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Health Food Jargon... An A-Z

For those starting out on a healthy new regime, getting to grips with what we should eat is head-scratching enough! Throw in a whole new dictionary of health food jargon and you're lost before you can say Quinoa! (Pronounced 'keen-wah' in case you were wondering!) So, following our A-Z of Gym Jargon to ensure you're up to speed on your gym lingo, here are a few foodie favourites to help you study up on your 'super-foods'...

Activated almonds

Currently all the rage, activated almonds are soaked to activate the nutrients, making it easier for our bodies to absorb all the good stuff.


Just because it's labelled 'all-natural' doesn’t make it a health food per se. Many ice creams are all-natural but also packed with sugar and fats. The same goes for some flavoured waters and soft drinks. If you're watching your weight, put that 'all-natural' chocolate souffle down!

Ancient grains

Ancient grains are essentially grains that have been around for centuries and are grown in the exact same way today as they were back then. A lot of ancient grains are gluten-free, including Quinoa, Teff, Barley, Kamut, Millet, Spelt and Bulgur.


Fruits and vegetables have plenty of antioxidants. They minimise cell damage that may lead to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. Go for grapes, blueberries, nuts and dark leafy veggies.

Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are the building blocks of all fats in our bodies and in our food. When you eat fat, the body breaks it down into fatty acids so that it can be absorbed into your blood.


Someone who only eats fruit. FYI - you need a little more in your diet than this!


Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale that shows how the body digests carbs and how that impacts on our blood sugar levels. Lower GI foods keep our blood levels stable, making us more alert, less hungry and happier. High GI foods give us a sugar rush, which later comes crashing down and can lead to tiredness, irritability and serious hangriness!*


A Korean raw vegetable pickle, fermented naturally in a mixture of fruits, garlic, ginger and spices such as chilli powder. It is also considered to be a 'living' food thanks to its probiotic benefits. (See probiotic below)


Short for 'Macro-Nutrients'. The three macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The basic ratio is 40 per cent carbohydrates, 30 per cent fat and 30 per cent protein. A Personal Trainer may tailor a client's daily macro levels in line with their fitness goals, such as increasing protein for muscle gain and decreasing fat for weight loss.


Foods grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, sewage sludge or genetically modified organisms. Organic meat, eggs and milk come from animals that weren't given antibiotics or growth hormones.


If you haven't yet heard of paleo, you've clearly been living in a cave. Though, if you have been living in a cave, you'll have heard of paleo! A diet based on the types of foods eaten by our early ancestors. Plenty of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. No dairy, grain products or processed food. Also known as the Caveman Diet.


Prebiotics are indigestible fibres found in the likes of onions, leeks and bananas. These fibres help good bacteria to grow, breaking down food more effectively and improving digestion.


Probiotics are living organisms like bacteria and yeast. You'll find these in yoghurt, soft cheese and Sauerkraut (see below). These little fellas help with digestion by keeping your gut healthy and preventing diseases.


("Keen-wah", in case you were wondering), rose to fame thanks to celebrity food fans. It's pretty similar to couscous, however, is gluten-free and packed with protein. A popular choice among health food lovers thanks to its nutritional value - one cup of quinoa contains 8g of protein, 5g of fibre and numerous essential fatty acids. It is known as a 'complete protein', which means it provides all nine essential amino acids needed for good health.

Raw Foodism

A diet of raw foods only. Uncooked, unprocessed foods, fruits, raw veggies and seeds. Mmmm.


Cabbage fermented in a jar over several weeks. Great for adding to soups or salads, Sauerkraut is believed to have cancer-fighting properties as well as live bacteria which is great for the gut.


So-called super-foods, such as goji and acai berries rose to fame thanks to celebrity diet trends, though don't get too excited on this one. Nutritionists agree that there is no real definition of what a Superfood includes. Some fruits and vegetables including blueberries and spinach are packed with large amounts of nutrients and so could be considered as great options, though no form of berry is going to drastically change your life.

Whole Grains

Whole wheat bread, steel-cut oats, popcorn and brown rice are all great examples. They contain the 'whole' of the grain (the clue's in the name), giving you all the nutrients you can get out of it. When it comes to health food, it's generally about common sense. Don't believe the hype when you see fancy new names for the foods you know are unhealthy and don't expect simple foods to have superpowers. If you're keen to help educate the nation on healthy diets and nutrition, speak to us about our Obesity & Diabetes Specialist course or ask about getting started as a Personal Trainer. *ridiculous amounts of hunger coupled with slight anger. As your career progresses you might wish to continue your learning to realise the full potential of you and boost your career prospects as well. Focus Training has the expertise to give an exciting range of Level three and Level four specialist personal trainer courses that will definitely provide you with the edge in the chosen field you choose. Our popular courses relating to this blog post health food jargon... an A-Z include our personal trainer courses, gym instructor courses, exercise referral courses and the ever-popular sports massage courses. Our qualifications are specifically created to focus on the changing health needs of the population, providing you with the skills, expertise and knowledge to meet the requirements of your clients both today and in the future. All our courses are actually intended to provide you with the essential tools to become a fully certified fitness professional. Alternative links are here via our home page you are able to find personal trainer courses.