17 beta-estradiol —most potent mammalian estrogenic hormone; can be carcinogenic in cancers that are hormone-related

ACE inhibitors— found in whey protein; reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health

acetylcholine —major neurotransmitter in the body; needed for memory and healthy brain function

acetylenics —component of celery that stops the growth of cancer cells

aldosterone —adrenal hormone that can raise blood pressure

allicin —active ingredient in garlic; produced from interaction between alliin and allinase

alliin —amino acid found in garlic

allinase —enzyme found in garlic; its action on the amino acid alliin produces allicin

allyl isothiocyanate —breakdown product of sinigrin believed to play a role in the prevention of tumors and suppression of tumor growth

alpha-carotene —carotenoid that converts in the body to vitamin A

alpha-lactalbumin —protein fraction with important disease-fighting effects; found in whey protein

alpha-linolenic acid —omega-3 fatty acid that helps reduce inflammation

amino acids —molecules that link together to form proteins

anethole —compound that gives fennel its licorice flavor

anthocyanins —pigment molecules that make blueberries blue, red cabbage and cherries red; improve vision and brain function; guard against macular degeneration; help the body relieve inflammation

anthraquinone —compound in noni fruit that stimulates the synthesis of collagen and may be an antiwrinkle agent

antiemetic —having the property of preventing nausea and vomiting

antimutagen —substance that interferes with cell-changing agents from starting cancer

antioxidants —compounds in food that help fight the process of oxidation, or oxidative stress, a factor in virtually every degenerative disease

antiplatelet activity —helps prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together, thus warding off heart attack or stroke

apoptosis —natural death of cancer cells

arginine —amino acid touted for its role in protecting the inner lining of the arterial walls, making them more pliable and less susceptible to atherogenesis

astaxanthin —natural carotenoid that prevents lipid peroxidation and assists in mending DNA breakdown products; found in salmon

atherosclerosis —disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries, causing them to harden and narrow

avenanthramides —polyphenol antioxidants unique to oats; believed to have anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy properties

beta-carotene —carotenoid that converts in the body to vitamin A

beta-cryptoxanthin —orange-yellow carotenoid that may lower the risk of lung cancer

betacyanin —compound that gives red color to beets

beta-glucans —polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system; e.g., beta-1,6 glucan and beta-1,3 glucan

betaine —metabolite that works synergistically with folate to reduce potentially toxic levels of homocysteine; also known as trimethylglycine (TMG)

beta-lactoglobulin —protein fraction with important disease-fighting effects; found in whey protein

beta-sitosterol —plant compound shown to significantly lower blood cholesterol and protect the prostate

boron —mineral that may be important for bone and joint health, particularly in women

bran —the main source of fiber in whole grains; can also contain nutrients

bromelain —proteolytic enzyme that breaks down amino acids; relieves indigestion; is often extracted from pineapple

butyric acid —fatty acid with antiviral and anticancer properties; raises the level of interferon in the body

caffeic acid —strong antioxidant found in coffee and rosemary; has anti- inflammatory properties

caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) —active compound in bee propolis known to have anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties

capric acid —medium-chain triglyceride formed into monocaprin in the human body; found in coconut

capsaicin —active ingredient in hot peppers; common ingredient in pain-relieving creams; vasodilator

carminative —agent that induces the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines

carotenoid —antioxidant compound found in plants; associated with a wide range of health benefits

carvacrol —compound with antifungal, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties; found in oregano and thyme

catechins —very powerful group of polyphenols; found in green tea and cinnamon

chalcone polymers —phytochemicals in cinnamon that increase glucose metabolism in the cells

charantin —compound found in bitter melon that may have antidiabetic properties

chlorogenic acid —antioxidant particularly effective against a destructive free radical called the superoxide anion radical; found in sweet potatoes, apples, and coffee

chlorophyll —substance that makes plants appear green; a natural blood purifier

choline —nutrient found in eggs, needed for healthy brain and liver function and fat breakdown; forms betaine in the body

chromium —trace mineral that helps insulin function

citrate —compound that may help fight kidney stones

conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) —trans fat found naturally in grass-fed dairy and meat

