BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Food and it’s  Components



Food is anything consumed by living organisms in order to stay alive. Foods offer nutrients, energy and growth, they can be of plant, animal, or fungal origin. All living organisms, including plants and animals, need food to survive. While plants produce and store their own food, animals depend on this stored food. Also, higher animals depend on lower animals for food. Components of food include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. These components determine the appearance, texture, taste and benefits of the food. To effectively provide the desired benefits, food  is ingested, digested and then absorbed by the cells of an organism.

In general, foods consumed by humans are grouped in various ways depending on several factors. These factors may include the building blocks of the food, processing methods or relative benefits of the food. Fundamentally, the four basic food groups used by many systems describe their origin and relative nutritional function: Fruits and Vegetables, Cereals and Bread, Dairy, and Meat. The World Health Organization uses a broader, more specific system with nineteen food types:

  • cereals, beverages, milk
  • roots, pulses, nuts
  • fish and shellfish
  • meat, insects
  • vegetables, fruits
  • fats and oils
  • sweets and sugars
  • spices and condiments
  • food additives

Based on the nutritional components, there are six main classes of food as mentioned earlier which are: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are macronutrients because they provide calories and are energy giving while vitamins, minerals, and water are micronutrients because they do not give energy. All nutrients including macro and micro nutrients are important for health,  and beneficial to the body. 

Carbohydrate is a major macro nutrient that provides energy. These carbohydrates consists of sugars or starches that are broken down by the body and stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. Carbohydrates are stored to ensure the body has enough energy for activities, especially during fasting.When needed, the stored carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is used by the body cells for energy. Common sources of carbohydrates are fruits, grains, rice, beans, and numerous vegetables. Some carbohydrate-rich vegetables are potatoes, yams, and corn.

Proteins are the building blocks with which the body builds cells and other tissues. When ingested,  proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are basic components of growth, development, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Proteins provide structure to muscle and bones and helps to repair damaged tissues. The skin contains a protein called keratin which helps to repair and heal damaged skin layers.  Major sources of protein include beef, pork, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and dairy products. Proteins come from both plant and animal sources, however ,research shows that  animal proteins are better absorbed by the body  when compared to plant proteins.

Comments are closed.