breakdown of other substances by oxygen; often added to food to retard deterioration and rancidity.
ARACHIDONIC ACID An essential polyunsaturated fatty acid.
ARTERIOSCELEROSIS Condition charterized by a thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries and a reultant loss of elasticity.
ATHEROSCLEROSIS A type of ateriosclerosis in which lipids, especially cholesterol, accumulate in the arteries and obstruct blood flow.
AVIDIN A substance found in raw egg white that acts as an antagonist of biotin, one of the B vitamins.
BALANCE (DIETARY) Providing foods in proportion to each other and in proportion to the body's needs.
BASAL METABOLIC RATE The rate at which the body uses energy for maintaining involuntary functions such as cellular activity, respiration, and heartbeat when at rest.
BERIBERI A disease resulting from inadequate thiamin in the diet.
BETA-CAROTENE Yellow pigment found in plants that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Acts as an antioxidant.
BIOTIN One of the B vitamins.
BOMB CALORIMETER An instrument that oxidizes food samples tto measure their energy content.
BUFFER A substance that can neutralize both acids and bases to minimize change in the pH of a solution.
CALORIE The energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius. Although we refer to the energy found in foods as calories they are actually kilocalories.
CARBOHYDRATE An organic comound composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It is one of the macronutrients we derive energy from at a rate of 4 kcals per gram.
CARCINOGEN A cancer causing substance.
CATABOLISM The breakdown of complex substnces into simpler ones.
CELIAC DISEASE A syndrome resulting from intestinal sensitivity to gluten, a protein substance of wheat flour especially and of other grains.
CELLULOSE An indigestible polysaccharide made of many glucose molecules.
CHEILOSIS Cracks in the corners of the mouth, due primarily to a deficiency of riboflavin in the diet.
CHOLESTEROL A fat like substance found only in animal products; important in many body functions but also implicated in heart disease. One of the sterols.
CHOLINE A substance that prevents the development of a fatty liver; frequently considered one of the B-complex vitamins.
CHYLOMICRON A very small emulsified lipoprotein that transports fat in the blood.
COBALAMIN Scientific name for B12.
COENZYME A component of an enzyme system that facilitates the working of the enzyme.
COLLAGEN Principal protein of connective tissue.
COLOSTRUM Yellowish fluid produced in the first few days of lactation that precedes breast milk.
DEHYDRATION Excessive loss of water from the body.
DEXTRIN Any of the various small soluble polysaccharides found in the leaves of starch forming plants and in the human alimentary canal as a product of starch digestion.
DIABETES MELLITUS A metabolic disorder charcterized by excess blood sugar and urine sugar.
DIET The food and beverages a person eats and drinks.
DIGESTION The breakdown of ingested foods into particles of a size and chemical composition that the body can absorb.
DIGLYCERIDE A lipid containing glycerol and two fatty acids.
DISACCHARIDE A sugar made of two chemically combined monosaccharides, or simple sugars.
DISCRETIONARY KCALORIE ALLOWANCE The amount of kcals available to meet energy needs after a person has consumed enough nutrient dense foods to meet all nutrients needs for the day.
DIURETICS A substance that stimulates urination.
DIVERTICULOSIS A condition in which the wall of the large intestine weakens and balloons out, forming pouches where fecal matter can be entrapped and cause an infection known as diverticulitis.
EDEMA The presence of an abnormally high amount of fluid in the tisues.
EMPTY-KCALORIE FOODS Term used to denote foods that contain high kcals, but low amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.
EMULSIFIER A substance that promotes the mixing of foods, such as oil and water in a salad dressing.
ENERGY The capacity to do work. The energy in food is chemical energy. The body can convert this chemical energy into mechanical, electrical or heat energy.
ENRICHMENT The addition of nutrients to food, often to resore what has been lost in processing.
ENZYME A protein that speeds up chemical reactions in the cell.
EPIDEMIOLOGY The study of the factors that contribute to the occurrence of a disease in a population.
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACID Any of the nine amino acids that the human body cannot manufacture and that must be supplied by the diet, as they are necessary for growth and maintenance.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID A fatty acid that the human body cannot manufacture and that must be supplied by the dietas it is necessary for groeth and maintenance.
