Diet & Nutrition Glossary: C

cadmium : A mineral substance toxic to humans found in cigarette smoke, contaminated seafood, and refined foods.

calcium: An essential mineral important for forming and maintaining bones and teeth.

calories : The amount of heat produced when food is metabolized in your body cells.

carbohydrate loading: A dietary regimen designed to increase temporarily the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles in anticipation of an athletic event.

carbohydrates : Sugar compounds that plants make when they’re exposed to light. This process of making sugar compounds is called photosynthesis, from the Latin words for “light” and “putting together.”

carbon dioxide : A waste product that you breathe out of your body.

carnitine : A nonessential amino acid that plays a role in metabolizing fat and producing energy. It is an extra amino acid not found in your body tissue, but you can manufacture it from lysine.

carotenoid : The pigments that make fruits and vegetables orange, red, and yellow. Dark green vegetables and fruits like kiwi contain these pigments, too, but green chlorophyll masks the carotenoids’ colors.

cartilage: Elastic tissue found in joints and in other parts of the body. Most of an infant’s skeleton is made of cartilage, but it changes to bone later.

cholecystokinin; CCK : A chemical that is released as food is digested and the body’s cells are fed.

cholesterol : A fatty substance that has no calories and provides no energy.

choline: A nutrient that is not a vitamin, mineral, protein, carbohydrate, or fat, but it’s usually lumped in with the B-vitamins

chondroiton sulfates: A substance that is believed to contribute to the healing of joints.

chromium: A trace mineral that helps insulin facilitate the entrance of glucose into your cells and is a requirement for energy

chylomicron: A microscopic particle, containing fats, cholesterol, phospholipids, and protein, formed in the small intestine and absorbed into the blood during digestion.

coenzyme: A substance that works along with other enzymes.

collagen : An important component of the lower layers of the skin. Good collagen support can help your skin look young and reduce wrinkling.

complete protein : A protein that contains ample amounts of all essential amino acids.

copper: This zinc-balancing mineral is important in many enzymes as well as in the production of hemoglobin, the molecule that transports oxygen. It also plays a role in the functioning of the prostate gland and the activity of the oil glands, helping prevent acne. Nerves and joints require copper for healthy functioning.

cyanocobalamin: A cobalt compound commonly used as “vitamin B12” in vitamin pills and nutritional supplements.

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