20 Common Health Buzzwords, Defined

In a health obsessed world, we’re constantly bombarded with fad diets and buzzwords like omega 3s, probiotics, fiber rich, and more — all which are thrown around like nobody’s business. But do you actually know what people are saying when they claim that eating superfoods is healthy for you?

My guess is no, so I’ve done the hard work for you (shout out to various government and campaign sites including the CDC, the Non-GMO Project and the Whole Grain Council). Here are all those buzzwords so you don’t have to incessantly google what your friend can/can’t eat these days. You’re welcome.




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A person who’s primarily vegetarian but occasionally eats meat and fish. Basically a person who’s tryna give up meat but can’t help him/herself here and there.



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A person who rejects consumerism and seeks to help the environment. You may find a freegan digging in the garbage looking to recycle and reuse food. #SaveTheEarth



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A person who only eats fruit a la Steve Jobs. Now tell me how you’re gonna survive off of apples and bananas 24/7?

Gluten Free


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When a person avoids all foods containing gluten. (If you didn’t know that gluten is protein, keep reading/welcome to 2015.) If you’re gluten free cause you have Celiac disease, you’re excused. But if you’re avoiding pizza, pasta and pie cause you don’t eat wheat, you can leave now.

Meatless Monday


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An international campaign encouraging people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Alright, I’ll admit it, maybe there is some good to this one.



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A diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans. This includes meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Say goodbye to dairy, grain products and processed food. Go ahead, find your inner caveman.



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A person who doesn’t eat meat besides fish and seafood. Is there really any point in eating fish but not chicken?

Raw Foodism


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Following a raw food diet means you only eat uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on how strict you are, your diet may include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat and dairy products. Now tell me how you’re gonna eat raw beef and not cook your eggs? Yeah, didn’t think so.



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A person who doesn’t eat or use animal products. I guess you’ll have to part with cheese, my friend.



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A person who doesn’t eat meat, and sometimes other animal products. Now if it’s for moral, religious or real health reasons I feel you — but otherwise, just enjoy yourself.




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Kudos to you if you know what antioxidants really are. But if you don’t, antioxidants are vitamins and other nutrients that help protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are byproducts of digestion and toxins found in the environment that can lead to cancer and heart disease. So, lucky you, the next time you hear, “Blueberries are healthy because they have lots of antioxidants,” you’ll actually know why.



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Cholesterol is a type of fat that’s found in your blood. You can get it from foods like meat, eggs or dairy but your liver also makes this ish.

There are also two types of cholesterol. LDL, short for low density lipoproteins, is what you wanna keep low cause they can clog your blood vessels, causing all sorts of health problems. No bueno. HDL stands for high density lipoproteins and is known as “the good cholesterol.” Basically it finds and kills LDL. And, yes people, you do need some of this fat in your body cause it helps your organs grow and function.

Fatty Acids


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Fatty acids are the building blocks of all fats in our bodies and in our food. Essentially, when you eat fat your body breaks it down into fatty acids so that it can be absorbed into your blood.

They’re important to us because they have a high amount of calories, or energy, which you don’t need if you wanna die.



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You’ve probably seen on all sorts of cereal boxes and energy bars that they are a “good source of fiber.” But do you know really know why?

Well, first off, fiber is a carb, and to tell you the truth your body can’t even digest it. It basically just passes through your gut. The reason it’s good for you though is because it actually helps regulate your body’s use of sugars. Basically it helps to keep hunger and blood sugar in check, so it’s actually not useless after all.



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Okay people, before you swear off cakes, pastries, breads, and more, just so ya know gluten is a protein. Yes, A PROTEIN.

Gluten is made up of two other proteins called glutenin and galiadin and these help breads rise and stay elastic yet firm. Get it? Good.



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I’m not sure if you’ve heard of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, but there’s been a hot debate around these recently.

Basically GMOs are any organism that’s had its genetic material altered using mad complicated science. And while they’ve been helpful in feeding people who don’t have enough food, there’s also an uproar about how they’re really bad for you health. Pros and cons man, pros and cons.



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You probably know that chia seeds, açai, kale, goji berries and all these mega healthy foods are categorized as superfoods. But why are they sooooo super?

Simply, superfoods are just foods that are nutrient-rich and particularly beneficial for your health and well-being. And that’s that.

Omega 3s


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If you remember anything I said about fatty acids above, omega 3s are fatty acids. But more than that, they are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Say whaaaat? Well, when fat is polyunsaturated it just means that at room temp the fat’s gonna be liquid. Think vegetable or fish oil, not butter.

Oh, and might I add these are good for ya because they reduce inflammation and may lower your chance of getting heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Woop woop.



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Probiotics… like yogurt, right? Well, kinda.

Probiotics are actually living organisms like bacteria and yeast found in things like yogurt and kefir. These lil guys are the good kind though because they help with digestion by keeping your gut healthy and preventing diseases.

Whole grains


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Let me break this down for ya. First and foremost, cereal grains are seeds from the grass fam and they include things like corn, wheat, oats, rice, quinoa and more. Now if you went to a farm and dissected these grains you’d notice that they have different body parts, per say. These include the husk, bran, endosperm and germ.

Now let me get to my point. Things like whole wheat bread, steel cut oats, popcorn and brown rice are all whole grains. This is because they contain all the body parts, besides the husk, or outer shell, which gets you the most bang for your buck, nutrient wise.

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