Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to the organisms. In its simplest sense food is food grown, fed and stored for human consumption. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungal source, and comes loaded with nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fat, or minerals. The body needs certain foods to survive. Plants and animals both need food to survive.
When you think about it, there are certain foods that we humans cannot live without, at least in a basic form. Carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals together form the basic food group. When a person eats food, these five food groups are broken down into various nutrients that are required by the different organs of the body. Each organ has its own particular area of the body to secrete hormones and enzymes needed to carry on with specific functions.
If you want to get a better understanding of food and nutrition, one word should suffice: nourishment. Nourishment refers to the food’s ability to improve health. We eat to live; the more nourishing the food, the better we feel. In fact, in many ways food serves as nourishment, since what we eat carries nutrients that the body needs to maintain a healthy physiology and build immunity.
To improve health, then, it is important to receive the proper nutrients from our diets. In fact, food is one of the best nutrients available, since it provides complex carbohydrates and vitamins essential to the immune system. Since the immune system depends on carbohydrates and vitamins for its activity, foods containing these two nutrients, like fruits and vegetables, are extremely important in a diet. Furthermore, whole grains and lean meats have additional health benefits.
The next thing that we need to know about food is what it can do to sustain life. Since plants can provide food for us through the means of photosynthesis, they are absolutely vital to sustaining life. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use it as an energy source to produce carbohydrates (the basis of fruit and vegetables) and proteins. Vegetables, especially the leafy ones, also contain significant amounts of Vitamin A, which studies have shown can prevent cataracts and age-related eye diseases.
Another important nutrient that the body needs is water. Since food is one of the primary ways in which we get hydration, it is important that we get the right amount through our diet. Water is found in foods in two different ways: as a substance absorbed into the food, or as a substance excreted from the food after it has been consumed. Fruit and vegetables are rich in water, while meats and dairy products are low in water.
The final food group that we will discuss is fats. Fats are needed for the production of certain hormones in the body, such as cholesterol. These hormones, together with the other elements that are found in our bodies, determine how much energy we have available in our fat cells. When you consume too much fat, your body will have difficulty producing enough energy, and that leads to weight problems.
Amino acids are one of the main components of most proteins and most of the calories that are consumed by us come from these Amino Acids. The human body uses all of its available amino acids to build new tissue, bones, muscles, organs, and brain cells. Although the total quantity of amino acids that are found in foods is higher than they can be manufactured by the body, the difference is that our body usually produces more of the essential amino acids than it uses. This is why most protein rich foods are so high in amino acids.