Food is any substance consumed by an organism that supplies energy and nutrients needed for growth and maintenance of the organism’s cells and tissues. It consists of plants or animals or their products, and may be preserved by cooking, canning, drying, salting, smoking, or pickling. Food is essential for human survival. The composition of foods varies with the cultural and geographical background of the organisms that produce them.
The most commonly available foods are cereal grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils) and meats and fish. In addition to providing calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, these substances supply various vitamins, minerals and other nutritional components important for good health. People need to choose the right types and amounts of these different foods to achieve a healthy diet. The United Nations has developed a food pyramid to help guide this selection.
Cereal grains are the seeds of grasses including wheat, rice, barley and oats. They have been cultivated since the dawn of agriculture and are an important source of nutrition. These foods are high in fiber, protein and B vitamins. They are also an excellent source of iron.
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamin A, C and K, as well as potassium and folic acid. They provide fiber and help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity.
Legumes and beans (kidney, black, pinto and lima) are good sources of protein. They also contain many other nutrients such as dietary fibre, folate and antioxidants. These foods are low in fat and can be added to soups, stews and salads.
Fatty fish (salmon, trout and sardines) are high in omega-3 fatty acids which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also a good source of zinc and vitamin D.
Chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids which can improve cardiovascular health and may lower cholesterol. However, it is high in calories and should be eaten in moderation.
A food processor is an industrial factory that transforms raw materials into processed foods for consumption and sale. It is an important part of the manufacturing sector.
Food processors use a wide variety of techniques to prepare foods, including cooking, baking, frying, roasting and blending. In order to make processed foods, manufacturers have to follow a number of safety and quality standards.
The food industry is one of the largest industries in the world and it is very diverse. It encompasses all aspects of the food supply chain from the production of raw ingredients to the distribution of finished foods and beverages. It is a vital component of every economy and it contributes significantly to employment. In addition, it is one of the largest consumers of raw materials and capital equipment. Food processing technologies are continually improving to meet consumer demands and improve efficiency. For example, better varieties of seeds are being used to grow crops that are more resistant to weather extremes and other factors that influence harvesting.