The word food comes from the Latin word ‘fungus’ which means harmful bacteria. Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to an organism. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and usually contains necessary nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, or other minerals. In modern times, food is prepared in a number of ways, including cookery, baking, and even by adding salt, sugar, spices, vinegar, and other additives. Most foods have been consumed in one way or another throughout the course of human history.
People generally consume four key nutrients in moderate quantities daily: carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and vitamins. However, not all foods provide all of these key nutrients in the same proportion in each food type. The five food groups are: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meat. Here are some tips for healthy eating in each group of food.
Whole grain foods contain the bulk of carbohydrates, and are often lower in fat than other types of grains. Oats, barley, and wheat are examples of whole-grain foods. Some grains, such as rice, are sometimes called whole foods, but they often lack nutritional value due to the presence of other ingredients, such as salt, sugar, and sometimes fat.
Freshly grown vegetables and fruits have most of the nutritional value. When vegetables and fruits are cooked, most of the nutritional value is lost. Cooking vegetables and fruits also degrades the nutritional value of herbs and spices used in their preparation. To retain most of the nutritional value of raw vegetables and fruits, store them in glass containers or airtight plastic bags.
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, which are essential in maintaining good health. Vitamin E is an anti-cancer nutrient. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is 7 mcg/day, but an excessive intake of vitamin A may cause a food disease called beriberi. Beriberi is a disease called aflatuyl in India, and is sometimes called the “flower of life” because it is a vital part of human nutrition.
The consumption of animal products such as milk and meat has been promoted for centuries. However, recent studies have shown that many chemicals that are present in commercial milk and meat are not good for our health. Studies have indicated that many chemicals used in food packaging weaken the immune system, contribute to osteoporosis, increase the risk of breast cancer, raise cholesterol levels, and cause tumors in human cells. To eat food that has the highest nutritional value, choose organic food whenever possible. It is also advisable to eat food that is free of toxic chemicals.