Types of Food That Are Good for You
Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to an organisms. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has key nutrients, including protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fat, or mineral salts. Plants process food in much the same way that the human body does, using the calories from the food to make energy and store it.
Animal food can be classified into three categories, meat, dairy products and eggs. It is animal derived food that is used to provide protein and nutrients to an animal’s body. Dairy products are milk, cheese and yogurt. Meat is either a product of animal origin or plants, such as poultry, pork, beef, fish, lentils and beans.
Animal foods are rich in fat and contain no carbohydrates; therefore, they provide the main source of protein in human nutrition. Animal foods, however, do contain some carbohydrates. Plants, particularly animal source plants, contain many carbohydrates in the form of starches, which are then converted by the body into other nutrients.
Milk and cheese are the two best dairy products. They are high in calcium, iron, protein, zinc and vitamin D. Eggs are another good source of calcium, protein, minerals and vitamins. Both are rich in vitamin B-12 and vitamin D, while a very small amount of calories. Milk is the highest source of fat; therefore, it is the best source of fat for ensuring good nutrition. Many vegetarians or people who follow a vegetarian diet find that dairy products are a major source of their daily calcium. Therefore, milk, cheese and yogurt are also good sources of calcium.
The three main food groups are protein, carbohydrate and fat. Plants and animal foods contain different types of carbohydrates and proteins, with plant based foods including nuts, whole grains, beans and lentils having the highest levels of protein. Most animal proteins are complete proteins. This means that they contain all the amino acids that are necessary for the building and repairing of tissues and organs. Animal proteins, including meat, poultry, fish and eggs, are incomplete proteins because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids.
Vegetables, legumes and grains contain vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, dietary fibers and phytochemicals, which are antioxidants that protect the body from disease and help to maintain a healthy weight. Many vegetables, legumes and grains are high in vitamins A, C, E and K. Animal foods contain only a few vitamins; however, eggs, dairy and organ meats provide complete nutrients with important B-vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, iron and sodium. Phosphorous and potassium are found in legumes, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Foods that are rich in calories, but low in nutrients and vitamins are considered low in nutrition, although they still have their place in a balanced diet.