Vocabulary for Food and Health

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Food plays a vital role in our lives, not only in terms of satisfying our taste buds but also in maintaining our health and well-being. So here is the list of healthy food and some dangerous foods that might surprise you. 
Food Vocabulary

Describing the Definition of a Healthy Diet

Understanding different dietary patterns and their associated vocabulary is essential for making informed choices about nutrition and health. Here are some key terms to familiarize yourself with.

  • Mediterranean diet: A dietary pattern inspired by the traditional eating habits of people in Mediterranean countries, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil.
  • Ketogenic diet: A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.
  • Vegan: A person who follows a plant-based diet and avoids all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs.
  • Paleo diet: A diet based on the presumed eating habits of early humans, focusing on lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds while avoiding processed foods, grains, legumes, and dairy.
  • Gluten-free diet: A diet that excludes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, primarily followed by individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
  • Vegetarian: A person who abstains from eating meat but may consume animal products such as dairy, eggs, and honey.
  • Flexitarian: A semi-vegetarian diet that primarily consists of plant-based foods but allows for occasional consumption of meat and animal products.
  • DASH diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, a balanced eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products to reduce high blood pressure.
  • Atkins diet: A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet that promotes weight loss by inducing a state of ketosis.
  • Intermittent fasting: An eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, with various methods such as 16/8 (16 hours fasting, 8-hour eating window) or alternate-day fasting.

By expanding your knowledge of these diverse dietary approaches, you can easily discuss nutrition and healthy lifestyle with friends.

Words for Obesity

Here are some important terms related to weight to familiarize yourself with.

  • Obesity: The condition of being excessively overweight, often resulting from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
  • Body mass index (BMI): A numerical value derived from an individual's weight and height, used to assess if a person falls within a healthy weight range.
  • Overweight: Having a body weight greater than what is considered healthy or normal for height and build.
  • Calorie: A unit of energy derived from food and beverages, either burned as fuel or stored as fat in the body.
  • Sedentary: A lifestyle characterized by minimal physical activity or exercise, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
  • Binge eating: Consuming a large amount of food in a short period, often accompanied by a lack of control over eating behavior.
  • Body fat percentage: The proportion of fat tissue in the body can indicate overall health and risk of obesity-related diseases.
  • Waist circumference: The measurement around the waist, used to indicate abdominal fat accumulation and associated health risks.
  • Portion control: Monitoring and limiting the amount of food consumed to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Metabolism: The complex biochemical processes in the body that convert food into energy and facilitate various bodily functions.

Understanding concepts such as BMI, calorie intake, and metabolism will help you to discuss some problems or suggestions related to a healthy lifestyle.


Words for Dangerous Foods

Understanding the vocabulary associated with unhealthy food components and processing techniques is crucial for making informed dietary choices and promoting overall well-being.

  • Trans fat: An unhealthy type of fat created through hydrogenation and is commonly found in processed and fried foods.
  • Sodium: A mineral present in table salt and many processed foods; excessive sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Added sugars: Sugars added to food and beverages during processing or preparation, often providing empty calories without nutritional value.
  • Processed foods: Foods that have undergone significant alterations during manufacturing and typically contain added preservatives, sweeteners, or unhealthy fats.
  • Artificial additives: Synthetic substances added to food products to enhance flavor, texture, or shelf life, which may have negative health implications.
  • High-fructose corn syrup: A sweetener derived from corn commonly added to processed foods and linked to obesity and other health issues.
  • Translucent: Describing foods that allow light to pass through, indicating a lower nutritional value or higher processing level.
  • Nitrites and nitrates: Preservatives commonly used in processed meats associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
  • Fast food: Quick-service meals, typically high in calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugars.
  • Carbonated beverages: Soft drinks that contain carbonation, often sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners, which can contribute to weight gain and tooth decay.

Now you can better navigate the complex landscape of processed foods.

Cook Healthy Food Words

Mastering cooking techniques and understanding culinary terms empowers individuals to create healthier and more delicious meals:

