essential fatty acids
The two polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body cannot make and therefore must be eaten in foods: linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
Three fatty acids that are attached to the glycerol backbone. Also known as "fat."
Lipids made up of two fatty acids and a phosphate group attached to a glycerol backbone.
A compound that keeps two incompatible substances, such as oil and water, mixed together.
A secretion that's squirted into the small intestine to emulsify fat into smaller globules, which allows enzymes to break the fat down. Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Small transport carriers in the intestine that enable fatty acids and other compounds to be absorbed.
Watery fluid that circulates through the body in lymph vessels and eventually enters the blood.
Capsule-shaped transport carriers that enable fat and cholesterol to travel through the lymph and blood.
A type of lipoprotein that carries digested fat and other lipids through the lymph system into the blood.
very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)
A lipoprotein that delivers fat made in the liver to the tissues. VLDL remnants are converted into LDLs.
low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
A lipoprotein that deposits cholesterol in the walls of the arteries. Because this can lead to heart disease, LDL is referred to as the "bad" cholesterol carrier.
high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
A lipoprotein that removes cholesterol from the tissues and delivers it to the liver to be used as part of bile and/or to be excreted from the body. Because of this, it is known as the "good" cholesterol carrier.
Hormone-like substances in the body. Prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotriens are all these.
eicosapantaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Two omega-3 fatty acids that are heart healthy. Fatty fish such as salmon are good sources.
Adding hydrogen to an unsaturated fatty acid to make it more saturated and solid at room temperature.
trans fatty acids
Substances that result from the hydrogenating of an unsaturated fatty acid, causing a reconfiguring of some of its double bonds. A small amount of trans fatty acids occurs naturally in animal foods.
Substances that replace added fat in foods by providing the creamy properties of fat for fewer calories and fewer total fat grams.
Permanent damage to the heart muscle that results from a sudden lack of oxygen-rich blood.
A condition caused by lack of oxygen to the brain that could result in paralysis and possibly death.
The hardened buildup of cholesterol-laden foam cells, platelets, cellular waste products, and calcium in the arteries that results in atherosclerosis.
normal blood pressure
Less than 120 mm Hg (systolic - the top number) and less than 80 mm Hg (diastolic - the bottom number). Referred to as 120/80.
Naturally occurring sterols found in plants. Phytosterols lower LDL cholesterol levels by competing with cholesterol for absorption in the intestinal tract.