FAT An organic compound whose molecules contain glycerol and fatty acids; fat insulates the body, protects organs, carries fat soluble vitamins, is a constituent of cell membranes, and adds flavor to foods.
FATTY ACID A simple lipid containing only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; a constituent of fat.
FAVA BEAN Large green meaty bean sold fresh in the pod. Smaller white or tan fava beans are dried or canned and cannot be used interchangeably with the fresh beans. Common in Middle Eastern and Italian cooking. Also known as broad bean, horse bean, and Windsor bean.
FENNEL Light green plant with slightly bulbous end and stalks with feathery dark green leaves; somewhat like celery. Used like a root vegetable. Delicate licorice or anise flavor.
FENUGREEK Tan seeds of the fenugreek plant, with the flavor similar to artificial maple flavoring. Essential in the preparation of Asian Indian spice mixtures.
FOOD GROUP PLANS Diet-planning tools that sort foods into groups based on nutrient content and specify the amounts of foods that people should eat from each group.
FOODS Products derived from plants or animals that can be taken into the body to yield energy and nutrients for the maintenance of life and the growth and repair of tissues.
GAI CHOY Includes several types of mustard family plants grown for their greens. Dark green to reddish brown leaves are steamed, boiled or stir-fried. Also known as Chinese green Mustard or dai gai choy.
GALACTOSE A six carbon monosaccharide, one of the two that make up lactose, or milk sugar.
GLUCOSE A six carbon monosaccharide found in sucrose, honey, and many fruits and vegeatbles; the major carbohydrate found in the body.
HEART OF PALM White or light green interior of the palm tree, especially popular in the Philippines. Available canned.
HEME A complex iron containing compound that is a component of hemoglobin.
HYPERGLYCEMIA A high level of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
HYPOGLYCEMIA A low level of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
INCOMPLETE PROTEIN A protein lacking or deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids.
INORGANIC Describes a substance that does not contain carbon.
IRISH MOSS A gelatinous seaweed extract added to milk or rum as a beverage in the Caribbean.
JABOTICABA Brazilian shrub or small tree with 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch fruit clustered like grapes. Gelatinous pulp is mild and sweet.
JOULE A unit of energy preferred by some professionals instead of the heat energy measurements of the calorie system for calculating fod energy. Sometimes reffered to as "kilojoule".
KAMIS Sour,cucumber-like vegetable native to the Philippines. Used to achieve a sour, cool flavor in Filipino cooking.
KCALORIE (ENERGY) CONTROL Management of food energy intake.
KERATINIZATION Formation of a protein called keratin, which, in vitamin A deficiency, occurs instead of mucus formation; leads to a drying and hardening of epithelial tissue.
KILOCALORIE One thousdand calories, or the energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree celsius. It is the preferred unit of measurement of food energy. A kilocalorie is referred to as just "calorie" on most alln food labels.
LACTASE A digestive enzyme produced by the small intestine that breaks down the lactose
LACTATION Milk production/secretion.
LACTOSE A disaccharide composed of glucose and galactose and found in milk.
LEGUMES Plants of the bean and pea family, with seeds that are rich in protein compared to other plant derived foods.
LITCHI Small Chinese fruit with translucent white flesh and a thin brown hull and single pit. The flavor is grape-like but less sweet. Available fresh or canned. Dried litchis, also called litchi nuts, have a different flavor and texture. Also known as lychee.
MACROCYTIC ANEMIA A forma of anemia caused by the presence of abnormally large blood cells.
MALNUTRITION A poor state of health resulting from a lack, excess, or imbalance of the nutrients needed by the body.
MANGO Fruit native to India, yellow and red when ripe, averaging one pound in weight. The flesh is pale and sour when the fruit is unripe, bright orange and very sweet when ripe. Used unripe for pickles and chutneys, ripe as fresh fruit.
MODERATION (DIETARY) Providing enough but not too much of a substance.
NANCE Small, yellow tropical fruit similar to cherries with a slightly tart flavor. Two varieties are available.
NEGATIVE NITROGEN BALANCE Nitrogen output exceeds nitrogen intake.
NONNUTRIENTS Compounds in foods that do not fit within the six classes of nutrients (water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals).
