Nutrition 101 – Glossary – H

H2 blocker – Definition – H2 blockers are medications that relieve symptoms stomach acid problems by decreasing the amount of stomach acid secreted by the glands lining the stomach. Relevance – H2 blockers are available with a prescription or over-the-counter for lower doses and are used to relieve symptoms of acid reflux, GERD, and gastric ulcers.

HDL – Definition – High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are small packages made of fat on the outside and protein on the inside that carry cholesterol throughout the body. Relevance – high HDL (“good”) blood cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease because it carries cholesterol from all parts of the body back to the liver, which removes cholesterol from the body.

Heart failure – Definition – A chronic, progressive condition, in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood through to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Relevance – Heart failure results in fatigue and shortness of breath. Everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs or household chores can become difficult.

Hemorrhoids – Definition – Swollen, inflamed veins around the lower rectum or anus. They may be painful, itchy and/or cause bleeding. Relevance – One of the main causes is straining to have a bowel movement. Preventing constipation may help avoid hemorrhoids.

Herbs – Definition – Obtained from the leafy part of plants with non-woody stems, such as parsley, rosemary, basil, mint and oregano. Relevance – Herbs can be used to flavor foods (instead of salt) or to make tea. Herbs may be sold fresh, dried or frozen.

High-fructose corn syrup – Definition – High-fructose corn syrup is a sweetener derived from corn starch often used as an alternative to table sugar (sucrose) that is available only to food manufacturers and comprised of fructose and glucose.  Relevance – High-fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten many foods and beverages and according to the FDA, it is no different from similar sweeteners, such as sucrose and honey, in terms of safety. Its composition and metabolism are also similar to these sweeteners.

High-oleic sunflower oil – Definition – A type of plant oil made from sunflower seeds that have been conventionally bred to be high in oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid). Relevance – High-oleic sunflower oil is less susceptible to oxidation (which can result in rancidity) and is more stable in cooking.

Hypertension – Definition – Hypertension, or high blood pressure, often occurs without symptoms and is diagnosed when blood pressure consistently measures above 140/90 mmHg. Relevance – Hypertension can often be treated with medication and lifestyle changes that include regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, moderate alcohol intake, a healthy weight, and low sodium intake. If not controlled, hypertension increases risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke, and vision problems.