Nutrition A-Z: Guide to the nutritional components of foods

Allyl Sulphides

These phytochemicals are found in the onion-family plants – onions, leek, spring onions, chives, shallot, and garlic. Allyl sulphides are sulphur components that seem to suppress cholesterol production and lower blood pressure; they may also have cancer-fighting properties in that they may deactivate certain hormones which promote turmor growth.

Beta carotene

The most common of the 600 or more carotenoids, beta carotene gives colour to carrots, spanspek and other orange and yellow fruits and vegetable.

Caffeine

A natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, colas and, to a lesser extent chocolate.

Dietary Fibre

The parts of food from plant sources (fruits, vegetable, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds) that we eat, but for the most part cannot digest.

Ellagic acid

Found in strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and some other fruits, nuts and vegetables, this phytochemical shows promise as a cancer preventive through its ability to inactivate carcinogens and inhibit the formation of free radicals.

FAT

One of the three macronutrients found in the food we eat.

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IODINE

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MACRONUTRIENTS

The food components – proteins, carbohydrates and fats – from which we get energy.

NIACIN

one of the B Vitamins (vitamin B3), niacin is important in the body’s production of energy from food. It is also required for normal growth and the synthesis of DNA (genetic material).

OMEGA-3

This term describes two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The preeminent source of omega-3 fatty acids in seafood.

PANTOTHENIC ACID

This B vitamin helps the body convert food into energy. It plays a role in synthesizing hormones and other body chemicals. The deficiencies of pantothenic acids are virtually unknown.

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RIBOFLAVIN

This is B vitamin (B2), found in dairy products, lean meat, eggs, nut, legumes, leafy green vegetable and enriched loaves of bread and cereals. It plays essential roles in the production of red blood cells, energy production and growth.

SAPONINS

Phytochemicals found in potatoes, onions, leeks, garlic and other vegetables, as well as legumes. Saponins are Antioxidants that may reduce blood cholesterol and fight cancer.

THIAMIN

One of the B vitamins(B1), thiamin helps the body transform food into energy.

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VITAMINS

These nutrients, required by the body in minute amounts, are organic compounds that regulate reactions taking place in the body.

WATER

Although not a nutrient, water plays a vital role in many body processes, making possible the function of every cell and organ.

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ZINC

An important mineral with many functions, zinc is involved in cell division, repair and growth, as well as immune function.