Food is a substance you take which provides your body with nutrients required for proper growth and development. Foods can be obtained from either plants or animals and the nutrients derived from them include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. The food you taken ingested and nutrients are absorbed by the body to provide energy for daily work. People who fast for long periods begin to feel weakness after a few days because there’s nothing providing the body with energy.
The food industry supplies most of the food required by man. In the past, men had to hunt and gather food themselves, but due to civilization and modernization, food is easy to get when you have some money. Although, some people still plant foods and rear animals for food, both to make money and for personal consumption.
There are various agencies responsible for keeping food safe and at high quality. Some agencies are specific to countries while others cover the whole world. They include the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Resources Institute, and the International Association for Food Protection. They take care of laws governing food production and distribution, population growth, water supply, nutritional economics, and access to food.
Sources of Food
Food can be gotten from various sources which fall under two major categories: plants and animals. The dynamics show that most foods are gotten from plants. Some plants are cooked directly and some end up in the bellies of animals that feed on them in order to grow and serve as better food for man. Although some animals (carnivores) feed on other animals (herbivores), they would have nothing to feed on without plants keeping the herbivores alive. Without plants, almost all animals wouldn’t survive.
There are also foods that don’t come from either plants or animals. These include edible fungi such as edible fungi (mushrooms). Some bacteria are also used in the preparation of some food such as yogurt, alcoholic drinks, and kombucha in the process known as fermentation.
Plants are very important food sources because their various parts possess several nutrients and beneficial compounds required by the body for healthy living.
Seeds- The seeds of plants are important to both men and animals because they are very rich in nutrients and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids which the body needs to prevent inflammation and oxidative damage in several areas. Most plants consumed by humans are seeds and they include legumes e.g. beans and peas, cereals e.g. rice, barley, and wheat. There are also oil seeds that promote healthy skin such as sunflower seeds, flaxseed, and rapeseed. The seeds of lemon and other plants are not edible, but the edible seeds have a high unsaturated fat content which makes them healthy.
Fruits- Fruits are very important because they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals needed by the body. Vitamin C in citrus fruits helps to promote the production of collagen which is required for healthy skin, Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant, protecting the body from oxidative damage by free radicals found in the body. Other vitamins such as A, B complex, and D are also needed by the body for various functions. Fruits include pumpkin, tomato, lemons, oranges, bananas, apples, and grapes among others.
Vegetables- These are some of the richest sources of food. There are different types of vegetables which are all eaten by man. The root vegetables include potatoes, yam, carrots, and onions. The stem vegetables include asparagus and bamboo shoots. Inflorescence vegetables are broccoli and globe artichokes, and the leafy vegetables include lettuce and spinach.
Animals have also served as a source of food since the beginning of mankind. The foods gotten from animals provide the body with enough nutrients, some of which may not be gotten from plants. Animals can either be used as food directly (by cooking them) or indirectly (by using their products). When cooking them directly, their organs, muscle, and fats can be prepared for consumption. Products gotten from animals include milk which is very rich in proteins and is produced from the mammary glands of animals. Milk has been used to make several food products such as butter and cheese, eggs come from poultry animals and the yolk is very rich in nutrients. Another example is honey which has been used as a cure for many body defects and is gotten from bees.
There are some people who don’t consume animals due to ethical, dietary, cultural, or other personal reasons, and they are known as vegetarians.
Types of Food
Foods have been grouped into various sources depending on where, why, and how they are consumed. Some of these classes include
While this may sound like a very funny category, there are foods that are specifically used for camping. Not all foods will fit into your backpack or will be easy to take when you’re hiking on those mountains. Camping foods are well packaged, light foods that will keep you healthy and satisfied when camping outdoors. The main properties of camping foods are- they take a short time to prepare, are very lightweight, and have appropriate nutritional content.
The ingredients used to make camping foods are usually pre-cooked, freeze-dried, or dehydrated. Sometimes, campers usually take ready-to-eat foods such as noodles or even custard which are already prepared and only need to be opened and eaten or mixed with warm water, depending on how it is supposed to be taken.
Frozen foods are those that have been kept at very cold temperatures to keep them preserved for long periods. They usually include poultry food, fish, pork, and other fleshy animals that serve as food. Freezing slows the decomposition of these animals by forming ice crystals that trap moisture, thus inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes decay. Using quick freezing methods such as cryogenic freezing maintains the cellular structures of these animals. At home, freezers can be used to store these foods until they are ready to be cooked and eaten.
Fresh foods are the type of foods that are eaten immediately after harvest or production. They have never been preserved and they haven’t gotten spoiled yet. This means they are fit to be taken and provide the body with enough nutrients. Some of these foods include fruits and vegetables that have just been harvested. Fruits and vegetables can be preserved in refrigerators. When they are, they no longer remain as fresh foods. Other fresh foods include milk and milk products such as cheese which has not been salted or dried for aging. If fresh foods haven’t gotten spoiled yet and you’re not ready to take them, you can still preserve them.
