Food groups are a collection of foods that share similar nutritional properties or biological classifications. The food groups are divided based on the nutritional properties they offer. It is highly recommended to eat portions of food from the different groups in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition guides typically divide foods into a food group and recommends daily servings. Everybody loves food but why do we need to eat and what does our bodies do with the food intake???Belore are reasons why we need food:
For energy: We need food to the muscles and body organs. Food is like fuel to the body because it keeps the body going for without food, the body would not function.
For growth and repair: In order for the body to grow, we need to make new cells. And new cells are needed to replace old or the damaged cells. The body makes these new cells from the chemicals in the food we eat.
To stay healthy: Alot of reactions take place in the cells of the body to keep us healthy and keep the body working. Certain chemicals are needed for these reactions which can only be taken in from the food we eat.
Carbohydrates: We need carbohydrates to give us energy. Starch and sugar such as glucose, sucrose and lactose are all carbohydrates. Starch is a large molecule made up of lots of smaller glucose joined together. Examples: Cereals, bread, pasta, sugar, jam, rice and potatoes.
Proteins: The body is made up of millions of cells. These cells are made up of proteins. The body needs protein to make new cells during growth and to replace old or damaged cells. Proteins are made up of smaller amino acids joined together; there are about 20 different types of amino acids. Children need a lot of protein in their diets as they are growing, however there are many children around the world whose diets are deficient in protein. Examples: Fish, meat, eggs, beans, pulses and dairy products.
Fat: Fats are made up of 3 fatty acids joined to a single glycerol molecule. The body needs fat for energy. Fats contain more energy than carbohydrates. The body uses fat as a store of energy. Fat is stored under the skin and around the heart and kidneys. Fats are also needed for warmth, as they reduce heat loss from the body. Examples: Butter, oil, nuts, crisps, sausages and cheese.
However fat can also be bad for the body. There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated fat. Saturated fats are fats that are gotten from animals while unsaturated fats are gotten from plants. Cholesterol is a fatty deposit made out of the liver and found in blood. The level of cholesterol in the blood is caused by the amount and type of fat in diets.
Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol levels while unsaturated fats reduce blood cholesterol levels. If the body has too much saturated fat, the level of cholesterol increased and begins to stick to the lining of our arteries and builds up over time. This makes the arteries narrow and the heart has to work harder to push the blood through the narrow vessels, and leads to the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Fibre: Fibre or roughage comes from plants, it is essentially the cellulose from the plant cell walls. Fibre cannot be digested, however, it is an important part of our diet for various reasons. As it remains undigested it passes through the entire gut from mouth to anus and thus keeps food moving smoothly through our system to prevent constipation. Fibre also absorbs poisonous waste from the digesting food. High fibre diets are believed to reduce the risk of heart diseases, bowel cancer and cholesterol in the body.
Vitamins and Minerals: We only need a small amount of vitamins and minerals in our diet but they are very essential for the body. One can become ill if they don’t have enough vitamins and minerals. Deficiency diseases are caused when the body does not have enough of a certain type of vitamin or mineral, e.g. anaemia is caused by lack of mineral iron. These deficiencies are easily cured by eating the right kinds of food. Examples: fruits, vegetables and cereals.
Water: Water makes up roughly 65% of our body weight. We take in water when we eat and drink. Water is important because the chemical reactions in our cells take place in water and also waste products are passed out of our bodies in water. Our blood transports substances that are dissolved in water, water is also in sweat, that cools us down. Examples: fruit juice, milk, water.