NUTRIENT DENSITY A measure of the nutrients a food provides relative to the energy it provides. The more nutrients and the fewer kcalories, the higher the nutrient density.
NUTRIENTS Nourishing substances in food that can be digested, absorbed, and metabolized by the body; needed for growth, maintenance and reproduction.
NUTRITION 1. The sum of the processes by which an organism obtains, assimilates, and utilizes food. 2. The scientific study of these processes.
OBESITY Condition of being 30 percent above one's ideal body weight.
OKRA Small green torpedo shaped pod with angular sides. A tropical African plant valued for the carbohydrates in it that are sticky and mucilangenous. It is used as a vegetable and to thicken soups and stews.
OLEIC ACID A monosaturated fatty acid.
ORGANIC A substance or molecule that contains a carbon-carbon or a carbon-hydrogen bond. In agriculture the terms has come to mean growing crops and livestock according to organic standards set forth by the federal or state governments.
PALMITIC ACID A saturated fatty acid.
PAWPAW Light orange fruit that tastes like a cross between a banana and a melon. Native to the Americas, it is approximately 6 inches long.
PHYTOCHEMICAL Nonnutrient compounds found in plant derived foods that have biological activity in the body.
PITANGA Small, bright red, ribbed fruit of a shrub or small tree native to northeastern South America; found also in the Caribbean and Florida. Thin skin with orange flesh "melts" in the mouth. Sweet with a slightly bitter bite.
PROVITAMIN Precursors to vitamins that can be converted into vitamins in the body (e.g. beta-carotene can be converted into Vitamin A in the body).
QI GONG (chee GUNG) A Chinese system that combines movement, meditation and breathing techniques to enhance the flow of "qi" energy within the body.
QUALITY OF LIFE A person's perceived physical and mental well-being.
QUINOA Cereal native to the Andes; prepared like rice. Very high in protein.
RADIATION ENTERITIS Inflammation of the intrestinal tissue caused by exposure to radiation.
RADIATION THERAPY The use of x-rays, gamma-rays, or atomic particles to destroy cancer cells.
RANDOMIZATION A process of choosing the members of an experimental and control group without bias.
RAW SUGAR The first crop of crystals harvested during sugar processing. Raw sugar cannot be sold in the U.S. because it contains too much filth (dirt, insect fragments, etc...). Sugar sold as "raw sugar" domestically has actually gone through over half of the refining steps.
REBOUND HYPERGLYCEMIA Hyperglycemia that results from the release of counterregulatory hormones following nighttime hypoglycemia; also called the Somogyi phenomenon.
RECTUM The muscular terminal part of the intestine, extending from the sigmoid colon to the anus.
REDUCED KCALORIE At least 25% fewer kcalories per serving than the comparison food.
REFEEDING SYNDROME A condition that sometimes develops when a severely malnourished person is aggressively fed; charachterized by electrolyte and fluid imbalance and hyperglycemia.
REFERENCE PROTEIN A standard against which to measure the quality of other protein (e.g. albumin).
REFINED The process by which the coarse parts of a food are removed. When wheat is refined into flour, the bran, germ and husk are removed, leaving only the endosperm.
REFLEXOLOGY The technique that applies pressure or message on areas of the hands or feet. Also known as "zone therapy".
REFLUX A backward flow.
REFLUX ESOPHAGITIS Inflammation in the esophagus related to the reflux of acid stomach contents.
REGISTERED DIETITIAN A person who has completed a minimum of a bachelors degreeb from an accredited university or college, has completed approved course work and supervised practice program, has passed a national examination, and maintains registration through continuing professional education.
REGISTRATION Listing; with respect to health professionals, listing with a professional organization that requires specific course work, experience and the passing of an examination.
REGURGITATION The reflux of a small amounts of acidic gastric substances in the mouth.
RELAXIN The hormone of late pregnancy.
REMODELING In the body, the dismantling and re-formation of a structure such as bone.
RENAL Pertaining to the kidneys.
RENAL COLIC The severe stabbing pain that occurs when a kidney stone passes through a ureter.
RENAL OSTEODYSTROPHY A bone disorder in patients with chronic renal failure; a consequence of increased parathyroid hormone secretion, reduced serum calcium, acidosis, and impaired Vitamin D activation by the kidneys.
