Food is any material eaten to provide nutrition to an organism. In human terms’ food is generally of animal, plant or floral source, and includes basic nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals, together with some energy units, like glucose or fat. The food diet is a key to good health and may play a vital role in weight control, obesity and related diseases. In the recent past, food has been viewed as the agent that promotes longevity and in many ways plays a key role in maintaining our health. Diet and nutrition has also been associated with a decreased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Our understanding of nutrition has increased greatly in the last decades, and consequently, there have been a number of modifications in the way foods are prepared and marketed as well. Today we eat more cooked foods, as the processing techniques used in the food making process have increased both the number and quality of nutrients included. In addition, we eat more processed foods that are high in sugar and fat.
The processed food industry has responded to this by developing foods that are nutritionally inferior. Most popular examples are sugar enriched ‘low-fat’ and ‘low-sugar’ snacks and drinks. This has resulted in many people, especially overweight individuals, replacing healthier animal source foods with processed food. The food industry responds by selling more of these processed foods and, as a result, losing market share. As a result of this trend, the cost of processed food usually increases faster than the price of raw foods.
This can lead to a vicious cycle. As we become aware that there are poor quality preservatives, additives and fillers in our food, we become less willing to pay the higher prices for these nutrients. At the same time, we become aware that fats, salt and refined sugars are not good for us. We therefore tend to purchase more processed foods to replace those that we buy that provide us with the nutrients we need. As a result, we do not get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that we need.
There is an answer to this problem. A good healthy diet consists of a combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts. Eating these foods will supply most of the nutrients we need. However, eating a lot of fast food and processed food has changed the way we eat. Instead of eating healthy, we now tend to eat foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, along with a variety of other additives and ingredients.
This is counterproductive. Instead of getting the nutrients we need, we get fat, salt and sugar. We also consume diets that are lacking in dietary fibre helps to keep our digestive tract healthy. Therefore, it should be included in our food intake. As well as helping to improve our health by improving our nutrient intake, adding dietary fibre to our food will help to strengthen and improve the function of our immune system.