Guide to Food Nutrition – Part 1
For health reasons, the food we eat can be categorized into five groups: Fruits, vegetables, grains, oils and processed foods. Fruits include citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, melons like mangoes, berries like blueberries and cranberries, leafy vegetables including spinach, beans and peas, and legumes like black beans and lentils. Vegetables include green and leafy vegetables like carrots, beets, spinach, and cucumbers, grains include oats, millet, flax seed, barley, rice, wheat, corn, and certain fruits like pears and apples. Oils from certain plants, like palm oil, are fats and therefore considered unhealthy. Processed foods include canned, boxed, frozen, dried, and pickled foods.
The best diet is one that replaces junk food with nutritious food. Junk food can be categorized into fast food, pre-packaged, convenience, chain restaurant, home-delivered, and restaurant foods. Fruits and vegetables, together with whole grains, provide the bulk of our diet. However, most of us have limited resources for fresh fruits and vegetables. Pre-packaged and convenience foods can be a part of your daily diet if you choose the right brand.
Eating food usually consists of five to seven servings a day, including all the main food groups plus water, cereals, breads, snacks, legumes, dairy products, meat, potatoes, rice, and other living things. The following are only some kinds of food. You should add different kinds of foods to suit your dietary needs. Usually, all the food groups are eaten in their natural forms.
The primary food group is carbohydrates. We need carbohydrates to survive, and luckily, they come in many forms. In addition to pasta, rice, bread, pasta and cereals, there are fruit pasta, milk, yogurt, and cereal grain that can be eaten as food too. The next categories of carbohydrates are sugar (succeeding the natural carbohydrates), starch (carbs used in preparing food), dietary fiber, fat, and protein.
The next food group is protein. Protein is needed for building and repairing our body. It also provides the necessary amino acids that help in our body’s development and repair. Some examples of protein rich food are beans, fish, poultry, red meat, egg, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and poultry meats. Nuts, soybeans, seeds and legumes are good protein sources.
Animal foods consist of milk, eggs, meat, and other animal products such as bones, horns, and hooves. We could eat these animal products too, but only in small quantities. We need the protein and mineral sources of meats and eggs, plus minerals like iron and calcium to maintain a healthy immune system. Some examples of plant-based animal foods are beans, broccoli, spinach, squash, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, and other green vegetables.