Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to an organism. It can be divided into vegetable, animal, or fungi based food, and has essential nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals. The human body uses most of the calories we ingest; therefore, it is important to ensure that we get the right proportion of food to meet our daily needs. The food pyramid shows a graphical representation of the food pyramid, showing the food group and the amount of calories per serving.
Some people believe that real food options give more nutrition. However, research shows that many people obtain all the nutrients they need from foods with little preparation, such as juices, purees, sauces, and pureed fruits and vegetables. Whole foods like vegetables, whole grain breads, beans, nuts, and whole wheat pasta and cereals are also good choices, with little preparation required. When you cook vegetables and fruits, the enzymes in the skin and stems cook the foods, which can leave you with less healthy food choices. When you eat unprocessed foods like grains, nuts, fresh meat and seafood, you absorb more vitamins and minerals, with little or no cooking required.
There are many benefits to consuming whole foods. Many of these foods are rich in antioxidants, which can prevent diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. The average person eats four times more processed food than natural food, which makes it tough to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Whole grains, nuts, fresh fish, and seafood are the best sources for natural food, with little or no processing. A recent study by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) found that a high percentage of Americans are lacking key nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin D. These nutrient deficiencies can lead to poor health and increased risk of disease. Therefore, whole grains, nuts, and fresh seafood are excellent real food options.