Food Choices and Nutrition


Food Choices and Nutrition

Food is any material prepared to provide nutrition to the organisms for life. In most cases, food is of animal, plant or even fungal source, and often contains vital nutrients, like proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, or minerals, which humans cannot produce by their own bodies. Food is used to satisfy the nutritional needs of people and animals; it may be eaten as a single serving or may be mixed in dishes with other ingredients for taste, color, texture, and sometimes to improve the taste. There are four major groups of foods: animal foods, vegetable foods, fruits, and legumes.

Animal Foods The major groups of animal foods are chicken, cattle, fish, turkey, rabbit, and duck. Nearly all of the human food supply is made up of animal products, including milk, eggs, and meat. Animal foods may be divided into several categories, depending on how they are fed and what part of the animal it comes from. The three main groups are poultry, swine, and goat; horse, cattle, and bison; monkey, elephant, and chicken; and deer, moose, elk, buffalo, seal, rabbit, duck, and turkey.

Vegetable Foods The main group of vegetable foods is also quite large, making it the second most important food group after animal food. Most of the food supply is made up of vegetable products, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, beans, rice, potatoes, cereals, and yeast. Vegetables may be classified according to whether they are fresh dry or boiled. The three main groups are corn, peas, and beans; squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower; and cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Brussels leaves, cabbage leaves, and Brussels seeds. Nuts are also considered nuts, with peanuts being the largest nut in the world, followed by sunflower seeds and almonds. They are a major source of good fats and oils.

Fruits and Fruit Juices form an important part of a healthy diet, especially for those who want to consume a balanced diet. Fruits are divided into two groups, based on their nutritional value. The first group consists of citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, grapefruit, and tomatoes; and melons, tangerines, cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapples. The second group consists of non-citrus fruits, which include berries, prunes, gooseberries, apricots, apples, cherries, and other fruits that are not citrus. Fruits and fruit juices provide a good source of vitamins and other nutrients.

Unprocessed Foods contain all or most of the nutrient values of whole foods, but usually lose some of the nutrient value of processing. The most commonly used word for unprocessed food is ‘superfoods’. Examples of unprocessed foods include: oatmeal – a good source of fiber, iron, protein, and vitamins; barley – source of dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin B12, and potassium; green leafy vegetables – high in both vitamins A and C, and minerals and phytochemicals; wheat berries – good source of chromium, folic acid, iron, and magnesium; and other legumes – good source of fiber, protein, vitamins B and C, and potassium. It is also important to note that some food items such as junk and fast food, ice cream, sweets, tinned food, dried foods, tinned meat and other pre-packaged food, confectionery and junk food, may contain higher levels of fat and/or sugar than their whole food equivalents. Therefore, if you are aiming to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is advisable to include unprocessed foods in your diet.

Food Choices and Nutrition If you are aiming to lose weight and keep your body healthy, you should ideally include at least 1 food group in every day. That said, if you want to stick to a particular food group, you need to learn how to choose one food item per day. For instance, if you are looking to lose weight in the form of fat, you should learn to eat foods that have a low amount of fat in them. Alternatively, if you are looking to control your cholesterol levels, you can learn to eat foods that are low in saturated fats.