The food we eat is food. This is a biological fact of life that has been around since the dawn of creation. It is necessary for our survival. Yet food is seldom of high value to humans because it is not usually an element that is consumed in great quantities. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and often contains vital nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals. This article briefly examines the importance of food in human nutrition.
Plants contain three food groups: starch, mineral content and nitrogenous matter. The first two categories are generally considered to be non-nutrient substances and therefore are not essential to the nutrition of humans, although they may contribute to health problems if they are over-consumed. Starchy foods, such as rice, do not contain nutrient content. Nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and roots all have nutrient content. Plants use carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals to produce energy and build up the body.
Plants have very few tastes, so taste of food is not an important determinant of its nutritional value. Three primary food groups are sweet, alkaline and bitter. Sweet foods include honey, syrups, evaporated cane juice, jams, jellies, honey, fruit concentrates, and certain fruits, including banana, lemon, mango, peach, plum and strawberry.
Alkaline foods provide energy and the bodies need for digesting protein and carbohydrates. Bitter foods provide the bodies with the nutrients for building and repairing tissue. The main source of B vitamins is leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes (peas, beans), fish oils, nuts, cereal grains, and some fruits. A balanced diet is required to obtain all the nutrients that are needed by the body for growth and maintenance.
Food with a high glycemic index is processed quickly and does not release nutrients. These foods are broken down rapidly and do not supply the bodies with the energy and nutrients that are needed for digestion. The main source of refined sugars is simple sugar such as maple syrup, glucose and dextrose.
The main source of vitamin c in food is a citrus fruit which is orange, grapefruit or tangerines. The other main sources are poultry and eggs. Milk products are also used for animal nutrition. It is important to ensure that the food we eat is digested fully and that the nutrients are released to the body. If a sufficient amount of nutrients is not available, it may affect our health.