Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organism. In this sense food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, sugars, or other macro-nutrients, that are required for the growth of an individual organism. Plants get their food from the earth, while animals get their food from food plants, and fungi get their food from the earth, but also from bacteria, yeasts and other microorganisms. Fungi do not digest food; their digestion is rather a byproduct of their metabolism. Animals on the other hand cannot survive without food.
Food components include vitamins, which are required to supply the body with the substances necessary for normal growth; and other nutrients including protein, carbohydrate, fat, fiber and mineral salts. The human body needs a variety of food groups, the main one being carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be divided into two broad categories, these being simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates can be categorized into glucose and starch. Complex carbohydrates consist of different chains of glucose molecules, including monosaccharides and polysaccharides.
Food additives and processing methods have resulted in the addition of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, salt and other substances to many foods. Many people need a balanced diet, and it is recommended that they take a multivitamin on a daily basis, along with a vitamin B complex in tablet form, in case of illness or deficiency. It is recommended that people eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day, in addition to a good amount of grains and legumes. Oils are used for cooking and frying foods, however they should not be used in salad dressings, as they can be too high in saturated fats.
There was a study session held in the UK last year on food nutrition and its importance to general well being, conducted by a group of nutritional specialists led by Professor Peter Piper. The participants were from the University of Manchester, and they had all completed their undergraduate studies at the university. During the research session, the experts discussed the impact of the food industry on nutrition. The main problem is that, the majority of people know very little about nutrition facts, according to the recent report prepared by the National Health and Medical Research Council. This is because of the wide spread use of advertising and marketing techniques.
Food manufacturers are aware that more people are becoming concerned about their diets. The solution to this problem is to include fibre in the diet, especially for people suffering from digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. The fibre content of food can be increased by using more whole grain products such as bread, pastas and cereals. You can also include bran in your diet, as it contains an abundance of essential minerals and nutrients. The benefits of adding fibre to the diet are that it helps prevent constipation and flatulence, reduces the risk of colon cancer and promotes healthy intestinal functions.
It is advisable to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats from plants, olives, nuts, seeds and fish oil. These foods contain essential fatty acids that can help increase the rate of absorption of essential vitamins and minerals by stimulating the production of hormones that aid digestion. Unsaturated fats are considered better dietary sources of fat than saturated fats because they have a higher molecular weight than saturated fats. Saturated fats are poorly absorbed and have to be processed before being consumed.