Food is any substance eaten in order to provide nutrition to an organism. The food we eat can be divided into two major categories: animal and vegetable. Animal food is generally of animal, vegetable or fungal source, and has vital nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetable food is generally of plant origin, and has vital nutrients, including carbohydrates, vitamins, iron, and sulphur.
Almost all processed foods have been transformed, either directly or indirectly, by adding various food ingredients used for preserving them during storage, processing or preparation. During the manufacturing process food ingredients are introduced into the raw materials which are later used in the manufacturing process. Examples of such raw materials used in the manufacturing process include oils, salt, sugar, salt substitutes, acid products, flavorings, color additives, and preservatives. Food items may also be coated with various substances such as coloring, flavored oils, emulsifiers, or nutritive and flavoring substances. During storage, heating, cooling and transportation, foods undergo various changes that often destroy some of their nutritional quality.
There are many factors that contribute to the poor nutritional quality of food. Some important ones include chemical additives used during processing; free radical content; presence of lead, radon, pesticides and food additives; texture; and particle size. See food and nutrition for a list of harmful chemicals that you should avoid. You must also make sure that the food you are eating is properly labeled as nutritious so you will know exactly what you are getting into.
One food additive that can seriously affect your health is acrylamide, an acrylamide color additive. It is used mostly in canned foods; but it has also been found in foods that come straight from the earth, such as raisins. Caution should therefore be taken when buying raisins because this substance can be dangerous if taken in large doses.
Another substance that affects how well your body assimilates nutrients is non-digestible, bulky food called lectins. It is made of plant material that has been modified to help keep it from falling to the ground. These lectins are mostly found in grains and legumes. A healthy diet should include more fruits and vegetables, as well as grains and legumes. Look for products marked as having high levels of dietary fiber and try to eat more whole grains and organic foods whenever possible.
In our modern and highly processed world, we often forget the importance of taking care of ourselves. But remember that the food you consume directly influences the quality of life you enjoy. In addition to eating healthy, you must take care to avoid harmful toxins found in processed food and choose only organically grown foods. If you want to live a long and disease-free life, it is imperative that you do everything possible to keep your body’s immune system strong. Start now by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.