Food is a natural substance that provides an organism with energy and materials needed for growth, maintenance of body tissues, and production of new cells. Plants, algae, and some bacteria make their own food through photosynthesis, while most animals obtain nutrients from other organisms or organic matter.
Getting the right nutrients is important for good health. Eating the correct foods can help prevent obesity, diabetes and some cancers. It also helps promote mental and physical well-being by promoting the growth of good bacteria in our digestive tracts.
Healthy eating is about choosing a variety of nutritious food that is high in fibre, water, vitamins and minerals. It should include a wide range of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
Our daily diets are influenced by many factors including the economy, culture, family tradition and religion. These factors can affect what we eat, how much and how often we eat, as well as our mood and behaviour.
Nutrition is a science that covers all aspects of food from breeding and growing plants to preparing them for consumption. It includes a knowledge of how food is prepared, preserved and stored to ensure it is safe for human consumption.
The human body is largely made up of a mix of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. All these are needed to produce energy and maintain body tissues.
We rely on foods as a source of fuel and to provide energy for body processes such as breathing, digestion, and blood circulation. Depending on where we live, food may be obtained from nature, through domestication of animals or through agriculture, fishing, and other industrial activities.
Agricultural development has provided many countries with millions of acres of fertile land. This means that there is usually an adequate supply of grain and other foodstuffs to meet the needs of most people in the developed world.
But there are still many people worldwide who lack access to the food they need. This is especially true in developing countries where droughts, floods, and famines are common.
There are several ways that we can reduce the risk of malnutrition, including avoiding processed and convenience foods, increasing consumption of whole grains and legumes, reducing intake of saturated fats, and improving our overall food choices.
Besides making sure you get enough calories, a healthy diet should be low in sodium and have plenty of fibre, protein, calcium and a range of essential vitamins and minerals. Adding dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains and beans to your diet can help you meet these requirements and improve your health.
Avoid processed foods such as frozen meals, mashed potatoes and pies. Choose fresh, raw foods instead if possible, such as salads, fruits and vegetable juices.
If you do eat these types of food, try to eat them as part of a balanced meal, or in moderation. Limit the amount of salt or added sugar in your diet to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.