Nutritional Needs of People
Food is any substance ingested to provide nutrition to an organism for growth, life. The word ‘food’ is also used in the context of human consumption, which means eating meals and snacks. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or other macronutrients, for growth. Plants are the only organisms that derive their food from the sun and other environmental factors; animals eat food to sustain life, but most consume protein only. Fungi feed on plant matter, but humans and other organisms use animal protein for nutrition.
A balanced, healthy diet must contain a wide range of food types and several important nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, vitamins and other macro-nutrients. Most people are deficient in one or more nutrients; deficiencies can be due to a diet rich in fat and salt, certain foods that are more difficult to digest, and inactive lifestyle. An inactive lifestyle is a major cause of nutrient deficiency and includes inactivity, excessive smoking, poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and other factors.
The best way to obtain all the nutrients needed by the body is to eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet rich in a variety of food groups. Grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and nuts are 5 major food groups. These food groups can be divided into nutrient-rich, non-nutrient-rich food groups, with the most common of the non-nutrient rich groups starching. Grains, vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients, which help maintain a healthy body. Some fruits and vegetables are rich in certain vitamins and minerals, but may be limited due to their very low vitamin content.