Table of Contents
Food is essential for regular growth and nutrition. Nutrition and food are interrelated. The element that nourishes the human body is food. Different types of nutrients are available from different types of food.
Healthy food is a way to gain good health and efficiency. But even after eating healthy food, it is seen that in many cases the body does not get the expected results. That is, foods that are not properly digested in the human body and that do not provide proper nutrition to the human body are not considered healthy food. Food sources can be both plants and animals. Food enters the body, nourishes it, satisfies hunger, and energizes the body. There are some ingredients in this food that solve some important functions in the human body.
Food has many different components and each component is necessary for one function or the other. There are seven major nutrients found in our food that are required by the body in order to maintain its proper functionality.
FOOD AND ITS IMPORTANCE
Food is essential for all living organisms. Plants prepare their own food and store in their special organs as fruits, tubers, seeds, etc. Animals and human beings depend on this stored food of plant. Bigger animals depend on smaller animals for their food. Human beings also depend on animals for their food.
Importance of food
- Food provides energy.
- Food is needed for growth.
- Food helps in maintaining good health.
- Food maintains the body functions.
- Food is necessary to heal wounds.
Food consists of several ingredients. An ingredient is a part of combinations that is added to prepare foods. Ingredients may vary according to the types of foods. Ingredients can be gained from plant sources and animal roots.
Example: for preparing boiled rice, mainly rice and water are used for preparation, so rice and water are one of the ingredients for making boiled rice.
Another example is vegetables, salt, water and spices are used in cooking vegetable curry, so vegetables, salt, water and spices are ingredients of making vegetable curry.
Food consist of necessary nutrients namely, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates and fats are referred as energy providing food. Proteins are referred as body-building food. Vitamins and minerals are referred as protective food.
Components of Food
The components of foods and their functions are represented as in tabular form below,
|Carbohydrates||These are digested and broken down into glucose and provide energy to the body|
|Fats||Store energy, protects and insulates the important organs|
|Proteins||Help in metabolism, act as enzymes, and hormones|
|Vitamins||These help in maintaining healthy bones, boost the immune system, heal wounds, repair and damage of cells and converting food into energy|
|Iodine||Formation of thyroid hormone|
|Calcium||Helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system and maintain healthy bones|
|Phosphorus||Helps to maintain acid-base balance in the body|
|Sodium||Controls the blood pressure|
|Iron||Facilitates the formation of haemoglobin|
|Fibres||They help in food absorption and prevents constipation|
|Water||They help in absorbing nutrients from the food and release waste from the body in the form of urine and sweat.|
What is a Balanced Diet?
The loss of capability to eat is alike to losing a life. This is the reason, maintaining the constituents of food are crucial to living a healthy life. Now, it is not always possible to measure and intake the constituents, and thus, as a rule of thumb, it’s good to follow a healthy and balanced diet. A diet, which contains the right amount of nutrients, roughage and water is called a balanced diet.
Role of Nutrients For Our Bodies
Nutrients are substances that are generally found in different foods and its constituents. It helps in driving biological activities, and hence, it is essential for our body. There are six different types of nutrients. Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals and Water.
- Fats will provide more energy to our body as compared to carbohydrates.
- Proteins contains body building foods.
- There are different kinds of vitamins such as Vitamin A, B complex, C, D. E, K etc. Vitamin C protects our body from diseases.
Carbohydrates are organic compounds made up of the elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Most of the foods that people eat every day are carbohydrates. The ratio of hydrogen and oxygen in this organic compound is 2:1. C₆H₁₂O₆ is the symbol of carbohydrates. That is defined as one carbohydrate has 6 carbon atoms, 12 hydrogen atoms, and 6 oxygen atoms.
Carbohydrates are present in both plants and animal sources. The sources of carbohydrates are rice, wheat, cereals, millet, pulses, nuts, roots, potato, flour, molasses, sugar, sago, grapes, corn, bananas, mangoes, watermelons, vegetables, carrots, oranges, dates, apples, barley, goat liver, cow’s and buffalo’s milk, etc.
According to the composition, carbohydrates are classified into three types.
The carbohydrates that are made up of a single molecule are called monosaccharides. For example, glucose, fructose, galactose are these types of carbohydrates.
- Glucose is found in honey, sweets, fruits.
- Fructose is found in fruits, honey, and root vegetables.
- Galactose is found in milk.
The carbohydrates that are made up of two molecules are called disaccharides. Such as sucrose, lactose and maltose.
- Sugarcane, molasses, sugar, date juice contain sucrose, germinated seeds contain maltose and milk contain lactose.
The carbohydrates that are made up of many molecules are called polysaccharides. For example, starch, glycogen, and cellulose are these types of carbohydrates.
- Rice, wheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. are rich in starch.
- Cellulose is found in fruits, vegetables, fruit peels, and seeds.
- Glycogen is found in muscles and the liver.
The role of carbohydrates in human nutrition is quite important.
- The main function of carbohydrates is to produce heat and energy in the body.
- Carbohydrates help in the combustion of fats.
