Food is the basic necessity of man. It is a mixture of different nutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are essential for growth, development and maintenance of good health throughout life. They also play a vital role in meeting the special needs of pregnant and lactating women and patients recovering from illness.
FUNCTIONS OF FOOD
Food may be classified according to their functions in the body.
Functions of Food
1.a.Energy yielding Foods (Protein) (Carbohydrate, protein, fat)
1.b.Body building foods
1.c.Protective foods(Vitamins and minerals)
Physiological functions of food:
i. Energy yielding foods:
Foods rich in carbohydrates and fats are called energy yielding foods. They provide energy to sustain the involuntary processes essential for continuance of life, to carry out various professional, household and recreational activities and to convert food ingested into usable nutrients in the body.
The energy needed is supplied by the oxidation of foods consumed. Cereals, roots and tubers, dried fruits, oils, butter and ghee are all good sources of energy.
ii. Body building foods:
Foods rich in protein are called body building foods. Milk, meat, eggs and fish are rich in proteins of high quality. Pulses and nuts are good sources of protein but the protein is not of high quality. These foods help to maintain life and promote growth. They also supply energy.
iii. Protective and Regulatory foods:
Foods rich in protein, minerals and vitamins are known as protective and regulatory foods. They are essential for health and regulate activities such as maintenance of body temperature, muscle contraction, control of water balance, clotting of blood, removal of waste products from the body and maintaining heartbeat. Milk, egg, liver, fruits and vegetables are protective foods.
Social functions of food:
Food has always been the central part of our community, social, cultural and religious life. It has been an expression of love, friendship and happiness at religious, social and family get-togethers.
Psychological functions of food:
In addition to satisfying physical and social needs, foods also satisfy certain emotional needs of human beings. These include a sense of security, love and acceptance. For example, preparation of delicious foods for family members is a token of love and affection.
I. Cereals, Grains and Products :
Rice, Wheat, Ragi, Bajra, Maize, Jowar, Barley, Rice flakes, Wheat flour.
II. Pulses and Legumes :
Bengal gram, Black gram, Green gram, Red gram, Lentil (whole as well as dhals) Cowpea, Peas, Rajmah, Soyabeans, Beans.
III. Milk and Meat Products :
Milk : Curd, Skimmed Milk, Cheese
Meat : Chicken, Liver, Fish, Egg, Meat.
IV. Fruits and Vegetables :
Fruits : Mango, Guava, Tomato Papaya, Orange. Sweet Watermelon.
Vegetables (Green Leafy) : Amaranth, Spinach, Drumstick leaves, Coriander leaves, Mustard leaves, fenugreek leaves .
Other Vegetables :Carrots, Brinjal, Ladies fingers, Capsicum, Beans, Onion,Drumstick, Cauliflower.
V. Fats and Sugars :
Fats : Butter, Ghee, Hydrogenated oils, Cooking oils like Groundnut, Mustard, Coconut.
Sugars : Sugar, Jaggery
Significance of the five-food group system
The five food group system can be used for the following purposes :
i. Planning wholesome balanced menus to achieve nutritional adequacy.
ii. Assessing nutritional status - a brief diet history of an individual can disclose inadequacies of food and nutrients from any of the five groups.
Based on the assessment, nutrition education can be imparted to the individual.