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Aggregated definitions of terms used on Fruitarian's Network. A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term - a word, a phrase, or a set of other symbols.
Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products, one of the basic food groups.
Sugar is the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. They are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (or dextrose), fructose, and galactose. The table sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose - hydrolyses into fructose and glucose in the body. Other disaccharides include maltose and lactose. Longer chains of sugars are called oligosaccharides.
Starch is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants as an energy store. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets and is contained in large amounts in staple foods such as potatoes, wheat, maize (corn), rice. Pure starch is a white, tasteless and odorless powder that is insoluble in cold water or alcohol.
Fiber is consists of non-starch polysaccharides such as arabinoxylans, cellulose, and many other plant components such as resistant starch, resistant dextrins, inulin, lignin, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans, and oligosaccharides, and are derived from plants. Dietary fibers are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, changes as it goes through the digestive tract, where it is fermented by bacteria, partially into physiologically active byproducts - healthful compounds. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and stays intact as it moves through your digestive system, can be prebiotic and metabolically ferment in the large intestine. Dietary fibers can change absorption of other nutrients and chemicals. Some soluble plant fibers can modulate intestinal inflammation and are contrabiotic. Many types of so-called dietary fiber are not actually fibrous.
Nutrient - a substance that provides essential nourishment for growth and the maintenance of life.
Foods are composed chiefly of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water represent virtually all the weight of food. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins comprise 90% of the dry weight of foods.
Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia (or Metazoa). All animals can move spontaneously and independently at some point in their lives. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their lives. All animals are heterotrophs: they must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance.
Grains are small, hard, dry seeds, with or without attached hulls or fruit layers, harvested for human or animal consumption. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals (e.g. wheat, rye) and legumes (e.g. beans, soybeans). Seeds
After being harvested, dry grains are more durable than other staple foods, such as starchy fruits (e.g. plantains, breadfruit) and tubers (e.g. sweet potatoes, cassava). This durability has made grains well suited to industrial agriculture, since they can be mechanically harvested, transported, stored for long periods, and milled for flour or pressed for oil. Major global commodity markets exist for canola, maize, rice, soybeans, wheat, and other grains but not for tubers, vegetables, or other crops.
Seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants. Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and success of gymnosperms and angiosperms plants, that now dominate biological niches on land.
The term "seed" also has a general meaning of anything that can be sown, e.g. "seed" potatoes (tubers), "seeds" of corn or sunflower "seeds".
Many structures commonly referred to as "seeds" are actually dry fruits. Different groups of plants have other modifications, the so-called stone fruits (such as the peach) have a hardened fruit layer (the endocarp) fused to and surrounding the actual seed.
Nuts are the one-seeded, hard-shelled fruit of some plants with an indehiscent seed (acorn, hazelnut).
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Carotenoids are a class of more than 750 pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These richly colored molecules are the sources of the yellow, orange, and red colors of many plants. Fruit and vegetables provide most of the 40 to 50 carotenoid phytonutrients found in the human diet.
The most common carotenoids in North American diets are α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Provitamin A carotenoids - α-carotene, β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin - can be converted by the body to retinol (vitamin A), but not lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Dietary lutein and zeaxanthin help maintain optimal visual function - they absorb damaging blue light that enters the eye.
The results of observational studies suggest that diets high in carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables are associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. But high-dose β-carotene supplements did not.