Food is a substance that a living organism consumes to provide it with nutrients that are required for the maintenance of life. It may come from plant, animal or fungal sources and contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other substances that are needed to meet the requirements of an organism’s metabolism.
Generally, food is consumed to sustain life and promote growth. A healthy diet should contain a variety of foods from the five major food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and milk, meat and fish. A balanced diet that meets the dietary guidelines for nutrition provides essential nutrients and can help prevent disease.
People eat different foods in a variety of ways and at different times to fulfill their specific needs, depending on their culture and social environment. This is sometimes referred to as “cultured eating.” It can include traditions and customs that shape the types of food eaten.
In developing countries, a lack of access to fresh, nutritious food is often associated with malnutrition and hunger. This can be caused by poor harvests, floods or drought. Improved farming methods, transportation and storage can help reduce food shortages in some areas.
Agricultural technology also makes it easier to grow food in a variety of climates and to distribute food more widely. For example, improved varieties of seeds can withstand drought, flood or disease. Agricultural science has also led to better methods of processing, preservation and storage of food, which means that many more products can be made available to people.
A good diet should include plenty of foods that are high in fibre, calcium and other minerals. These include wholemeal or wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables and other foods with a low fat content. These can help keep you feeling full, so you’re less likely to eat too much.
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet, especially from dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese, lean meats, poultry with skin or seafood. These should be eaten at least four times a week in moderation.
Vegetables, fruit and other plants are good sources of vitamins and minerals and can help keep you healthy and active. They’re low in calories and are a great source of fiber, which can help control your weight.
The nutrient composition of a food depends on the amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals it contains. It’s also affected by the quality of the food, and how it is prepared, cooked and served.
Having a balanced diet that includes a range of foods from each of the 5 food groups can help you stay healthy and live longer. For example, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you avoid diseases such as heart disease.
It can also help you maintain your weight and keep you healthy, since a well-balanced diet can lower the risk of obesity and diabetes.
A balanced diet should include a variety of vegetables, fruits and other foods from each of the five food groups to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need. It should also include plenty of meat and fish, which are high in protein but low in calories and fat.