Antioxidants: Vitamins A, E, C, and many carotenoids and phytochemicals are antioxidants – scavengers of free radicals (unstable molecules). Free radicals are the by-products of normal body processes and are increased by smoking, environmental toxins, and stress. They can damage cell membranes and contribute to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help prevent cell damage.
Carcinogens: Any substance or agent that produces or causes cancer.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): A potent, naturally occurring fatty acid that acts as an anticarcinogen. It is found mainly in milk fat and dairy products and is abundant in the meat of cows and sheep.
Cruciferous vegetables: Plants from the cabbage family – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi – that contain sulforaphane and isothiocynates that appear to help stimulate the production of anticancer enzymes in the body. Indoles, also found in these foods, are not destroyed by cooking.
Free radicals: Unstable molecules formed when oxygen molecules lose an electron, thereby causing oxidative stress. These free radicals attack healthy cells in the body in the hope of finding another electron to stabilize themselves.
Functional foods: Foods that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition.
Health claim: A scientific-based claim allowed on food labels by the Food and Drug Administration. A claim must have sufficient scientific agreement among qualified health experts that it is factual and indicates a relationship between a nutrient or food and disease or health-related condition.
Phytochemicals: These naturally occurring constituents of plant foods might reduce the risk of health problems, including cancer and other chronic diseases. The investigation continues.
Phytoestrogens: A group of naturally occurring chemicals derived from plants. They have a structure similar to estrogen and block estrogen receptor sites on cells. This helps prevent potentially anticarcinogenic activity in the body.