RENAL THRESHOLD Blood concentration of a substance that exceeds the kidneys' capacity for reabsorption and leads to the appearance of the substance in urine.
RENIN An enzyme from the kidneys that activates angiotensin.
REPLICATION Repeating an experiment and getting the same results. The skeptical scientist, on hearing a new, exciting, finding will ask, "has it been replicated yet?" If it hasn't, the scientist will withhold judgment regarding the finding's validity.
REQUIREMENT The lowest continuing intake of a nutrient that will maintain a specified criterion of adequacy.
RESECTION The surgical removal of a part of an organ or body structure.
RESIDUE Material left in the intestine after digestion; includes mostly dietary fiber and undigested starches and proteins.
RESISTANT STARCHES Starches that escape digestion and absorption in the intestines of healthy people.
RESISTIN (re-ZIST-in) A hormone produced by adipose cells that induces insulin resistance.
RESPIRATORY STRESS Inadequate gas exchange between the air and blood, resulting in lower oxygen and higher carbon dioxide levels.
RESTING METABOLIC RATE (RMR) Similar to the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), a measure of energy use of a person at rest in a comfortable setting, but with less stringent criteria for recent food intake and physical activity. Consequently the RMR is significanly higher than the BMR.
RETICULOCYTES Immature red blood cells released into the blood by bone marrow.
RETINA The layer of light sensitive nerve cells lining the back of the inside of the eye; consists of rods and cones.
RETINOIDS Chemically related compounds with biological activity similar to that of retinol; metabolites of retinol.
RETINOL ACTIVITY EQUIVALENTS (RAE) A measure of Vitamin A activity; the amount of retinol that the body will derive from a food containing preformed retinol or its precursor beta-carotene.
RETINOL-BINDING PROTEIN (RBP) The specific protein responsible for transporting retinol.
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS A disease of the immune system involving painful inflammation of the joints and related structures.
RHODOPSIN The visual pigment in the retinal rods of the eyes which allows one to see at night; its formation requires Vitamin A.
RIBOFLAVIN One of the B vitamins (B2); the coenzyme forms are flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD).
RIBOSOMES Protein making organelles in cells; composed of RNA and protein.
RICKETS The vitamin D deficiency disease in children characterized by bone softening and deformities.
RISK FACTOR A condition or behavior associated with an elevated frequency of a disease but not proved to be causal. Leading risk factors for chronic disease include obesity, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, and a diet high in saturated fats and low in vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
SACCHARIN An artificial sweetener that has been approved for use in the United States. In Canada, approval for use in foods and beverages is pending; currently availableonly in pharmacies and only as a tabltop seetner, not as an additive.
SALIVA Fluid produced in the mouth that helps food digestion.
SALIVARY GLANDS Exocrine glands that secrete saliva into the mouth.
SALMONELLA A bacterium that can cause food poisoning.
SALT A compound composed of an ion other than H+ and a negative ion other than OH-. An example is sodium chloride (Na+Cl- ).
SALT SENSITIVITY A characteristic of an individuals who respond to a high salt intake with an increase in blood pressure or to a low salt intake with a decrease in blood pressure.
SARCOPENIA (SAR-koh-PEE-nee-ah) Loss of skeletal muscle mass, strength, and quantity.
SATIATING Having the power to supress hunger and inhibit eating.
SATIATION (say-she-AY-shun) The feeling of satisfaction and fullness that occurs during a meal and halts eating. Satiation determines how much food is eaten during a meal.
SATIETY (sah-TIE-eh-tee) The feeling of satisfaction that occurs after a meal and inhibits eating until the next meal. Satiety determines how much time passes between meals.
SATURATED FAT-FREE Less than 0.5 g of saturated fat and 0.5 g of trans-fat per serving.
SATURATED FATTY ACID A fatty acid in which carbon is joined with four other atoms; i.e., all carbon atoms are bound to the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms. A saturated fat is composed of triglycerides in which most of the fatty acids are saturated.
SCHIZOPHRENIA (SKITZ-oh-FREN-ee-ah) Mental illness characterized by an altered concept of reality and, in some cases, delusions and hallucinations.
SCURVY A disease characterized by bleeding gums, pain in the joints, lethargy and other problems. Caused by a deficeincy of Viatmin C (ascorbic acid).
