How Many Food Types Are There? What’s the Best For You?
Food is any material food is consumed to supply nutrition to an organism. In the human body, food is composed of primary food (amine), secondary food (energy), and waste material. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals for the organisms’ growth, health, and maintenance. All three of these elements are combined in food to produce nutrient-rich meals that are required for life. The human body needs food to survive, which is supplied by the three main food groups: carbohydrates, protein and fat. The carbohydrates found in whole grains and cereals; the protein found in meat, fish, poultry, and eggs; and the fats found in dairy products, oils, margarine, and some breads are necessary for the energy supply of the body.
Our diet is made up of food, but we often do not recognise the importance of certain food types. When it comes to eating proper nutrition, we need to be sure that what we eat provides all the nutrients we need. It is not enough to eat a healthy diet, because although this is vital, it is not the only factor in achieving good health. Making sure that the food we eat is rich in calories is a vital part of obtaining and maintaining good nutrition. We must also ensure that we get all the important nutrients such as the B vitamins, Vitamin C, Iron, and Zinc we need.
Vegetables and fruits are the richest sources of carbohydrates and proteins. Fats, however, are richer sources of iron and other important nutrients than are carbohydrates. The fat that we obtain from meats, eggs, oil and milk is very important for the energy supply to our bodies and the maintenance of health. We can obtain all of these essential nutrients from the vegetable kingdom as vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain many of these same nutrients except for the fat.
So what exactly is it then that we should consume on a daily basis? Well, there are 4 food groups that we should aim to consume at every meal. These are carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables and fruit. If we break down these four groups into their various food items, we can start to see how many servings each of these groups we should ideally be consuming per day.
Carbohydrates should make up the largest proportion of our diet. They are found in many different foods such as rice, bread, pasta and cereal, beans, nuts and seeds and fruits. They are used in the vast majority of processed foods, which are highly refined, as part of the manufacturing process. However, the great thing about carbohydrates is that they provide an abundance of energy and when consumed in considerable quantities can have very positive impacts upon the performance of the body. The main problem with carbohydrates however, is that they are found in many different foods and are therefore very difficult to prepare in your own kitchen, which is why most people tend to buy them pre-packaged. There are alternatives to pre-packaged foods containing carbohydrates but they do not always contain the same amount of nutrients because of the differences in the ingredients used.
Proteins are another group of nutrients that are vital to our health. They are found in fish, meat, pulses, eggs, nuts and lentils and can be digested easily when consumed in food. One problem is however, that they are found in two food groups – starches and unsaturated fats – and they therefore present a choice between consuming more starches or fats and getting enough nourishment from these two food groups. You will find that when choosing a protein source you should choose one that has a high amount of protein and yet is low in fat so that you get the best of both worlds i.e. you get the benefits from both sources without the need for having to compromise your diet.