What Food Ingredients Make Food Nutritious?
Food is any material used to supply nutrition to the organisms for their survival. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and is made up of vital nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, or minerals. The variety and combination of food available on earth are infinite. We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want.
One of the functions of the body is to maintain its nutrition, by ensuring that all the different cells get the right amount of nutrients and water. This process is called cell metabolism. Food provides the energy and other substances that are necessary for survival. The nutrients form the base of our food pyramid, from which we can take other foods like fruits, vegetables and grains to increase the number of nutrients in our diet. This is what we refer to as nutrition.
There are several factors that affect the nutrient content of the foods. These include time and weather, land and weather conditions and soil fertility, so that the differences in nutrient content can be readily observed. Some common food ingredients that are considered nutritious include:
* Flour: It is one of the oldest food materials known to mankind. It plays a major role in the making of pasta, breads, cereals and other flour products. The cereal grains are highly absorbent and have a high mineral content. Common carbohydrates found in such food items are glucose and lactose. The mineral absorption in maize and millet is very good, which explains why maize and millet are the staple diet of millions in sub-Saharan countries.
* Milk products: It is widely known that milk is a highly nutritious food item with many health benefits. One study session revealed that milk products have extremely high level of calcium and phosphorus, besides manganese, potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Pregnant women are recommended to consume six cups of milk or other dairy products every day for optimum nutrition. Other nutrients present in milk include probiotics, fat, protein, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. A diet rich in calcium and other minerals is very important for ensuring the overall well being of an individual.
* Fibre: The availability of fibre in the diet is considerable, because fibre helps in proper absorption of nutrients in the body. Therefore, food sources rich in fibre are legumes (black beans), pulses (curcubed legumes), nuts (sunflower seeds) and vegetables (vegetables). Some plant foods like broccoli are also rich in fibre, which provides a good level of nutrition to the whole body. A diet rich in fiber makes food items less easily digested and minimizes the risk of developing problems related to excess stomach acid.