Health Benefits of Food: Eating a Staple Food
Food is any material consumed in order to provide basic nutrition for an organism. Basically, food is of both plant, animal, or fungi origin and is made up of essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or mineral ions. We obtain nourishment from four sources: animal tissues, plants, the environment, and our own consumption. The intake of food is a daily activity and involves the processes of absorption, utilization, and excretion of nutrients. Some of the major food groups are protein-containing foods, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, fats and sweets.
A healthy diet is essential to achieve good nutrition. An ideal diet should comprise a mixture of various carbohydrate, protein, vegetable and fruit foods. However, if the body does not get enough food or if the food is of poor nutritional quality, it can lead to deficiency diseases, such as anaemia, osteoporosis and cancer. Thus, it is important to consume the right kind of food, especially if one wants to live a healthy life.
Vegetable foods are those that are grown without the aid of pesticides or chemicals and contain very few chemical preservatives. These include fresh fruits and vegetables; beans and lentils; nuts and seeds; whole grain breads; whole grain cereals and pasta; potatoes and other tuber crops; legumes (peas, beans, chickpeas, okra); and alcoholic beverages, such as wine and beer. Animal food includes meat, eggs, milk products, dairy products, and eggs among other animal-derived food. Fruit is any food with juice, such as pineapple, oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, papaya, banana, and avocado. Healthy oils, such as olive, canola, safflower oils, are an important part of a healthy diet.
It is recommended to take in a variety of nutrient-rich food in order to meet nutritional needs. For instance, the UK Ministry of Health recommends that a person take in two servings of fruit and/or vegetables per day for optimal health. In the aforementioned study session, participants were asked about their daily intake of the various nutrients. The nutrient intake was compared between groups that took in similar amounts of food. The researchers found that the participants who ate a greater amount of nuts and seeds had higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid than did those who took in a lesser amount of these sources.
Another study session found that women who consumed large amounts of fish had a lower risk of osteoporosis. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that protect the body against high levels of cholesterol and high levels of fat. Women who ate large amounts of fish also had a significantly lower risk of heart disease. Smaller-sized fish contained little amounts of these fatty acids but did not lower the participants’ risk of heart disease.
Our reliance on packaged, processed, and sugared food is leading us to an unhealthy lifestyle. We need to return to a more natural and balanced diet that allows us to eat a wide range of nutritious foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. A well-balanced diet should be a staple food that we can rely on to provide us with energy and vitality.