Food is the material that sustains life and growth for organisms of all kinds, including humans. It is a combination of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Biologically, food is made by plants, algae and some bacteria; animals and most other organisms obtain food from other organisms or organic matter.
Plants use sunlight and water for photosynthesis to make carbohydrates, fats and protein. Animals obtain their food from other organisms or organic matter, such as fish, insects, roots and bark.
Vegetables, fruits and nuts contain many essential nutrients that are needed for good health. They are usually eaten fresh or cooked, either raw or steamed.
Broccoli, for instance, is a superfood because it contains the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol. It is also a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Meat is the protein-rich portion of animals, including sheep and goats. It is often accompanied by grains and vegetables. Meat is also a major source of calcium and iron.
The 5 major food groups are meat, dairy foods, fruit and vegetables, bread and cereals and beans and legumes. A diet containing these foods is healthy and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Eat a wide range of foods from each of these groups every day to get the nutrients you need, but avoid saturated fats and processed foods. Choose low-fat, no-sugar options and opt for whole-grain foods instead of white flour products.
Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal. Vegetables and fruit are a great source of fibre, which helps to keep you feeling full longer.
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease and cancer. You should aim to eat from 5 to 13 servings of different types of fruits and vegetables each day.
Some fruit varieties, such as apples and pears, are lower in calories than others. They are high in fibre, vitamin C and other nutrients that can help to reduce the risk of obesity and coronary heart disease.
Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are a good source of folic acid, which helps to prevent birth defects and heart disease. They are also a good source of zinc, which may help to reduce the risk of gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
They are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, which can help to regulate blood pressure and to prevent muscle cramps. They are a good source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Meat is a good source of protein and is essential for building bones and muscles. It is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. It is also a good source of selenium, which may reduce your risk of getting sick.
People around the world eat different foods, depending on their cultural beliefs and traditions. Some people follow a strict vegetarian diet, while others eat meat. Some religions, such as Jewish kashrut law and Muslim dhabihah law, have specific laws about what can be eaten and how it should be prepared.