Food is a nutrient-rich material that serves as the base of human life and is essential for the growth and repair of body tissues. However, a number of people in developed nations are now eating too much fat and salt. Instead, they should consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It is also important to remember that some people can eat only foods from one or two of the five food groups at a time, as long as they eat them in moderation.
For most people, the main sources of food are plants and animals. A wide variety of animal and plant products are available to us, but these sources are not equally distributed throughout the world’s population. This is part of the reason that dietary variation exists. Some countries have rich, nutritious diets while others have poor, unhealthy ones.
A major source of energy in the human body is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in vegetables and grains. Vegetables, in particular, are a great source of fiber. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Protein is another important nutrient. Meats, poultry and fish are all good sources of protein. A number of proteins are also provided by dairy products. Milk and cheese are both high in protein and provide a range of vitamins.
Fats are important for maintaining the health of the internal organs and providing a source of energy. The body’s main source of energy is carbohydrate, but it also needs fat. It is important to choose fats carefully. A high-fat diet increases the risk of obesity, which can contribute to diabetes. It is best to avoid saturated fats. Other types of fat include vegetable oils and butter.
The five basic food groups are meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and grain. Each of these has its own nutrient requirements. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed targets for each food group. These targets are outlined in ounce equivalents. It is recommended that the majority of the calories coming from these foods be consumed from the whole foods.
Processed meats and cured meats are a good source of protein. Eggs, meat and poultry are a great source of vitamin A. Some B-group vitamins are also provided by meats. For some people, poultry is a staple in their diets. In many parts of the world, it is a major industry.
Fresh fruits are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten raw or preserved through freezing and canning. But many people’s diets are too low in fruits.
Many people in the developing world have inadequate access to food. Famine is possible, as can floods, droughts and other natural disasters. But more advanced technologies and communications have made it possible to distribute food more effectively.
Most people in the developed world have access to nutritious foods. However, their diets may be too high in salt, sugar and fat. This can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.