Food is nutrient-rich material eaten by people and animals for energy and to stay alive. It contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The type of food that people eat depends on their culture and environment. People may grow their own food or buy it in shops and restaurants. Eating healthy foods and drinking enough water is important for good health. Some diseases can be caused by eating too much or too little of certain types of food. People with a medical condition must check food labels to make sure that they are eating safe food.
Food can be made into a variety of different types of meals by adding ingredients or changing the cooking process. The main types of food are cereal grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes (such as beans), meats, fish and eggs. A diagram called a food pyramid shows the suggested amount of each type of food that people should eat each day.
Cereal grains include wheat, rice and maize (corn). These are grown by humans and also by some other plants, such as barley, oats and rye. People also eat bread made from these grains. Vegetables include tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. Most people enjoy eating them raw or cooked. People also eat some fruits, such as apples and oranges. Eggs and milk are important sources of protein. People eat fish and shellfish as well. These foods can be preserved by freezing, drying, salting or smoking.
A large number of people grow some of their own food in gardens or fields. Other people own or rent farm land and grow crops such as wheat, rice, maize and beans. Fishing and hunting are also ways of getting food. People can also buy food from shops and markets. This food is then prepared by cooks at home or in restaurants, which are sometimes called refectories.
Some people don’t eat any food that comes from animals, including meat and dairy products. This is known as veganism. Others don’t eat any foods that are processed or contain added sugar. This is known as a low-sugar diet.
Eating too many calories from processed or junk food can lead to obesity. Being overweight can cause many problems, including heart disease and diabetes. People with a food allergy or intolerance must check all packaged food and restaurant menus before ordering to make sure that they don’t eat anything that could harm them.
Food security is the ability of a country or region to supply its citizens with the nutritional needs for a healthy life. People can be at risk for not having enough food if the price of foods goes up, if there are shortages of some kinds of food or if they live far from food sources. This can happen if climate change affects the availability of some kinds of food, if war or disaster destroys food production or if government policies, such as restrictions on travel or imports, limit access to foods.