SECONDARY DEFICIENCY A nutrient deficiency caused by something other than an inadequate intake such as a disease condition or drug interaction that reduces absorption, accelerates use, hastens excretion, or destroys the nutrient.
SECRETIN (see-CREET-in) A hormone produced by cells in the duodenum wall that target the pancreas to secrete bicarbonate-rich pancreatic juice.
SEGMENTATION A periodic squeezing or partitioning of the intestine at intervals along its length by its circular muscles.
SELECTIVE MENUS Menus with two or more choices in some or all menu categories.
SELENIUM A trace element.
SELF-MONITORING OF BLOOD GLUCOSE (SMBG) Home monitoring of blood glucose levels using a glucose meter.
SEMIPERMEABLE MEMBRANE A membrane that allows some particles to pass through, but not others.
STANDARD OF IDENTITY A list of specifications for the manufacture of certain foods that stipulates their required contents.
STAR FRUIT Small, deeply ribbed, oval fruit with thin skin shaped like a star when sliced. Green and sour when unripe, yellow and slightly sweet (though still tart) when ripe. Unripe fruit is used in Indian and Chinese dishes. Ripe fruit is eaten fresh.
STARCH A polysaccharide composed of glucose molecules; the major form of energy found in plants.
STEARIC ACID A saturated fatty acid.
SUCROSE A disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose, often called "table sugar".
SULFITES Agents used as preservatives in foods to eliminate bacteria, preserve freshness, prevent browning, and increase storage life; can cause acute asthma attacks, and even death, in people who are sensitive to them.
SUMAC Sour red Middle Eastern spice made from the ground berries of a non-toxic variety of the sumac plant.
SUNFLOWERS Native to the United States; over 60 varieties. Seeds eaten by Native Americans raw, dried, and powdered (in breads). Unopened flower head can be cooked and eaten like an artichoke. Petals are dried and used like saffron in Southwest.
SWEETSOP Sweet, white fleshed fruit fruit related to the cherimoya and soursop. Also known as sugar apple.
SZECHWAN PEPPER Aromatic berries with a hot flavor popular in some Chinese and Japanese dishes. Also known as fagara.
TAMARIND Tart pulp from the pod of a tamarind bean. Available in the pod, as a paste, in a brick, or as a liquid concentrate.
TARO Starchy underground vegetable similar to cassava with brown hairy skin and white grayish flesh, common to the Caribbean and Polynesia. In Hawaii the boiled, pounded tao paste called poi is a staple in the traditional diet. The large leaves are also eaten. Also known as eddo, dasheen and tannier.
TARPON Large silver fish of the herring family found off the coasts of Mexico and Central America.
TEPARY BEANS Small high-protein bean with wrinkled skin. Grows wild in the southwest United States.
TERATOGEN An agent with the potential of causing birth defects.
THIAMIN One of the B vitamins; B1
THYROXINE Hormone containing iodine that is secreted by the thyroid gland.
TI Tropical plant popular in Polynesia (not related to tea). Ti leaves are used to wrap food packets, and the root is eaten and brewed as a beverage.
TILAPIA Small freshwater fish with sweet, firm, white flesh.
TOMATILLO Small, light green, tomato-like fruit common in Mexico. The flesh is slightly tart and is eaten cooked, usually in sauces and condiments. Available fresh or canned.
TOXEMIA A complication of pregnancy charachterized by high blood pressure, edema, vomiting, presence of protein in the urine, and other symptoms.
TRANSFERRIN A protein compound, the form in which iron is transported in the blood.
TRIGLYCERIDE A lipid containing glycerol and three fartty acids.
TRUFFLE Black (French) or white (Italian) fungus found underground. Truffles very from the size of small marbles to as large as tennis balls and are distinctly flavored, similar to a wild mushroom. Available fresh or canned.
TRYPSIN A digestive enzyme, produced in the pancreas, that breaks down protein.
UGLI FRUIT Citrus fruit that is a cross between a pommelo and a mandarin orange, with a very bumpy yellow-orange skin and a sweet orange like flavor. Popular in Jamaica.
ULCER A lesion of the skin or mucous membranes characterized by inflammation and damaged tissues.
ULCERATIVE COLITIS Inflammatory bowel disease that involves the colon. Inflammation affects the mucosa and submucosa.
