Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to an organism for its proper growth and development. Basically, food is of either plant, animal, or microbial origin, and has all necessary nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals, in the right quantities for the organisms to grow and develop normally. It is also necessary that the food is nutritious, in that there should be no harmful toxins or harmful substances in it that may prove detrimental to the organisms being fed. It is not always possible to know what food is healthy and nutritious for a particular food, and what food is harmful and should be avoided.
One of the best ways of ensuring that food is nutritious and safe is through knowing the sources of vitamins and minerals in it. Most people need a daily dose of vitamins and minerals through eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are considered to be the richest sources of nutrients. On the other hand, people who are dieting or who are trying to lose weight may find it hard to get their required daily doses of vitamins and minerals through diet alone. Vitamins and minerals are lost due to vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, as well as through the normal process of the body eliminating wastes. In such cases, food supplements may be of help to restore the proper levels of these substances.
In addition, certain food items like refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, artificial flavorings, saccharine, etc., should be avoided, as they are harmful to the human body. When shopping for processed food, it is advisable to buy the ‘ready-to-eat’ varieties, as these contain all the food substances that are needed by the body. Also, food processing techniques are used to enhance the taste and nutritional value of the food, so one should make sure that he opts for the right kind of product. Also, if one is looking for a diet that will stay with him for the rest of his life, then a vegetarian diet can prove to be beneficial. However, this diet should only be adopted for short durations of time, as excess consumption of such products can lead to serious consequences.