Food is any substance consumed by living things to get energy and nutrients for the body. It comes from plants and animals and includes liquids such as milk and juice. The most common foods are grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and eggs. People have a variety of diets depending on culture, climate and availability of food.
People need a balance of different types of foods to maintain good health. The foods we choose should be low in fat, salt and sugar and high in fibre and vitamins and minerals. People who want to lose weight should cut down on high-fat foods such as cakes, biscuits and pies. They should also try to eat more foods that contain dietary fibre, such as beans and wholegrains.
Eating the right kind of food can help protect against disease, keep your skin looking healthy and make you feel great. It is important to eat a wide variety of foods, and to avoid processed foods, which can be high in added sugars, salt and saturated and trans fats.
Most people need about 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. A balanced diet includes lean proteins (meats, fish and eggs), a lot of vegetables, some fruit and some nuts and seeds. It should also include some dairy, as well as foods that provide vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and leafy greens.
A balanced diet can also help you to feel full and satisfied, which may help to control your appetite. It is important to take your time when eating – it can take up to 20 minutes for the brain to tell you that you are full, so don’t eat too fast. It is also a good idea to eat with other people, as this can help you eat less.
People’s diets vary widely, from country to country and even within a single country. These differences are partly due to geographic factors, for example people living near the sea might eat more fish than those who live farther inland, and climate can affect the type of crops that will grow. Local traditions and customs can also play a role in the types of foods that are eaten, for example roast beef and Yorkshire pudding are traditional English dishes, while rice is a staple in many Asian countries.
Improved methods of food processing, storage and shipping mean that more types of foods are available today than ever before. These foods can be a valuable source of nutrition, but it is important to know how they are made and how they differ from natural foods so that you can make healthy choices. For instance, some processed foods are fortified with nutrients that were lost during the production process, such as iron and B vitamins. In addition, they can be a convenient and affordable way to add some nutrients to your diet. It is also important to remember that a balance of different foods is key to a healthy diet, whether you are cooking at home or buying ready-made meals.