ULTRAFILTRATION Removal of fluids and solutes from the blood by using pressure to transfer the blood across a semipermeable membrane.
UMBILICAL CORD (um-BILL-ih-cul) The ropelike structure through which the fetus's veins and arteries reach the placenta; the route of nourishment and oxygen to the fetus and the route of waste disposal from the fetus. The scar in the middle of the abdomenthat marks the former attachment of the umbilical cord is the umbilicus (um-BILL-ih-cus), commonly referred to as the "belly button".
UNDERNUTRITION Deficient of nutrients.
UNDERWEIGHT Body weight below an accepted norm by more than 10 percent.
UNSATURATED FATTY ACID A fatty acid that lacks hydrogen atoms and has at least one double bond between carbons. Includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. An unsaturated fat is composed of triglycerides in which most of the fatty acids are unsaturated.
UNSPECIFIED EATING DISORDERS Eating disorders that do not meet the defined criteria for specific eating disorders.
UREA The main nitrogenous component of urine, resulting from the breakdown of amino acids.
UREA KINETIC MODELING A method of determining the adequacy of dialysis treatment by calculating urea clearance from the blood.
UREMIA A disease in which abnormal levels of urea accumulates in the blood. Also called azotemia (AZE-oh-TEE-me-ah).
UREMIC SYNDROME The cluster of symptoms associated with a GFR below 15 mL/min, including uremia, anemia, bone disease, hormonal imbalances, bleeding impairment, increased cardiovascular disease risk and reduced immunity.
UTERUS (YOU-ter-us) The muscular organ within which the infant develops before birth.
VAGOTOMY (vay-GOT-oh-mee) Surgery that severs the vagus nerve in order to supress gastric acid secretion. This surgery may impair gastric emptying and require an additional pyloroplasty procedure to allow drainage.
VAGUS NERVE The cranial nerve that regulates hydrochloric acid secretion and peristalsis. Effects elsewhere in the body include regulation of the heart and bronchiole constriction.
VALIDITY Having the quality of being founded on fact or evidence.
VARIABLES Factors that change. A variable may depend on other variable (e.g. a child's height depends on his age), or it may be independent (e.g. a child's height does not depend on his eye color). Sometimes both variables correlate with a third variable (a child's height and eye color both depend on his genetics).
VARICES (Var-ih-seez) Abnormally dialated blood vessels.
VARIETY (DIET) Eating a wide selection of foods within and among the food groups.
VASOCONSTRICTOR (VAS-oh-kon-STRICK-tor) A substance that constricts or narrows the blood vessels.
VEGAN A person who eats nothing derived from an animal; the strictest type of vegetarian.
VEGETARIANS A general term used to describe people who exclude meat, poultry, fish or other animal-derived foods from their diets.
VEINS Vessels that carry blood to the heart.
VERJUICE Juice of unripe lemons used in Middle Eastern fare to give a tang to dishes.
VERY LOW SODIUM 35 mg or less per serving.
VILLI (VILL-ee, VILL-eye) Fingerlike projections from the folds of the small intestine; singular villus.
VISCOUS A gel-like consistency.
VITAMIN Organic substance required by the body in small amounts to perform numerous functions.
VITAMIN A All naturally occurring compounds with the biological activity of retinol, the alcohol form of vitamin A.
VITAMIN A ACTIVITY A term reffering to both the active forms of vitamin A and the precursor forms in food without distinguishing between them.
VITAMIN B COMPLEX All known water soluble vitamins except C; includes thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), niacin, folic acid, cobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid and biotin.
VITAMIN B12 A B vitamin charachterized by the presence of cobalt. The active forms of coenzyme B12 are methylcobalamin and deoxyadenosylcobalamin.
VITAMIN B6 A family of compounds-pyridoxal, pyridoxine and pyridoxamine. The primary active coenzyme form is PLP (pyridoxal phosphate).
VLDL (VERY LOW DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN) The type of lipoprotein made primarily by liver cells to transport lipids to various tissues in the body; composed primarily of triglycerides.
VOMITING Expulsion of the contents of the stomach up through the esophagus to the mouth.
