Humans need food to survive. Without it, they would soon die from lack of food. Plants need food to grow, trees need food to grow, and animals eat food to survive. People eat food to live, and humans eat different types of food to help them survive. Although there are many different foods that humans consume, the three primary groups of food that all humans consume are carbohydrates, protein and fat. There are other important groups of food, but these are the three most important.
Carbohydrates are found in breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, legumes, seeds and nuts. Food intake is generally related to carbohydrate intake. In a recent study session held at the Australian National University, it was found that elderly subjects who ate large amounts of fibre had slowed down the aging process. This is one of the first studies of this type, which suggests that increasing the intake of fibre may slow down aging. The slowing of the aging process could be due to the increase of soluble fibre, a type of carbohydrate, in the subjects’ diet.
Proteins can be derived from meat, fish, poultry, eggs and lentils. Meat is the most common source of protein in the diet, followed by poultry and eggs. Fish and poultry contain high levels of protein, but some people consume very small amounts of fish, owing to their taste. The consumption of lentils is often considered to be a vegetable, but it provides a substantial amount of nutrient content, including iron and folic acid. Folic acid is important for red blood formation and cell division, so increasing intake of lentils may improve the baby’s neural development and ability to absorb oxygen.
Fatty acids can be found in oils and fats. These fatty acids are broken down into various fatty acids, which provide different characteristics and effects in the human body. Saturated fats and trans-fats are the two categories of fats, which increase the LDL or bad cholesterol. Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, are beneficial for health. Saturated fats have a diuretic effect, causing the body to hold onto fluids even when there is no physical activity.
Some plant food groups contain antioxidants, which protect the body against environmental radicals. They prevent DNA damage, free radical generation, lipid peroxidation, etc. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables are considered to be important sources of antioxidants. Legumes, nuts, apples and carrots are high in antioxidant compounds, while grains, vegetables and seeds have lesser amounts. Green tea is another good source of antioxidants, as it contains catechins, which help prevent cell damage.
Vitamins and minerals also play an important role in our health. We need a balanced diet, consisting of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, protein, carbohydrates, fat and salt. A vitamin deficiency can cause fatigue, poor concentration, nausea and vomiting and some types of cancer. A balanced diet may not be able to provide everyone with the same amount of vitamins and minerals, but having more than the minimum amount is always better than not having any at all.