cortisol —adrenal hormone with anti-inflammatory properties

COX-2 inhibitors —drugs that block pain and inflammation messages in the body

C-reactive protein —found in the blood; used as a measure of inflammation

crustacean —only group of arthropods that is primarily marine

cucurbitacins —chemicals in pumpkin seeds that may interfere with production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a metabolic by-product of testosterone

curcumin —antioxidant and curcuminoid; has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects; has positive effect on cholesterol

curcuminoids —family of compounds thought to be most responsible for turmeric’s medicinal effects and bright yellow color

cyclooxygenase —a compound produced in the body in two or more forms, called COX-1 and COX-2

diallyl disulfide —compound in garlic found to inhibit leukemia cells in a test tube

diallyl sulfide —compound found in onions that increases the body’s production of an important cancer-fighting enzyme

dihydrotestosterone —testosterone metabolite partly responsible for hair loss and benign prostate hyperplasia

diosgenin —phytochemical in beans that appears to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying

diterpene —health-promoting plant compound found in rosemary

dithiolethiones —anticancer phytochemicals found in cabbage

dopamine —feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain

eicosanoids —minihormones that control metabolic processes in the body; also called prostaglandins

ellagic acid —a naturally occurring phenolic known to be anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic; found in cherries and red raspberries; shown to inhibit tumor growth

enterodiol —breakdown product of lignan in the gut that interferes with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen

enterolactone —breakdown product of lignan in the gut that interferes with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen

epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) —catechin believed to be responsible for the anticancer effects of green tea

eritadenine —active compound in shiitake mushrooms that lowers blood cholesterol

erucic acid —a fatty acid that has been associated with Keshan’s disease

essential fatty acids —healthy fats that must be obtained through diet; support many healthy body functions

eugenol —phytochemical with antimicrobial activity that can help stop the growth of bacteria and fungi

fiber —component of food; associated with lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer; soluble and insoluble forms

fibrin —sticky, weblike fibers that the body produces to form a structure that stops excess bleeding

fibrinogen —substance in the body that can cause blood clots and strokes

flavonoids —plant compounds with antioxidant, anticancer, and antiallergy properties; more than 4,000 have been identified

flavanols —flavonoids found in cocoa; prevent fatlike substances in the bloodstream from clogging the arteries and modulate nitric acid

folate —B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects and helps bring down homocysteine levels

free radicals —destructive molecules in the body; can damage cells and DNA

French paradox —fact that the French have less heart disease than Americans, despite eating far more high-fat foods

fructooligosaccharides —food for good gut bacteria; help maintain healthy gut ecology; also called prebiotics

fucoidan —polysaccharide believed to have anticancer activity; found in kombu and wakame

furocoumarins —compounds found in grapefruit; inhibit a key enzyme that metabolizes and regulates certain drugs; reason to avoid taking drugs with grapefruit juice

gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) —important “good” omega-6 found in hemp seed, primrose, and borage oils; also called GLA

gamma-tocopherol —component of vitamin E that neutralizes the perioxynitrite radical, which destroys cellular endothelial membranes

ganodermic acid —component of reishi mushrooms; benefits blood pressure and liver and adrenal function

geraniol —phytochemical with antimicrobial activity that can help stop the growth of bacteria and fungi

germ —the smallest portion of a grain, rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber

gingerdiones —antioxidant and active ingredient in ginger

gingerol —phytochemical responsible for the pungent taste of ginger

glucose tolerance factor (GTF) —helps regulate blood sugar levels; found in brewer’s yeast

glucosinolates —phytonutrients that are parent molecules of substances that increase human resistance to cancer

glutathione —one of the body’s premier antioxidants; required for replication of the lymphocyte immune cells

glutathione-S-transferase —important cancer-fighting enzyme

glycemic index —measure of how much a given food (such as fruit) raises blood sugar

glycemic load —measure of a food’s effect on blood sugar that accounts for portion size

glycolipids —substances in butter with anti-infective properties

glycyrrhizin —member of the saponin family and the active ingredient in licorice

goitrogens —naturally occurring substances that suppress thyroid function

haemagglutinin —clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together; found in soybeans

hesperidin —predominant flavonoid in oranges; strengthens capillaries; has anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, vasoprotective, and anticarcinogenic actions

homocysteine —naturally occurring amino acid that can harm blood vessels, thereby contributing to the development of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and peripheral vascular disease