Adulterated foods are those which do not reach the legal standards of food. This is because they have been tainted as a result of the addition of a substance which makes them increase in quantIty and ultimately reduces their quality. These types of food can be available as both food and non-food products. A very common instance is in meat and meat products. They are usually adulterated with water or ice, and sometimes even with carcasses of animals that have died for a while or animals that are not related to the animal meant to be eaten. This is very dangerous as it can contain substances which are not meant to be consumed, thereby leading to the development of diseases
Diet foods are those taken by people to reduce body weight. Their recipes usually contain ingredients that reduce the number of carbs, fats, or sugars. They are mostly prepared by replacing a high-carbohydrate, sugar, or fat in regular foods. For instance, Coca Cola replaces the sugar in Coca-Cola drink with a sugar substitute to make Diet Coke which is taken by people who are cautious of their fat content. In whole-grain foods, fiber can be used to replace flour which is high in starch, since fiber has low food energy.
Medical foods are those taken for people with various health problems. They are usually recommended by health specialists because they contain nutrients required for the treatment of a particular disease that cannot be gotten from normal food sources. The Food and Drug Administration defined them in the Orphan Food and Drug Amendment in 1988. They have been known as foods for special medical purposes in Europe since 2015. These medical foods can either be taken through oral ingestion or tube feeding and are usually taken under medical supervision. They are classified into oral rehydration products, nutritionally complete formulas, nutritionally incomplete formulas, and formulas for metabolic disorders.
Natural foods are usually the most preferred type of food for several people. They are foods that contain all-natural ingredients and there are no special additives or processed ingredients such as coloring, hormones, sweeteners, flavorings, and antibiotics. The term ‘natural food’ has been misused by various companies since it showed that most people preferred to purchase foods that had ‘natural’ inscribed of them because they believe there are no artificial substances that can adversely affect their health.
Functional food is that which has added ingredients in order to give a specific function to the body. The ingredients could be an originally present ingredient in increased quantities or a new ingredient which is important in yielding a particular result. Sometimes, this is usually carried out on plant foods that involve traits been need into them e.g. increasing the anthocyanins or carotenoid content of potatoes.
Healthy food or a healthy diet is one that contains all the essential nutrients required by the body to carry out its daily functions. Such foods contain micronutrients, macronutrients, and other compounds that improve the overall health of the body. Most people who already live healthy know that a healthy diet comprises of foods and vegetables, whole grains, and high-protein foods. They don’t contain foods that have a lot of unhealthy fats and sweetened beverages. Eating various foods derived from both animal and plant sources will satisfy your daily nutrient requirement. But because one people follow a vegan diet, they would need to find plant sources that are very rich in some nutrients such as vitamin B12. Eating healthy foods every day and carrying out exercise promotes healthy living.
Live food is made of small animals that are alive and serve as food for larger carnivorous animals kept in bondage probably in the zoo, kept as pets, or to be killed for sale or consumption. Some of these live animals include mice and insects. The animals commonly fed with live food include alligators, amphibians, non-reptiles, frogs, snakes, lizards, and omnivorous animals.
Shelf-stable foods are those that have been preserved in sealed containers and can be stored at room temperatures. Some of these foods wouldn’t normally stay fresh at room temperature but they have been preserved and some ingredients have been added to keep them fresh. The techniques used in preservation and packaging these types of food involve removing its water content, sterilization and tight-air packaging, increasing acidity, or irradiating. Sometimes replacing ingredients has been used to create shelf-stable foods. For instance, hydrogenated oils are used to replace common oils that become rancid if not refrigerated on time. Some examples of shelf-stable foods are freeze-dried eggs, processed cereals, milk products foods such as sardines, and fruit juice.
Organic foods are those which are processed in ways that comply with the standards of organic farming. The methods of production of these foods conserve ecological diversity and promote ecological balance. Even though the standards of organic farming vary in several areas of the world, these foods are known to be produced in similar methods – without the use of pesticides and fertilizers which can affect the marine ecosystem due to rainwater flowing into rivers. Organic meat is also produced in the United States and it involves the farm animals being raised according to USDA organic regulations from their birth to death.
Nutrients derived from foods
There are six major nutrients you can get from food and they include-
Proteins are building blocks of the body. All the hormones and antibodies are composed of proteins and they help build muscles and repair damaged tissues. Foods high in proteins include beans, eggs, soy, meat, and some grains
Carbohydrates are energy-giving foods. They serve as fuel to the body, especially the central nervous system and help to fight diseases. They are usually found in foods such as yam, potatoes, and rice.
Vitamins are important to fight disease and keep the body healthy. The various types of vitamins are A, B complex, C, D, E, and K. There are 13 vitamins in total and all the micronutrients are important for the body to function properly. You can get them from fruits and vegetables.
Fats are very confusing because even though they are essential nutrients, there are unhealthy fats that could be harmful to the body. Healthy fat sources include coconut oil, fish, nuts, and seeds.
Minerals are also important in strengthening the body just like vitamins. Important minerals include iron, calcium, and zinc. Iron supports your red blood cells in transferring oxygen throughout the body, calcium helps with maintaining blood pressure and signal transmission, and zinc helps your wounds heal faster and boosts your immune system. There are various foods containing minerals such as meats, cereals, fish, fruits and vegetables, and nuts.
Water is a very important nutrient to the body. While you can go for several days without food, you can only last for a few days without water.
Water serves as a lubricant in the body, a shock absorber, and also helps to flush out toxic substances from the body, keeping all organs healthy. Fruits and vegetables are healthy sources of water if you don’t want to drink 10 cups of water daily.