Food is any nutrient-rich substance that humans, animals, and plants use for growth and maintenance. It provides the body with energy, nutrients, and minerals.
Food comes from living organisms such as plants and animals, or it can be a liquid that people drink. It can be solid, liquid or powdered and can contain protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals.
The main sources of food are plants and animals, although some humans eat a combination of foods from both animal and plant sources. For example, some people eat fish, fruit and vegetables. Others eat meat, poultry, or dairy products.
Meat is the flesh of cattle, sheep, and other mammals, which can be cured or eaten raw as a meal. It is a high-protein food that contains many essential nutrients and is a popular source of calories in some countries.
Often, meat is accompanied by a variety of other ingredients that are used to enhance the flavor and nutrition of the meat, such as spices, vegetables, and sauces. Examples of meat-based dishes include hamburgers, grilled steaks, and braised lamb.
In addition to supplying the protein necessary for the body, meat is also an important source of fats, carbohydrates and vitamins. Among the most common types of meat are beef, pork, lamb, and chicken.
Other meats include bison, pigeon, goat, yak, and water buffalo. The United States, Australia, and Russia produce most of the world’s meat, as do some African nations.
Some people, especially followers of the Jain religion, follow a strict vegetarian diet that excludes all meat. In addition to being a good source of protein, grains are another type of food that contains many nutrients and are an essential part of a vegetarian’s diet.
Whether or not a person can enjoy a particular dish depends on their dietary preferences, cultural beliefs and traditions, and personal tastes. For example, some people are allergic to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
There are many other food allergies, too, including to milk and other dairy products, nuts and shellfish. These are due to the fact that the structure of these proteins is slightly different from those in other foods.
The kashrut law of the Jewish faith and dhabihah law of the Muslim faith both outline specific rules regarding food and how it is prepared and eaten. For instance, a strict follower of a Muslim religion may not eat meat unless it is slaughtered according to these laws.
Despite this, it is difficult to get all the protein needed by people without eating meat. Even the most devoted vegetarians may need to supplement their diet with fish, eggs or cheese. A large proportion of the world’s population, including many of the poorest people in the world, suffers from food insecurity.