Food is any substance that is ingested or absorbed by an organism to provide energy, support life, or stimulate growth. It may be made up of a combination of nutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
The food that we eat is the most important source of nutrition for humans and other animals, providing essential substances that help us grow, thrive, and reproduce. Whether eaten fresh, frozen, canned or dried, food is a vital part of the human diet.
People who choose what they eat can make healthy choices by preparing foods that are high in fibre, protein, antioxidants and vitamins. They can also eat less of the types of foods that are known to cause health problems.
Almost all of the food that we eat comes from plants and animals. Agricultural technology, such as improved varieties of seeds that can withstand drought or flood, improved transport and communication systems, and storage facilities, have helped to improve the distribution of food around the world.
Many different kinds of animals and plants can be grown as food, including livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, and horses) and fish and shellfish. Some animals are raised primarily for meat, while others are raised for milk or eggs.
Meat is a source of protein, and it contains other nutrients that are essential for a healthy diet. Meat can be consumed raw or cooked, and it is often preserved by canning, freezing, drying, salting, smoking, or pickling.
Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and other poultry are raised for meat and eggs in many countries. Beef cattle are also raised for meat.
Veal, which is meat from young cattle, or calves, is also a popular choice for many people. The world’s major beef producers are in the United States, Argentina, and Australia.
Eggs are an important source of nutrition for humans and other animals. In addition to their high protein content, eggs contain essential fatty acids that help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Beans, peas, and lentils are other good sources of plant-based protein. They can be a part of a balanced diet and are rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin B6.
Whole grains are another key part of a healthy diet. They provide a range of vitamins and minerals, and they can be eaten in various ways, including in cereals, granola, bread, tortillas, pasta, soups, stews, and salads.
Fruit is a source of vitamins and minerals, and can be eaten raw or cooked. Fruits are also an excellent source of calories, fiber, and phytochemicals, which help prevent heart disease and cancer.
In addition to fruits, vegetables are another important source of fiber and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables include onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and spinach.
Getting enough fiber from fruits, vegetables, and legumes is an essential part of a healthy diet. Vegetables, especially dark green vegetables, contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that fight disease.