Food is any material consumed to supply body nutritional support. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals, required by the body. The human body can survive on a variety of foods, but only some provide the necessary nutrients in sufficient quantities to sustain life. In this article, we will identify the five main food groups and describe the nutritional value of each.
Animal proteins constitute meat, milk, eggs and fish. Meat is classified as having four macro-nutrients – protein, fat, vegetable fat and salt – that support the growth and maintenance of the body. Animal proteins contain the large amounts of vitamins A, B-12, E and D. Plants contain very small amounts of these vitamins, and animal proteins have relatively high levels of fat and salt content. The vitamin B-12 requires large amounts of animal source protein to be adequately processed, while plant food sources contain the small amounts needed.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. Fiber provides energy and prevents fat absorption. Unsaturated fatty acids, found in tropical oils and butter, help to reduce cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels. The unsaturated fatty acids in plant sources also have antimicrobial activity and are known to prevent serious illness and disease. Milk and cheese are the richest in calcium, another important nutrient that plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Fats, primarily singly or in combination with trans fatty acids, are predominantly found in fried foods and may increase the risk of heart disease and other serious health problems.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in nutrition, and the majority of Americans consume far too much junk food, mostly in the form of soda pop. Unhealthy eating habits, including the over-consumption of fast food, contributes to a poor immune system. A poor immune system helps to create a body that is more susceptible to disease. Many researchers agree that a healthy diet can help to build and maintain healthy cells and maintain overall health, and nutrition is an essential part of a healthy life.
Snacking is not bad for you, but in today’s society, most people eat too many snacks. Snacks should be eaten in moderation and should not be thought of as a primary source of nutrition, because they are usually high in calories and low in nutritional value. An apple, for example, is a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins. In fact, an apple is the only fruit that contains all eight of the vitamins required to maintain good health.
Vegetables are high in nutrients and are a great way to get your daily dosage of vitamins and minerals. When combined with other foods, vegetables provide a delicious and satisfying meal that can be prepared at home or in a restaurant. Low-fat, high-fiber vegetables are also a very good source of dietary fibre. As well, most vegetables contain a small amount of potassium, which is also found in fruits and vegetables.