host defenses potentiators (HDP) —compounds used as adjunctive cancer treatments throughout Asia; also found in cell structures of mushrooms

husk —inedible outer layer of a grain kernel; also called chaff

hydroxyl radicals —dangerous free radicals

immunoglobulin —protein fraction with important disease-fighting effects; found in whey

indoles —phytochemicals DIM and indole-3-carbinole; protective against prostate, gastric, skin, and breast cancers

inflammation —critical component of virtually all degenerative diseases

insoluble fiber —indigestible part of foods that moves bulk through the intestines

insulin —fat-storing hormone that, if raised high enough, long enough, and often enough, contributes to diabetes, heart disease, and aging

inulin —naturally occurring soluble fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut and helps support gastrointestinal health

isoflavones —phytochemicals in soy foods that may help ease menopause symptoms

isothiocyanates —phytonutrients that neutralize carcinogens, reduce their poisonous effect, and stimulate the release of other substances that help combat them

lauric acid —fat that is antiviral, antimicrobial, and important for immune function; found in coconut oil

lecithin —nutritional supplement that is 10 to 20 percent phosphatidylcholine

lectins —substances contained in legumes and grains that originally evolved to fight off insect predators; some lectins can bind with body tissues and create problems

L-ergothioneine —powerful antioxidant in mushrooms that neutralizes free radicals and increases enzymes with antioxidant activity

lignans —plant compounds with protective effect against cancers, especially those that are hormone-sensitive, such as those of the breast, uterine, and prostate

limonene —phytochemical that boosts the body’s synthesis of an enzyme that has antioxidant properties and helps detoxify chemicals; found in citrus fruit peels

limonin —limonoid in lemon that seems to be able to lower cholesterol

limonoids —phytochemicals abundant in citrus fruit that account for the scent of fresh lemon or orange peel

linoleic acid —essential fatty acid with anticancer properties; also called omega-6 fatty acid

lipid peroxidation —process by which fats turn rancid

lutein —carotenoid that is a natural antioxidant and maintains eye and skin health

luteolin —flavonoid found in artichokes that prevents LDL oxidation

lycopene —carotenoid associated with lower risk of prostate cancer; found in tomatoes

lysine —amino acid found in quinoa; scarce in the vegetable kingdom

macrophages —white blood cells that devour foreign invaders like fungi and bacteria

magnesium —mineral that helps lower high blood pressure

malic acid —substance in vinegar important for fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria

manganese —trace mineral essential for growth; reproduction; wound healing; brain function; and metabolism of sugars, insulin, and cholesterol

medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) —healthy class of fatty acids; e.g., lauric acid

metabolite —by-product of the body’s metabolic processes

methylhydroxychalcone polymer —active ingredient in cinnamon; seems to mimic insulin function, increasing glucose uptake by cells and signaling certain kinds of cells to turn glucose into glycogen

molybdenum —enzyme-enhancing mineral found in red kidney beans

monocaprin —by-product of capric acid shown to have antiviral effects

monoterpine —plant compound found in rosemary

monounsaturated fats —fats central to the Mediterranean diet, associated with lower rates of heart disease; found in nuts and olive oil; also called omega-9s

mucopolysaccharides —complex sugars mixed with amino acids, simple sugars, and sometimes protein; make up the cell walls of spirulina

myricetin —common flavonoid that may have anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidant properties; found in raisins

myristicin —volatile oil in parsley that may inhibit tumors

nacre —combination of calcium and protein with which oysters coat any irritating sand or grit that gets trapped within their shells

nasunin —anthocyanin that is a powerful antioxidant; found in eggplant

nattokinase —fibrinolytic enzyme that can help reduce and prevent clots; found in natto

neochlorogenic acid —phytonutrient found in plums and prunes that is particularly effective against a destructive free radical called the superoxide anion radical

neopterin —substance found in humans that appears to play an important role in the immune system; isolated from royal jelly

neoxanthin —carotenoid in spinach that causes prostate cancer cells to self-destruct

nitric oxide —compound in the body that helps relax constricted blood vessels and ease blood flow; synthesized from arginine

nobiletin —citrus flavonoid that may prevent atherosclerosis

octacosanol —compound in wheat germ oil that might help with exercise performance

oleic acid —omega-9 fat found in high amounts in olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and many nuts; increases the incorporation of omega-3 fatty acids into the cell membrane

omega-3 fats —ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), found in flaxseed; DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid), found in fish such as wild salmon; keep cell membranes fluid

