Food is anything that a living organism eats or drinks to obtain the energy and nutrients it needs to grow, function and stay healthy. It can be of plant or animal origin. Humans are omnivorous, which means that they eat both plants and animals. People’s diets vary from one country to another, and they can also differ within a single country, depending on things such as the availability of certain foods, climate and culture.
A healthy diet includes a variety of different foods from all the food groups. A person should aim to eat the recommended number of servings from each group each day. Foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar should be eaten less often and in small amounts. These include takeaway food, cakes, biscuits and soft drinks.
Most of the food we eat comes from cereal grains, such as wheat, barley, oats, rye and millet. They provide energy and fiber. They are also a good source of iron, vitamins and minerals. People should try to eat wholegrain varieties of these foods as much as possible.
Fruit and vegetables should make up a large part of the diet. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially antioxidants, which help protect against diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They should be eaten in a variety of ways, such as whole fruits (such as apples and bananas) and vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots and brussel sprouts), or as part of a salad or stir fry.
Other important sources of energy are fats and sugars, which can also be found in a wide range of foods. People should try to eat foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat and have no added sugars. They should also try to eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect against heart disease and depression.
Protein is an important part of a balanced diet. It helps the body build and repair cells, muscles, blood and hair. Proteins are found in a wide variety of foods, including fish, eggs, meat, poultry, dairy products and beans.
It is important to drink enough fluids, preferably water, each day. It is also important to eat foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruit and vegetables. People should aim to eat vegetables such as broccoli, peppers and leafy greens at least three or four times per week. They should also try to eat beans and lentils, as well as a good source of protein, such as chicken, lean beef or pork, at least once each week.
It is also a good idea to eat with other people whenever possible. This can help with weight loss as it discourages overeating. People should remember that it takes a few minutes for the brain to tell the body that it is full, so they should wait until they feel full before eating more. Finally, people should try to eat slowly and chew their food properly.