The component that we consume, which provides nourishment to the body, is called food.
E.g., Rice, chapati, curry, fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, milk, curd, butter, etc.
The components or materials required to prepare a food item are called as ingredients.
E.g., different types of vegetables, spices are ingredients for sambar.
What is food? Why is it necessary to have food? What would happen if we do not eat food?
- Food is a nutritious substance, that we eat to grow and perform daily chores.
- For living entities, food is necessary to survive.
- It nourishes trillions of cells in our body, enables their smooth functioning, accelerates biological processes and helps in proper growth.
- As much as it is important to have food, having a well-balanced diet is equally important.
- We call a diet balanced when it contains all the nutrients crucial for our body in the right amount without unnecessary fats.
- Food primarily is obtained from plants and animals.
- Plants are the primary producers in our food pyramid.
- All organisms directly or indirectly obtain food from plants.
- Herbivorous animals obtain food from their nearest plant ecosystem.
- Some animals, on the other hand, obtain food by hunting other animals(carnivorous and omnivorous animals), while others depend on decaying matter of plants and animals and are called decomposers(bacteria, fungi).
- Food offers a plethora of variety depending upon climatic conditions and availability of sources in a region.
- Food habits of an individual depend upon the following factors:
Physical determinants – Education, Skills
Biological determinants – Appetite, taste
Economical determinants – Availability, cost
Why Is Variety In Food Important?
- Variety in food ensures that we eat healthy food and find different options so as to maintain a balanced diet while not getting bored with eating.
- It also ensures that we get all the nutrients that our body requires to function properly.
- A single food item does not provide with all the required nutrients, even within a particular food group such as fruits and vegetables, the variety of nutrients offered by each is diverse.
- For example, Spinach has high levels of folate whereas oranges are rich in Vitamin C.
- Variety also makes sure that we are not loaded with an excess of one nutrient which would be derived by eating a specific type of food item only.
What Are Nutrients?
- Nutrients are food molecules essential for the growth and maintenance for the life of entities.
- Major nutrients in our food are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, etc.
- These macro and micronutrients are essential in carrying out chemical reactions in our body aiding smooth digestion and hence growth.
- The food we consume must be rich in its nutritional value and low on unnecessary fats.
Types Of Food
There are five major food groups:
Fruits – Provides phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, roughage and are easily available. They are directly obtained from plants.
Vegetables – They are obtained from plants and are high in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals which form important constituents of our food.
Dairy products – An excellent source of calcium for our bones and teeth
Poultry, lean meats, fish, eggs – High in proteins and vitamins which helps in building tissues and muscles and provides immunity.
Cereal, legumes– Obtained from plants, rich in high fibres.
Food: Variety and Sources
- Our country is so diverse in culture, customs and languages and so on.
- Most fascinating one is the diversity in the food we eat. From state to state, from time to time, the food we eat varies.
- The food we eat today is different from tomorrow.
- Hence, it’s time to think and learn about “Where does it come from?”.
- Let’s have a glimpse of food variety, their sources and diet of animals.
FOOD VARIETY AND SOURCES
- As we said, food comes in a variety of forms, each come from different sources.
- Some we eat directly like fruits, whereas some we cook and eat like curry, rice, kheer, etc.
- Whether it is cooked or uncooked , the main sources of anything we eat are plants and animals.
- Fruits, vegetables, pulses, grains, etc. come from plants. Milk, eggs, meat and other dairy products come from animals.
Plants as source
- Most of the parts of plants such as leaves, flowers, roots, stems, are edible.
- Carrots, beetroot, radish are some root vegetables; spinach, cabbage are leafy vegetables; tomato, brinjal, lady’s finger are few fruit vegetables.
- But, every part of every plant is not consumable; sometimes they can be toxic and allergens.
Animals as source
- They give us milk, eggs, meat and many other products like cheese, ghee, honey, etc.
- Animals depend on plants for their food. Hence, we can assert that “directly or indirectly plants are the primary producers and primary source of food”.
DIET OF ANIMALS
- In the food web animals are categorized as consumers.
- The primary producers called plants, provide them things to eat and shelter.
- But they depend on either directly or indirectly. Based on the diet, animals can be classified into three groups, namely,
- As the name implies, herbivores (primary consumers) are animals depend on plants directly; they eat only plants.
