Food is any material consumed to supply nutritional support to an organism. In humans, food is composed of food-forming substances including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. There are four nutrient categories recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, and Copper. The human body requires all of these substances in varying quantities depending on a person’s age, general health, and activity level.
Vitamin A, also called retinol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally found in plants. Animal sources include milk and eggs, whereas in humans it can be found in fish and certain dairy products. This nutrient helps the body synthesize new skin cells and hair. Foods that contain higher levels of vitamin A include fortified milk and butter, yogurt, carrots, cantaloupe, spinach, tuna, and sweet potatoes. For a healthy daily diet, consume foods that are rich in vitamin A from fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, and oily fish.
Carbohydrates provide energy and are the main source of dietary fiber. Whole grain foods that are high in carbohydrates include oats, rice, cereals, breads, and pasta. To meet the recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates, eat five to six servings of breads, pasta, cereals, vegetables, fruits, and grains each day. Low-fat dairy products are also good choices for incorporating fats into the diet.
Vitamins and minerals are food ingredients that are required in small to large portions. Meats, poultry, fish, poultry meats, eggs, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains provide most nutrition. Be sure to read the food label and check the serving size to determine how much of each nutrient the food has. If the nutrition label does not list calories, it is likely that the serving size is too small.
Beans, lentils, peas, nuts, fruits, and vegetables should be combined in dishes to make more nutritional meals. Nuts are a good choice, since nuts contain good fats and protein. Vegetables and legumes, like lentils, peas, and beans, are good sources of fiber. To meet the recommended 8 servings a day, eat more vegetables and legumes. Low-fat dairy products are good choices for adding calcium.
When it comes to healthy eating, it is important to remember that what you put inside your mouth will affect your health in many ways. To keep your body functioning properly, it is important to eat enough vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Also, foods that are high in potassium and magnesium help your body to stay healthy. The foods that you choose to eat can make a big difference in how healthy your body is.