Food is any material consumed to supply the nutritional need for an organism. Basically, food is of plant, animal, or fungi origin and has necessary nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, or minerals for a healthy life. The nutritional value of food depends upon the preparation, nature, age, and quality. Generally speaking, in human nutrition, carbohydrates refers to glucose or sugar found in different foods and in plant products such as bread, rice, pasta, etc., proteins is made up of protein found in meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, etc., and vitamins represent the substances required by the body to assimilate food nutrients. In digesting food, enzymes in the body break down the food into simple compounds (amines, phenols, flavones, terpenes) which are then absorbed through the bloodstream into the different parts of the body where they serve various purposes.
According to Ayurvedic nutrition, food is categorized into five types of elements (air, earth, fire, water and wood), each of which provides specific nutrition according to its respective place and time. These five categories of nutrients also have specific sources and thus determine the quantity of each element that is present in food. The five sources of nutrition are the air (principally oxygen); the earth (especially sand, soil, rock dust, etc. ); fire; water and wood (especially water and wood from trees); and wood or bone (specialized for making bone supports). Based on Ayurvedic analysis, the following nutrients should be present in a balanced diet to promote the health of humans:
In our daily life, we eat food as it is prepared, but most of us do not pay attention to the ingredients (or lack thereof) that make up this food. Often, we only consider the calories and the fat content, while ignoring other nutrient content that could pose a threat to our health. We often think that fat is the bad thing in a balanced diet, when actually the opposite may be true. To enjoy a well-balanced diet full of nutrients, we should pay attention to the three main constituents of food, i.e. fat, protein and fiber.