The Relationship Between Food Groups and Nutrition
Food is any material prepared to provide nutrition to an organism for its proper growth. It includes all food material that is consumed by an organism for the growth and maintenance of its tissues and organs. All living organisms, including plants and animals, need food to survive. The food materials may be plant, animal, or fungi and consist of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals. Some of the most important food components are protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
Food plays an important role in the diet. Therefore, it is necessary to eat a balanced diet, including food rich in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. In fact, all food is consumed for the correct growth and maintenance of the body. However, some food is required more than the others for the growth of an organism, as in the case of fibre. Favourable intake of certain food components ensures the proper functioning of all the other elements of the diet.
There are many persons who live in extreme situations and are forced to cook their own food in order to avoid being fed by public schools or other institutions. For such persons, there is an urgent need to understand food deserts, which are very common in under developed countries and result in deficiency of essential nutrients and the resulting ailments. Several organizations have been set up to assist such persons to make healthy choices of food, including awareness programmes and the provision of appropriate food supplies. There are several examples of such programmes in various countries, including China, India, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.
Maize is one of the major groups of food products used for animal feed. However, it is not clear whether this food is completely nutritious or not. Recent studies have shown that consumption of maize in the diet is not only helpful in promoting nutrition throughout the digestive system, but also plays a role in fighting chronic diseases.
A considerable amount of research has been conducted on the benefits of carbohydrates in nutrition, especially in relation to controlling weight gain and combating cardiovascular diseases. Consumption of carbohydrates is converted into energy through the process of glycolysis, which releases a lot of fatty substances and glucose into the blood stream. However, the conversion of food into energy requires the intake of certain nutrients, mostly vitamins and minerals, which are not abundantly found in plant products. For instance, in spite of abundant fruits and vegetables, we find ourselves overweight with inadequate levels of vitamins B and E.
The main food groups, which constitute the staple diet of almost all the people in the world, are protein, vegetable, fruit, grain and dairy food. Rice is rarely consumed as a food, even though it contains a lot of dietary fiber. Cereal is largely replaced by junk food items such as white bread and white sugar, and potatoes and pasta are usually eaten in only small proportions. Coffee and tea are drunk infrequently, even though they contain antioxidants, minerals and other nutrients that are good for health.