ORAC value —oxygen radical absorbance capacity; rating system for antioxidant power not used anymore

organosulfur compounds —anticancer substances found in kale

oryzanol —component of brown rice found in its oil that aids in its cholesterol-lowering effect

osteocalcin —compound that anchors calcium molecules inside the bone; activated by vitamin K

oxalate —substance that inhibits calcium absorption

oxidize —damage with free radicals

oxymel —combination of apple cider vinegar and honey widely used to dissolve painful calcium deposits in the body

palmitic acid —fat found in chocolate; shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts

pantothenic acid —vitamin B5; found in peanuts; stress reliever

papain —one of a class of enzymes called proteolytic enzymes that help break down or digest protein; extracted from papaya and used in digestive enzyme supplements as well as in enzyme supplements used for pain

PCB —polychlorinated biphenyl, a toxin that is sometimes found in farm-raised salmon

p-coumaric acid —polyphenol studied for its antioxidant abilities and its potential as an anticancer agent

pectin —type of fiber that helps relieve constipation, reduce cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar; found in apples and quince

perillyl alcohol —compound that may inhibit tumor growth; found in cherries

phase-2 enzymes —substances that can disarm damaging free radicals and help fight cancer-causing carcinogens

phenethyl isothiocyanate —compound found in cruciferous vegetables that may have anticancer effects

phenolic compounds —natural antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body that are thought to be linked to most chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; most belong to the flavonoid group

phenols —plant chemicals that are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents; also known as phenolic acids

phenylbutazone —anti-inflammatory medicine with effects similar to those of curcumin

phloridzin —phytochemical found in apples that contributes to antioxidant power

phosphatidylcholine —phospholipid with choline as a component; found in eggs; helps keep fat and cholesterol from accumulating in the liver

phthalides —phytochemicals found in celery that increase blood flow and reduce level of stress hormones

phycocyanin —pigment found in spirulina with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; may inhibit cancer-colony formation

phytates —substances that block the absorption of minerals; found in grains and soy foods

phytic acid —phytochemical in beans that can protect cells from genetic damage that leads to cancer

phytoalexins —chemical substances produced by plants as a defense against pathogenic microorganisms

phytoene —antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes; along with zera-carotene and phytofluene believed to have strong disease-fighting potential

phytoestrogens —weak estrogenic compounds from plants

phytofluene —antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes; along with phytoene and zera-carotene, believed to have strong disease-fighting potential

phytonutrients —nutrients from plants

phytosterols —plant chemicals with numerous health benefits, including lowering cholesterol; also called plant sterols

plant sterols —plant chemicals with numerous health benefits, including lowering cholesterol; also called phytosterols

plasmin —enzyme in the body that dissolves and breaks down fibrin to help prevent blood clots

polyacetylenes —plant compounds that help protect against carcinogens; found in parsnips

polyglutamic acid —compound that makes natto sticky and increases the natural moisturizing factor in skin

polyphenols —powerful antioxidants, many of which have anticancer activity; include flavonoids, anthocyanins, and isoflavones; help protect cells from oxidative stress

polysaccharide —long string of glucose molecules

polyunsaturated fats —large class of fatty acids with many members, including both omega-3s and omega-6s; found in vegetable oils, nuts, and fish

proanthocyanidins —plant compounds helpful in preventing degenerative disease; powerful antioxidants that are several times more potent than vitamins C and E; help protect against the effects of internal and environmental stresses (e.g., cigarette smoking, pollution)

probiotics —good bacteria with positive effects in the digestive system; found in yogurt and naturally fermented foods

prostaglandins —minihormones that control metabolic processes in the body; also called eicosanoids

protease inhibitor —phytochemical in beans that slows the division of cancer cells

proteolytic enzymes —enzymes that break down the amino acid bonds in protein

pterostilbene —powerful antioxidant that is known to lower cholesterol and fight cancer

purines —substances that break down to uric acid in the body; found in cauliflower

quercetin —flavonoid that is a natural anti-inflammatory and has anticancer effects

resistant starch —a type of fiber that serves as food for the good bacteria in your gut