  • Poaching: Cooking food gently in a liquid, usually water or broth, results in tender and moist dishes without adding fats.
  • Whole grain: Foods made from grains that have retained their bran, germ, and endosperm, providing higher fiber content and nutrients compared to refined grains.
  • Broth-based soup: Soups made with a clear, flavorful broth, vegetables, and lean proteins, providing a nutrient-rich and low-calorie option.
  • Oven-baked: Cooking food in the oven, using dry heat without or with minimal added fat, resulting in healthier and delicious dishes.
  • Saute: Quickly cooking food in a small amount of oil or fat over medium to high heat, often using a skillet or frying pan.
  • Grilling: Cooking food directly over an open flame or on a gril, producing a charred and smoky flavor without the need for added fats.
  • Broiling: Cooking food under direct heat in the oven, often on a rack, allowing excess fats to drip away while giving a crispy texture to the food.
  • Baking: Cooking food in an oven using dry heat, resulting in evenly cooked and flavorful dishes without the need for excessive fats.
  • Steaming: Cooking food by suspending it over boiling water, allowing it to cook through the steam, preserving nutrients and flavors.
  • Boiling: Cooking food in a liquid at its boiling point, commonly used for vegetables, pasta, or grains, but may result in some nutrient loss.
  • Blanching: Briefly immersing food in boiling water, then transferring it to cold water to halt the cooking process, often used to retain color, texture, and nutrients.
  • Roasting: Cooking food in the oven with dry heat, typically at higher temperatures, resulting in a flavorful and crispy exterior while preserving moisture.
  • Broths and stocks: Flavorful liquids made by simmering vegetables, meats, or bones in water, used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Slow cooking: A method of cooking food over a low heat for an extended period, allowing flavors to develop and tenderizing tougher cuts of meat.

By incorporating methods such as poaching, oven-baking, or sautéing, you can elevate the cooking vocabulary easier.

Common Phrases for Diets

Some of these phrases will help you to make well-informed decisions about your dietary choices and overall well-being.

  • "Counting calories": Keeping track of the number of calories consumed to manage or lose weight.
  • "Eating in moderation": Practicing portion control and not overindulging in any particular food or food group.
  • "Cutting out carbs": Restricting or reducing the intake of carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and rice, often as part of a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
  • "Going vegetarian/vegan": Transitioning to a plant-based diet and eliminating animal products from one's meals.
  • "Following a balanced diet": Incorporating a variety of food groups in appropriate proportions to ensure adequate nutrition.

Now you can understand dietary approaches and discuss healthy living confidently.

Common Phrases for Weight Changes

Exploring the vocabulary related to weight and body management is essential for developing a comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to our overall health and well-being.

  • "Losing weight": Intentionally reducing body weight through dietary changes, increased physical activity, and lifestyle modifications.
  • "Gaining weight": Purposefully increasing body weight, often through a structured diet and exercise plan or for specific health-related reasons.
  • "Maintaining a healthy weight": Sustaining a weight within a range considered optimal for height, body type, and overall health.
  • "Shedding pounds": Referring to the process of losing weight, often used informally to describe weight loss efforts.
  • "Watching the scales": Keeping track of one's weight regularly, usually by weighing oneself on a scale.

By familiarizing yourself with these terms you can effectively communicate and navigate the complex landscape of weight management.

Idioms Related to Healthy Lifestyle

Here’s a bonus to your healthy vocabulary.

  • "An apple a day keeps the doctor away": Regularly consuming healthy foods can help maintain good health and prevent illness.
  • "You are what you eat": Your physical and mental well-being depends on the quality of your diet.
  • "In the pink of health": Being in excellent health and optimal physical condition.
  • "A well-balanced diet": Consuming various foods in appropriate proportions to obtain necessary nutrients.
  • "Fit as a fiddle": Being in excellent physical health and fitness.
  • "Health is wealth": Good health is one's most valuable asset.
  • "Mind over matter": The power of the mind to overcome physical challenges or resist unhealthy temptations.
  • "To have a green thumb": Having a talent or knack for gardening or cultivating plants.
  • "To be a couch potato": Leading a sedentary lifestyle with minimal physical activity.
  • "To hit the gym": Regular exercise or workout sessions at a fitness facility.

You can use these idioms related to healthy food and impress native speakers with you knowledge.


Understanding the healthy nutrition vocabulary is not just a matter of words, but a recipe for a better, healthier life. By expanding your food vocabulary, you open the door to a world of knowledge and empower yourself to make informed decisions about your diet and well-being.

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PromovaDec 28th, 2023
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a balanced eating plan designed to reduce high blood pressure. It emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products while limiting saturated fats, red meats, and sweets. The DASH diet is rich in nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are known to help lower blood pressure. Following this diet has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and improved overall cardiovascular health.
Leslie HarrisonDec 28th, 2023
Cool! Could you explain the key principles of the DASH diet and its intended health benefits?
PromovaOct 19th, 2023
A balanced diet is one that includes a variety of foods from all food groups in appropriate proportions. This means consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A balanced diet is essential for providing the body with the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to function properly and maintain good health.
Rose PerryOct 19th, 2023
Could you explain the concept of a balanced diet and why it's important for our health?