Food – What is It and Why Do We Need It?
Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organism for a particular period of time. Food is generally of plant, human or animal origin, and includes necessary nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals. A number of different types of foods exist in the world, with many of them having similar nutritional needs. The human body requires different amounts of each food type in order to maintain its health and activities.
Animal products such as meat, eggs, milk and fish are the richest in nutrients, while plant-based foods that are used as food include vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. Plants provide many essential nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamins B-12 and C, zinc, phosphorus and many other minerals. Foods that our bodies need for optimal health can be categorized into three major categories: those that we eat directly, those that we cannot eat properly, and those that help to support or build an immune system.
Meat and fish are a good source of protein, as are legumes such as beans. Lean meats and fish are particularly beneficial, as they have a low fat content and very high quantities of good protein. Lean meats, especially red meat, contain low fat and high quality protein. Eggs, cheese and milk are good source of micronutrients, as are whole grains such as whole-wheat pasta. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of minerals.