Food and Health – What Are the Main Food Groups?
Food is any material consumed to provide nutrition to the organisms. Generally speaking food is of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, or minerals, which the human body needs. The types of food are categorized in different groups according to the diet that they supply to an individual. These groups of food can be categorized into three: vegetable food, fruit and vegetable food, and legume food. Plants and animals all have different requirements for food, and humans can only survive on a combination of these three groups of food.
Vegetable and Fruit Foods Rich in Low-Carbohydrates and High-Sugar Content Due to their high water content, fruits and vegetables are extremely filling, containing lots of dietary fiber. Because fruits and vegetables are rich in low-glycemic carbohydrates, they are recommended to be included in the diet for weight loss, energy creation, and to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. They are also good for those who want to lose weight because they are rich in potassium and vitamin C. Potassium is a component of the cell membranes of the body and helps regulate insulin and glucose; while vitamin C aids in the burning of fat. Legumes (such as beans and lentils) are rich in protein and contain no fat. Thus legume foods rich in proteins are excellent for weight loss, as protein is needed to form protein-containing amino acids.
Macronutrients and Nutrients The quality of a diet depends on the balance of macronutrients and nutritionally essential nutrients. A diet should provide different nutrients that meet the needs of the different bodies. Some of the most important macronutrients are protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber. For example, a diet that is rich in protein and fiber is a good one, because protein is needed for building muscle, while fat helps control the levels of cholesterol. Carbohydrate is needed for energy production, while fat is needed to maintain healthy skin and other body parts. Nutritional needs vary according to gender, health status, age, and lifestyle.