What Are Good and Bad Foods?
In the human body food is any material consumed to give nutrition to an organism. Food is generally of vegetable, animal or fungi origin, and has all necessary nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or other minerals. Plants derive their food from the soil in which they grow; animals get their food from plants or meat; fungi consume certain types of fungus (e.g., cellulose) in their symbiotic relationships with microorganisms in the soil; and microorganisms obtain food from some minerals in the soil. Food is also used to prevent or treat some disease by the introduction of probiotics or antimicrobials that have a natural occurring capability to produce an immune system response. The most important function of food is to supply energy to an organism, for growth, maintenance and development, and sometimes to correct a deficiency in an organism’s metabolic processes.
Our bodies are made to absorb most of the nutrients we eat; our diets should therefore contain mostly unrefined carbohydrates and some fibrous proteins (e.g., vegetables, legumes, nuts) and fat. Although fat is important for energy production, it is not the only nutrient needed by the body and must be complemented by carbohydrates. The main sources of dietary fat are fats obtained from dairy products (cream, butter, margarine), tropical oils, safflower oil, coconut oil, palm oil, fish oils (salted, ocean, frozen), red meat (red meat, kidney, liver, heart, bile) and peanuts. Carbohydrates come from breads, cereals, beans, potatoes, whole grain breads, pasta, cereals, fruits (fresh, dried, frozen), and vegetables. Unrefined carbohydrates include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, and whole wheat flour, which provides energy and includes some B vitamins. They should be combined with healthy oils such as olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil, and walnuts.
Fresh vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts, lentils, poultry and fish and lean meats are important constituents of a nutritious diet. Fruit and grain products, especially whole grain breads, are important sources of dietary fiber. Foods that should be avoided or reduced in quantity are junk foods, sugar, salt, saturated and trans fats, yeast products, junk food preparations, and other foods that contain additives and coloring. The amount and type of food consumed and the quality of that food have a major influence on the individual’s nutritional needs and on his/her health and well-being.