VULNERABLE PLAQUE A form of plaque, susceptible to rupture, that is lipid rich and only has only a thin fibrous barrier between the arterial lumen and the plaque's lipid core.
WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE an anthropometric measurement used to assess a person's abdominal fat.
WASABI Light green Japanese condiment from root of a plant similar to horseradish with a powerful pungency. Available fresh or powdered; geen dyed horseradish sometimes sold as wasabi.
WASTING The gradual atrophy (loss) of body tissue; associated with protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) or chronic disease.
WATER BALANCE The balance between water intake and output.
WATER CHESTNUT Aquatic, walnut size tuber with fibrous brown peel and crunchy, sweet, ivory colored flesh. Available fresh or canned.
WATER INTOXICATION The rare condition in which body water contents are too high in all body fluid compartments.
WATERMELON SEEDS Seeds often eaten in Africa (called egusi, toasted, ground or pounded into meal or paste for thickening soups and stews) and in Asia (toasted as a snack; sometimes flavored or dyed red).
WAX GOURD White, oblong fruit of a vine with starchy flesh, common in Southeast Asia.
WEAN Gradually replacing breast milk with infant formula or other foods appropriate to an infants diet.
WELL WATER Water drawn from ground water by tapping into an aquifer.
WERNICKE-KORSAKOFF SYNDROME A neurological disorder typically associated with chronic alcoholism and caused by a deficiency of the B vitamin thiamin; also called alcohol-related dementia.
WHEAT GLUTEN A family of water insoluble proteins in wheat; includes gliadin proteins that are toxic to persons with celiac disease.
WHITE BEAN Three types of white bean are widely used: the cannellini or kidney bean; Great Northern Beans, which are large, soft and mild tasting; and the smaller, firmer navy beans.
WHITE SUGAR Pure sucrose or "table sugar", produced by dissolving, concentrating and recrystallizing raw sugar.
WHOLE GRAIN A grain milled in its entirety (all but the husk), not refined.
WILD RICE Seeds of a native American grass.
WINE An alcoholic beverage made by fermenting grape juice.
WINGED BEAN Edible legume called the "soybean of the tropics". All parts of the plant are consumed, including the shoots, leaves, flowers, pods and seeds, and tuberous root. The pods are large, from 12 to 24 inches long, and feature winglike flanges.
WINTER MELON Round green skin member of the squash family with a waxy white coating and a transluescent white green or pink flesh. Taste similar to zucchini and used in Chinese dishes.
WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE Sauce developed by the Lea and Perrins company of Great Britain that includes anchovies, garlic, onions, molasses, sugar or corn sweetner, tamarind and vinegar among other ingredients.
XANTHOPHYLLS (Zan-tho-fills) Pigments found in plants; responsible for the color changes seen in autumn leaves.
XEROPHTHALMIA (zer-off-THAL-mee-uh) A progressive blindness resulting from severe Viatamin A deficiency.
XEROSIS (zee-ROW-sis) Abnormal drying of the skin and mucous membranes; a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.
XEROSTOMIA Dry mouth caused by reduced salivary flow.
YACON Sweet tasting root with brown skin and white flesh native to the Andes. Eaten throughout South America. Mistakenly called jicama. Also known as yakon or leafcup.
YAM Tuber with rough brown skin and a starchy white flesh (not related to the orange colored sweet potato called a Yam in the U.S.). Many varieties; may grow quite large, up to 100 pounds. Found in all tropical regions. Yam paste made in West Africa is known as fufu.
YERBA BUENA A variety of mint used in some Native American teas.
YOGURT Milk fermented by specific bacterial cultures.
YUCCA Spiky leaved dessert plant with large pulpy fruit that ripens in summer. Eaten fresh, boiled, baked, or dried into fruit leather.
ZAPOTE Drab colored fruit of the sapodilla tree. It has a has granular, mildly sweet flesh, which can be yellow, red or black. The zapote is a member of the persimmon family. Also known as sapodilla, black sapote, and naseberry. The sapodilla tree is also the source of chicle used in chewing gum.
ZOLLINGER-ELLISON SYNDROME A syndrome characterized by the development of gastrin- secreting tumors (gastinomas); most often located in the pancreas and duodenum.
ZYGOTE The product of the union of ovum and sperm; so-called for the first two weeks after fertilization.
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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