Food is any material consumed by an organism to give nutrition to the living organisms within that material. Generally speaking, food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and usually contains vital nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, or minerals for the growth and maintenance of a human being. The majority of people eat one or two types of food on a daily basis. These food types are not only required for the growth and maintenance of an individual’s body, but also allow an individual to obtain energy from the foods they eat. The type of food an individual eats is generally related to the portion of the day that the person has to expend in food consumption.
Plants have food components called phytochemicals that are necessary for growth and development of human beings. Phytochemicals exist in different foods and may play a role in how the body uses energy from food. One food that contains high levels of phytochemicals is dark leafy green vegetables (i.e., spinach, kale, cabbage), which contain an abundance of almost twenty different phytochemicals. Other food items that contain high amounts of phytochemicals are nuts, legumes such as beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and eggplant. In addition, the digestive system of animals is affected by phytochemicals that may affect the function of the intestines and may even play a role in preventing disease.
The food industry has developed a wide variety of additives and food ingredients to increase the popularity and taste of some foods and to preserve other foods. Many of these additives and food ingredients are commonly listed as ‘essential’ or ‘life sustaining’ ingredients, indicating that these ingredients contribute to human life and help the body maintain its health, at least during the period in which the food is consumed. However, many of these additives and food ingredients have been proven to be unnecessary and sometimes dangerous to the health. Some of the more popular additives and food ingredients used in foods include artificial flavorings, stabilizers, flavoring, colorings, sodium benzoate (a preservative), sugar, milk, soybean powder, sucrose, and many other artificial chemicals and substances.