The Nutrient Content of Your Diet

Food is any material taken from an organism to provide nutrition to an organism for a specific period of time. The word food comes from the Latin words agra and food, which means plant and eat. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and consists of necessary nutrients, including vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, or iron. Plants get their food from the soil and animals get their food from plants.

Every human being needs food to survive, but humans are usually overweight because most foods are higher in calories and fat than they need. This causes an imbalance that often leads to overeating, a condition characterized by a persistent desire for more food despite the inability to get it because of a low appetite, resulting in weight gain and related health problems. To maintain a healthy weight and a strong immune system, it is important to eat foods that are balanced in nutritional content and contain the right amount of nutrients to ensure optimum health.

Animal products constitute the majority of the foods that are eaten worldwide. Chicken, pork, beef, fish, eggs, milk and cheese comprise animal food groups. Animals are raised for their meat, milk and eggs, rather than for their plant food (which is called plant food). Some plants, like the beans and lentils, are also eaten for their protein, fiber and minerals. Fruits, vegetables and legumes are eaten as food groups, too.

Vegetarians and Vegans, who do not eat any animal products, may be at risk of malnutrition if they don’t eat enough vitamin B-12 or if they don’t get enough vitamin E. Vitamin B-12 helps keep the body’s red blood cells from leaking oxygen. Vitamin E prevents the skin from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which could weaken the immune system.

Food processing techniques have changed over the years, so that what we call conventionally-cooked foods contain the same proportions of nutrients as those in non-conventional methods of preparation. This is because of the chemicals used during the food preparation and the ways in which the nutrients are combined. Because these nutrients are missing from the conventionally-cooked food, they do not get absorbed and used fully by the body.

People who are lactose-intolerant and people with lactose intolerance need to be careful about what they eat because products such as pasta, meat and dairy products are usually processed to make them more digestible and palatable. If you are intolerant to dairy products and meat, then you need to be very careful about what you eat. Avoid processed food usually, especially those with high levels of fat, salt and cholesterol. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans and lentils) so that you get lots of nutrients without having to worry about gaining weight.