What is food? Simply put, food is any material ingested to provide nutrition to an organism for the sustenance of life. Essentially, food is comprised of any material, both plant and animal, and has necessary nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, or minerals. It is the balance of these nutrients in the food that makes it nourishing or harmful to the organisms feeding on them.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the diet cause many illnesses in human beings, some of which are serious and debilitating. One example of a nutrient deficiency is the absence of sufficient iron in the body. Low levels of iron in the body can cause bleeding disorders, weak bones, anemia, poor growth, infertility, premature death, and other diseases. Another nutrient that is lacking in the diet, and essential to the body’s function, is Vitamin A, which is essential to growth and development.
Because the human body cannot produce its own nutrients, we must eat foods that contain these nutrients in adequate quantities. Fortunately, modern times have given us plenty of choice when it comes to food additives. Today, we can add just about anything to food, so there is almost no limit on what we can put into our diets. Naturally occurring chemical additives are now used to enhance the taste of food, increase its appearance and make it more palatable, and to protect it from harmful elements. These food additives are widely available in supermarkets, ready to use products, as sauces, seasonings, emulsifiers, dyes, stabilizers, preservation methods, inorganic and organic compounds, vitamins and minerals, flavourings, flavouring agents, and other substances designed to enhance the taste and nutritional value of food.
Vegetables are a rich source of a range of essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, protein, riboflavin, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin E and B6. Although vegetables are rich in these important nutrients, they may need to be fortified. To provide your vegetables with additional nutrients you can add vitamins and minerals that you can get from organic produce, like spinach. You can also take a daily multivitamin supplement that will supply your body with all the necessary nutrients and boost your immune system.
Dark green vegetables are especially high in nutrients because they contain very few carbohydrates and a large amount of vitamins and minerals. The recommended diet for vegetarians is to include four servings of fruits and vegetables per day. However, because dark green vegetables contain a large amount of iron, they are an excellent choice for people who are not always able to eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Vegetable oils, fats and other ingredients can affect the absorption of some nutrients in foods. This makes it important to read the labels of any oil or fat used and make sure you choose a product with the highest absorption rate possible. Even if a food has a relatively low absorption rate, if you aren’t getting enough nutrients from it, you should reduce the portion size instead of removing it from your diet.