Food – Nutrient Sources
The word food brings to mind the four taste buds that everybody loves. There are sweet, bitter, salt and sour. Sweet food is any food consumed to give basic nutrition to an organism. Sweet food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and normally contains necessary nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or mineral ions. Bitter food is generally of plant or fungi origin and often contains digestive enzymes like pepsin or lactose. Salt and sour contain acids that destroy certain beneficial microorganisms.
A food group represents a number of different carbohydrates or foods that are derived from plants. A food group contains about 70 different carbohydrates including rice, pasta, cereals and breads; potatoes and vegetables; fruits including blueberries, guava, kiwi, pineapple and mango; legumes, beans and lentils; nuts; and small amounts of grains and dairy products. The foods in each food group have different metabolic rates and effects on body weight.
Carbohydrates provide fuel for the body and the brain. Thus, healthy eating routine means including a variety of grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and dairy products in your meal plan. Grains are a good source of protein and energy. Beans and lentils are rich in fiber and have high amounts of nutrients like iron and calcium. Fruits like strawberry, mango, banana, grapes, raisins, melon and papaya have high levels of vitamin C. Vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, eggplant and peppers have vitamin A.
Fats, oils and fats are used by many enzymes and body organs. Unhealthy fats and oils, saturated fats, trans fats and hydrogenated oils are the main factors that increase bad cholesterol levels and contribute to heart diseases. Avoiding saturated fats is important as research shows that saturated fats increases the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, which raises the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Fruits and vegetables, which have low levels of saturated fats are good sources of unsaturated fats.
Proteins contain amino acids that are essential in providing energy to the body. Animal meat, poultry and dairy produce are the main food groups that contain proteins. Proteins are found in legumes, nuts, eggs and fish. Vegetables and legumes contain carbohydrates. The proportion of carbohydrates to protein and fats in the food you consume determines the amount of nutrients you get from it.
When choosing a food source, remember to choose foods that contain essential nutrients. Meals that do not contain vitamins and minerals are often low in nutrients. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the best choices because they are rich in essential nutrients. Aside from whole grain, low-fat milk and yogurt are good food choices as well. To improve your nutrient intake, eat a well-balanced diet comprised of a variety of nutritious foods.