The term food refers to any substance ingested to provide the body with nutrition. In humans, food is generally of animal, plant or fungal type, and consists of necessary nutrients, including vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals. It also represents the entire range of chemical compounds that are required in the development of living beings and that are used to help the body function normally. The human body requires a wide range of different food types to meet various needs, including the regulation of body temperature, maintaining the normal functioning of the reproductive system, building and repairing tissues, developing and maintaining the immune system, and providing energy to help the body metabolize food.
People throughout the world vary in their preferences when it comes to the type of food that they eat. Some people eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, while others eat meat and dairy products. Some people hardly ever eat anything but junk foods, whereas others eat foods that contain excessive amounts of fat, salt, sugar, and processed oils that are harmful to the body. It has been proven that eating a balanced diet is important for overall health, and a nutritious diet can help a person live a healthy and active life.
All food types have some nutritional value; however, not all food types are equal. Animal foods, which include milk products, eggs, meat, and fish, contain more fat, sodium, and sugar than do plant foods, which include vegetables and fruits, grains, nuts, and legumes (such as beans and lentils). Unsaturated fatty acids, found in plants, help strengthen and maintain the body’s cells and organs, while the unsaturated fatty acids found in fish, nuts, seeds, and oil help to maintain the body’s internal balance of fat, sodium, sugar, and carbohydrate.