Food is any material consumed in order to provide nutrition to an organisms. In its simplest form, food is any food that an organism can eat and live normally on. Typically, food is of animal, plant or fungi origin, and consists of necessary nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, sugars, or other micronutrients. Although food has various functions and is used for survival, in the human diet, carbohydrates, starches, fats, and fluids are the major source of energy.
Most people in the Western world consume foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, eggs, cereals, pulses, vegetables, and fruits. These foods are full of nutrition. You should however see food differently depending on the type. A cow, for instance, can produce milk or meat products, which are all food. A human can only survive by eating plants, which are a part of the food chain.
In contrast, animals produce eggs, sperm, milk, and meat. Animals can be eaten, but most human-quality foods cannot be eaten by animals. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, provide the majority of our daily nutrition. Plants are an important part of a balanced diet because they absorb some of the more harmful substances in our environment; vegetables are high in fiber and therefore low in fat content.
A balanced diet is food that provides the right proportions of macronutrients. Macronutrients are what we need in order to maintain health. For example, a person needs more vitamin A than carotenoids (colored pigments) to protect against degenerative eye diseases. Vitamin A protects against free radical damage; it is essential for healthy skin, teeth, bones and nails. The typical American diet does not usually meet the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. This is why so many cultures eat more fruits and vegetables than the typical American diet.
Some food groups are easier to digest than others. Milk, cheese, eggs and whole wheat breads are easier to digest than meat products. Meats, cheese, eggs, nuts and whole wheat breads are all easier to find and eat than is pasta, rice and cereal products. This is why people in many cultures eat more of these food groups than the average person.
Most Americans do not get enough of the nutrients that they need to stay healthy. Americans consume far too much food rich in fats, sugars and calories. Processed foods, which have additives and chemicals, are full of empty calories that cannot be used by the body. These food groups are not part of a balanced diet. A balanced diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, dairy products and fats.