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Glossary of good nutrition

Vegetarian or not, knowing and understanding these terms may help you in your quest for sound nutrition:

amino acids: the building blocks of protein

antioxidants: substances such as vitamins C, E and A and beta-carotene that counteract the damaging effects of oxidation in the body

beta-carotene: a plant substance that the body can convert to vitamin A

complete proteins: proteins that contain all the necessary amino acids to make a human cell

essential amino acid: an amino acid that is required for growth but cannot be made in the body (or made in adequate quantities) and therefore must come from the diet

high-quality proteins: proteins that provide most or all of the essential amino acids for humans

lacto-ovo vegetarian: a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy products

lactovegetarian: a vegetarian who does not eat eggs but eats dairy products

legumes: the pod, bean or pea of plants from the legume family, which includes peas, beans, alfalfa and peanuts

phytochemicals: substances found in fruits and vegetables that may protect against cancer

tofu: a bland, cheese-like food made from curdled soybean milk

vegan: a vegetarian who does not eat any animal products, eliminating all dairy, eggs and even honey from his or her diet

vegetarian: a person who does not eat any meat, fish or fowl