Types of Food and Nutrition
Food is any material used to give nutrition to organisms within a living organism. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has all necessary nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals, for the growth and maintenance of an individual organism. A major function of food is to store energy and nutrients. Therefore, humans need food all the time to keep their body functioning properly. Humans are not born with food stores, but may obtain it from the foods they eat.
There are different classes of food, according to its type and amount of nutrient storage. The first are simple carbohydrates, which are stored in the blood stream as glycogen. These are the most common type of food and include breads, pastas, cereals, potatoes and most other vegetables. Simple carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is later absorbed by the body and used for energy and weight loss. The best sources of carbohydrates are vegetables, legumes and whole grain products.
A second class of food is fibrous foods, which are made up of chains of glucose molecules with fibrous strands interconnecting each other. This type of food is digested more slowly than simple carbohydrates and is therefore recommended as a primary source of energy and as a main part of a healthy diet. Foods that fall into this category include pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits like cherries and blueberries, legumes like beans and lentils, vegetables like corn and peas and nuts like almonds and walnuts. The main benefit of dietary fiber is that it speeds up the process of absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This enables them to be metabolized and used immediately by the body.
A third class of food is called vegetable matter, which includes all parts of a plant that can be used as food, even seeds, stems, leaves and some parts of the fruit. Some examples include leaves of spinach, beans, rhubarb, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, squash, tomatoes and aubergine. It is suggested that vegetables form an important part of a balanced diet and that they should be a regular part of the daily meals. Vegetables that form this group include: beans, peas, carrots, spinach, beans, rhubarb, cauliflower, tomatoes, aubergine and broccoli.
The fourth group of food is protein-rich foods, which consist of proteins extracted from animal tissues, including skin, milk, meat and fish. This is the most important group of nutrient for nutrition and weight loss purposes. Some examples of protein-rich foods include eggs, pulses, beans, fish, cheese and peanut butter. Meats and dairy products, however, should be eaten in small quantities.
The last group of food is complex carbohydrate foods, which include most processed carbohydrate foods. These include white breads, rice cakes, pasta, cereals, pasta and potatoes. Other complex carbohydrate foods include raw fruits, root vegetables and whole grain bread. To meet dietary needs for physical activities, it is recommended that foods rich in calories are consumed in moderation. With this in mind, eat foods rich in carbohydrates and you will achieve your desired level of physical activity.