- Deer, rabbits, giraffe, etc. are some herbivorous animals.
- Carnivores (secondary consumers) are flesh eating animals. They feed on herbivorous animals.
- For example, lion, tiger, cheetah, etc. Omnivores (secondary consumers) are animals which derive their nutrients from both animal and plant products; it may also include worms and fungi.
- Examples- bear, pig, crow, chipmunk, etc.
Food Materials and Sources
We eat different food items every day.
Each of these food items requires ingredients to make them.
E.g., Chicken curry is made with chicken, spices, oil/ghee and water.
- The ingredients of a food item can be obtained from either plants or animals.
- So there are plant products and animal products.
- E.g., We get rice grains from rice plants.
- Chicken is an animal source of food.
- Items like salt and water make a third category.
Food Materials And Sources
- here is abundance in the variety of food we eat. We never seem to go out of stock with food resources.
- But where does all this food come from?
- From farms to our kitchens, food goes through several processes and is finally made available to us.
- Food is the most essential and nutritious substance we provide to our body.
- It acts as a fuel, which charges our body to perform daily chores. Our food is usually made up of 2 or more ingredients.
- It consists of nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals essential for the functioning of our body.
- We obtain food from plants and animals, the food chain gives a brief idea of this. Plants are the basic producers.
- The entire food chain is dependent on plants.
- Plants provide food in the form of vegetables and fruits which are consumed directly.
- Humans and animals depend on the stored food of the plant.
- Larger animals depend on smaller animals for their food, and so on.
- Let us have a detailed look at the food materials and sources from where these food materials are obtained.
Food Materials and Sources
Food is mainly obtained from plants and animals.
Food Materials Obtained From Plants
- Green plants are the primary source of food.
- They provide us with food in the form of fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, nuts, oils, etc.
- Different parts of a plant that can be eaten raw or cooked are given below.
Edible Plant Materials and their Sources
- Carrot, radish, turnip and beetroot are the edible roots of the plants.
- Sugarcane, coriander, potato, ginger are the edible stems of the plant.
- Spinach, cabbage, curry leaves are an important source of calcium.
- Flowers of cauliflower and pumpkin are edible flowers.
- Mango, guava, apple, pear, are some of the fruits obtained from the plants.
- Pulses, grains, oilseeds are the edible seeds of the plant.
- We also obtain flour from plants which is extensively used across the baking industry to bake cakes, pastries, bread, pasta, biscuits etc.
- Food materials obtained from plants are a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
- They also contain dietary fibres which add bulk to our food necessary for digestion.
Food Materials Obtained from Animals
- Animals are another important source of food for us.
- The food products obtained from animals are rich in proteins and vitamins and other essential nutrients.
- Important staples like milk from cows, goats, buffaloes are processed and consumed every day.
- This milk is further used to make curd, cheese, butter, cottage cheese, clarified butter etc.
- Other important staples include chicken, fish, eggs, honey.
Edible Animal Materials and their Sources
- Milk is obtained from cows, buffaloes, goats and camel.
- This milk is rich in proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
- Birds like hen, duck, etc provide us with eggs that are highly rich in proteins.
- The flesh of animals known as meat is also consumed by humans.
- Fish, prawns, crabs are consumed in most of the coastal regions of the world.
- Honey bees convert the nectar of the flower into honey that is used as food.
- Paneer, cheese, cream, ghee are all made from milk obtained from cows and buffaloes.
- Most of this food comes from farmed animals under a controlled environment to be devoid of any harmful substances.
Animals and their Food
- Herbivorous animals obtain their food from the plants.
- For eg., cows, buffaloes, goats, deer, etc.
- Animals that eat other animals are called carnivores, these include tigers, lions, jackals, etc.
- Some animals feed both on plants and animals.
- These are omnivores and include humans.
- Organisms such as microbes (bacteria, fungi) feed on the decaying matter of animals and plants and are called decomposers.
- They are present in the air, water and soil.
Plant Parts and Animal Products as Food
- The food products that we get from plants are called as the plant products.
- E.g., ginger is the root of a plant that we use in cooking.
- The food products that we get from animals are called animal products.
- E.g. Milk, butter, chicken, meat, honey etc.
- To know more about Animal and Plant Products, click on the link below;
Food Sources – