The word food actually refers to any substance ingested to provide nutrition to an organism. In the simplest terms, food is any food that an organism needs in order to grow and reproduce. It could be in the form of seeds, plants, or even animals and birds. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and is made up of essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals, that are required by the organism to carry out its normal functions.
The majority of cultivated food is highly refined and manufactured in large quantities in order to increase its palatability, flavour and nutritional value. Often foods contain a variety of highly refined starches, sugars, salt and chemicals such as potassium chloride and sodium chloride. Often the proportion of salt used is very high, which results in foods that are highly salty having a considerable amount of calories per serving. However, most importantly, foods that are highly refined do not have the nutritional value that natural foods contain.
Vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids are fat soluble. Therefore, the body can only store and absorb a limited amount of them. If the fat content is too low, or the vitamins and minerals the body requires are missing, it is not possible for the body to make these substances itself. Therefore, when there is a lack of these substances, it is impossible for the body to function properly.
Most modern vegetable oils are highly refined and contain mostly hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and some antioxidants. Although they may seem to have health benefits, research has shown that eating these types of fats actually makes a person more likely to develop heart disease. Trans fats are man-made fats that are found in such foods as cookies, spreads, margarines, shortenings, ready-made fried foods and snack foods such as potato chips and ready-made crisps. These are commonly used as ingredients, even though they have harmful health effects. Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish, nuts, seeds, and olives. They are important in keeping the body’s membranes moist and lubricated, but they also provide the body with energy.
If you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, good fats, and moderate amounts of protein, you will be healthier than if you consume mainly red meats, dairy products, processed food, and fast food. Be sure to read the nutrition facts on any food you buy, as they will provide the amount of calories per serving, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, etc. that the food has. Be aware that there are sometimes grams listed in the label, even when it has less than 5 grams of the food. If you choose foods that have fewer grams of certain things, you will be able to control your portion size.
If you eat out at restaurants all the time, take along your sample label and compare it to the ones provided in the nutrition facts table. This is an easy way to make sure you are eating your recommended daily value. You might also want to bring along your prescription medicine and take a look at the daily value listed on the bottle. This could give you an idea of how your medications affect your nutrient balance.