resveratrol —compound found in red wine and the skin of dark grapes; associated with antiaging effects, reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, and reduced risk for cancer

rhizome —the part of the turmeric plant that is consumed

rhodopsin —purple pigment in the eye; needed for vision in dim light

rosmarinic acid —phenolic acid that is found in oregano and rosemary; has antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties

rutin —bioflavonoid found in asparagus; helps protect blood vessels

saponin —health-promoting components of vegetables and legumes with strong biological activity, including acting as natural antibiotics; may have anticancer properties

saturated fats —good form found in coconut oil, bad form in fast-food, such as french fries

selenium —essential trace element with protective effect against cancer; found in Brazil nuts and chickpeas

serotonin —feel-good neurotransmitter; helps boost mood and lower sugar cravings

sesamin —member of the lignan family; found in sesame seeds; inhibits the manufacture of inflammatory compounds in the body

sesaminol —phenolic antioxidant; formed when sesame seeds are refined into oil

sesamol —powerful antioxidant found in sesame oil and toasted sesame oil

sesamolin —member of the lignan family; found in sesame seeds

sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) —compound that binds to estrogen and helps remove it from the body

shogaols —antioxidant and active ingredient in ginger; have anti-inflammatory properties

silicon —important nutrient for bone health; found in celery

silymarin —plant compound that helps protect and nourish the liver; found in milk thistle and artichokes

sinigrin —chemical found in Brussels sprouts that suppresses the development of precancerous cells

sodium alginate —compound present in strong brown algae; may reduce the uptake of radioactive particles into bones

solanine —compound found in eggplant and other nightshades; may aggravate osteoarthritis

soluble fiber —breaks down as it passes though the digestive tract, forming a gel that traps some substances related to high cholesterol; helps control blood sugar by delaying the emptying of the stomach and retarding the entry of sugar into the bloodstream

stearic acid —fat found in dark chocolate that has a neutral effect on the body

steroidal glycosides —compound found in asparagus root; affects hormone production and possibly and has influence emotions

sterols —fats that serve as the basic molecule for important hormones such as the sex hormones

substance P —chemical that transmits pain messages to the brain

sulfides —smelly sulfur compounds found in onions; may help lower lipids and blood pressure

sulforaphane —member of the isothiocyanate family that protects against prostate, gastric, skin, and breast cancers; found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts

sulfoxides —sulfur compounds found in onions

superoxide dismutase (SOD) —important antioxidant enzyme found in cereal grasses

tannins —group of chemicals in red wine and tea that can cause astringent taste

taraxasterol —hormone-balancing constituent of dandelion

taraxerol —hormone-balancing constituent of dandelion

tartaric acid —found in vinegar; important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria

telomerase —enzyme that “immortalizes” cancer cells by maintaining the end portions of the tumor cell chromosomes

terpenoids —component of licorice

theaflavin —antioxidant in black tea

theanine —substance in green tea that induces the release of a neurotransmitter with a calming effect; triggers the release of dopamine in the brain

thearubigen —antioxidant in black tea

thiosulfinates —smelly sulfur compound found in onions

thujone —compound found in oil of sage that is effective against both Salmonella and Candida

thymol —powerful antiseptic with antifungal, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties; found in oregano and thyme

tocopherols —beneficial plant compounds found in olives; part of the vitamin E family

tocotrienols —potent antioxidants and heart-healthy nutrients; found in palm oil extracted from palm fruits; part of the vitamin E family

trans fat —considered metabolic poison, with the exception of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid); partially hydrogenated oil

triglyceride —blood fat that is a risk factor for heart disease

triterpenoids —beneficial component of reishi mushrooms

turmeric —anti-inflammatory spice

tyrosine —amino acid found in oysters that the brain converts to dopamine

umbelliferous —vegetable group that the National Cancer Institute has identified as possessing cancer- protective properties; includes parsnips and parsley

urushinol —toxic resin that can cause contact dermatitis; found in mangoes

xenohormones —toxins that cause hormone disruption

zeaxanthin —carotenoid that is important for eye health

zera-carotene —antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes; along with phytoene and phytofluene believed to have strong disease-fighting potential

zingerone —antioxidant and active ingredient in ginger; has anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in a nutritional program for arthritis and/or fibromyalgia

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