- Cellulose-type food eliminates constipation in the human body.
- Excess carbohydrates are stored in the body in the form of glycogen.
- These organic molecules protect against ketosis.
Carbohydrates are very significant molecules in the human body. Starch is a type of carbohydrate. Lack of carbohydrates in the human body causes various diseases. like ketosis and marasmus disease is often seen in the body of children.
All plant and animal cells are made of protein. Proteins are organic compounds that are made up of the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Study of proteins revealed multiple amino acids. According to the chemical composition, there are three types of protein. These are Simple protein, Conjugated protein, and derived protein.
Proteins are found in fish, meat, eggs, milk, pulses, soybean, bean, wheat, etc. Cereals, millet, potatoes, green vegetables, and fruits have a very little amount of protein.
- The first and primary function of protein is to assist in the formation of the body.
- One of the functions of protein is to meet the demand for essential amino acids.
- Proteins create new cells to replenish the body’s decay.
- Most of the bones, muscles, organs, systems, blood cells, etc. of the body are made up of proteins.
- It plays a major role in the production of antibodies in the body.
- When the body lacks carbohydrates and fats, the stored protein is broken down to produce heat and energy.
- Hemoglobin in the blood is made up of proteins.
Like carbohydrates, fats are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. However, their structure and proportions are different. Fats are digested and converted into fatty acids and glycerol. Fat does not mix with water, thus floats in water. Fatty acids and glycerol are excreted through the small intestine. According to the structural properties, there are three types of fats, simple fat, compound fat, and derivative fat.
Fats are found in meat fat, butter, ghee, whole milk, ice cream, nuts, oil, red meat, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, cream, mustard oil, oilseeds, etc.
- Fat is a concentrated source of heat and energy. 9 kcal energy is obtained from 1 gm of fat.
- This organic compound protects the human body from skin diseases by providing essential fatty acids.
- Fat is stored in the animal’s body as a source of food for the future.
- It helps to dissolve and absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- It lubricates the rectum and anus and helps in the excretion of feces.
- Fats (cholesterol) produce vitamin D, hormones like testosterone, estrogen, etc.
Vitamins are those special organic nutrients that help the body to grow normally and increase immunity. There are two types of vitamins water-soluble vitamins (vitamin B complex, C, and P) and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K). The sources of all these vitamins and their function are discussed below.
Liver oil of cod and halibut, fish, egg, whole milk, carrot, butter, ghee, vegetable oil, rice, flour, yellow pumpkin, mango, tomato, papaya, cabbage, green vegetables and leaves, nuts, peas, spinach, lemon, cauliflower, etc. are rich in vitamins.
- The functions of vitamins are to increase the normal growth of the body, build blood cells, keep the mucous membrane healthy, keep the nerve cells healthy, etc.
- Vitamins build rod cells, boosts immunity, and keep gums healthy.
- It keeps the amount of prothrombin in the blood normal and helps in blood clotting.
- Vitamins help in breast milk secretion, infertility prevention, fetal growth, etc.
- It keeps the skin soft and normal.
- Vitamins help maintain the retinal structure and eye performance.
Minerals are an important component of food. Various minerals are needed to keep the body healthy. There are about 24 types of minerals in the body. Some of these are important in nutrition. The important minerals for the body are calcium, sodium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, potassium, chlorine. Adequate amounts of minerals are required in the daily diet. Especially the presence of calcium, iron, and iodine in the diet.
Milk, fish, meat, green vegetables, eggs, pulses, nuts, grains, liver, cod liver oil, seaweed, table salt, cheese, fish liver oil, etc. are rich in minerals.
The function of minerals in the human body is essential.
- Minerals help in bone formation and nutritional maintenance.
- These elements participate in the formation of teeth.
- Minerals help build energy from carbohydrates and fats.
- It makes red blood cells.
- The function of minerals is to maintain the balance of water inside and outside the cell.
- It helps in muscle building.
- Minerals affect the normal growth of bones, skin, hair, and the normal structure of the brain, the physical and mental development of the human body.
- It is an inorganic component of food and is an essential element. It does not provide energy. When the human body is deficient in minerals, various diseases occur. Such as, lack of iodine causes goiter. This anger swells the front of the throat. Lack of iron in the food reduces the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. As a result, anemia occurs.
Water is an essential and important component of food. Body structure and internal function cannot occur without water. About 60 to 70% of body weight is water. The human body needs water for the formation of every organ-like blood, flesh, nerves, teeth, bones, etc.
The role or function of water in the human body are
- The body needs water for the digestion of foods.
- Water is necessary for all the chemical processes in the body.
- The function of water is to transport the necessary elements of the body to the cell.
- Water eliminates constipation.
- Water helps in controlling body temperature.
Different Components of Food FAQs
1. What are the components of food?
Answer: Nutrients are essential compounds that are required by our body. Unfortunately, our body fails to make sufficient nutrients on its own, and thus, we need proper food to intake. The major nutrients of food are:
2. What is the function of carbohydrates for our bodies?
3. What is the function of water in our bodies?
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