Food Variety

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Introduction

Food is the basic necessity of every organism. Food is a substance that we consume in order to derive energy to run our body and nutrition to grow. All living organisms must have food to survive. It provides nourishment to our body system and makes sure that it works smoothly. It aids many biological processes inside the body and helps us grow. As much as it is important to have food, it is more important to have healthy food. Healthy food is the one, which provides a well-balanced diet. It gives us complete nutrition. It consists of food varieties that have maximum nutrients essential for the body. It also intends to provide the right quantity of every nutrient which is required by the body.

The food we eat comes either from plants or animals. Plants are our primary food source of food and the producers in the food chain. Plants make their own food (except for some carnivorous plants). And all other organisms are directly or indirectly dependent on plants for food. Herbivores animals only depend on plants for food. Carnivorous animals hunt other animals for food and omnivores like human beings can have plants as well as animals’ sources for food. There are other sets of organisms like bacteria that depend on dead and decaying organic matter for food. These organisms are called decomposers.


Variety of Food

The availability of food sources and the climatic conditions of the region greatly influence the food variety in the region. And apart from that individual food preferences are dependent on three major determinants-

  • Physical Determinants like education, skills, etc.

  • Biological Determinants like the taste, appetite, preference, etc.

  • Economical Determinants like availability of particular food and its cost.

A variety of food consists of an array of nutrients. There is a plentitude of food products available across various regions for consumers to choose from. India is a plethora of food diversity. We have 29 different states, all having their specialty meals consisting of a platter of nutrition and taste. As food variety varies as per climatic conditions and food sources, a region-wise platter of a meal also varies as per these factors.

 

Why is Variety in Food important?

Food variety ensures all-round nutrition. They offer all sorts of nutrients required by the body. It also brings newness to everyday food, so that there is no monotony in the type of food we have. A single food item does not offer all sorts of nutrition required by the body. Our body needs vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, etc. All these elements are obtained from different types of food. You might have heard that eating fruits is healthy. But what if you ate only oranges every day and no variety of food? It will load your body with a single nutrient and you will be deprived of all other essential nutrients. You will fall sick. Food variety ensures that your body keeps getting all-around nourishment in the form of all the essential nutrients from different types of food. Thus, our everyday meal offers us a mix of carbohydrates through potatoes, rice, vitamins through fruits, proteins through pulses, and so on. Therefore, eating a variety of food is very important for our body.

 

What are Nutrients?

Nutrients are macromolecules required by the body for proper maintenance and growth. The major nutrients required by our body are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc. These nutrients are broken down in our body through various chemical processes to produce energy, aid cell division, growth, etc. The food we eat has all of these nutrients, but a balanced diet is the one in which all the nutrients are available in the right quantities. An excess of unnecessary fats and carbohydrates in the body causes various malfunctions and affects the body parts. Therefore, one must check the nutrient value of the food before having it.


Types of Food

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There are five major Types of Food that must be included in our daily diet for Good Health and well-being.

  1. Vegetables- Vegetables are an abundant source of minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc. For example- Spinach is rich in iron. Vegetables can be directly obtained from plants.

  2. Fruits- Fruits also provide various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Some fruits also provide roughage and are also directly available from plants.

  3. Dairy- Dairy products are a good source of calcium and other macronutrients.

  4. Poultry and Meats- Poultry products like eggs, chicken, and meat and fish are an excellent source of protein. Proteins are the building blocks of life and hence, they are essential for proper growth and maintenance of the body.

  5. Cereals and Legumes- Cereals and legumes are a rich source of fiber.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why is having a Balanced Diet necessary?

Ans. A Balanced Diet provides all-round nourishment to the body. It contains minerals, vitamins, fibers, necessary for the growth and maintenance of the body. Various chemical processes that occur in our body cannot take place without these nutrients. Thus, having a balanced diet is very necessary for the proper growth and functioning of the body.

2. What are the Factors Influencing Food Variety?

Ans. Food variety majorly depends on the climatic conditions of the region, as the climate decides which type of crops will flourish and grow in that particular region thus influencing availability of a particular food and sources.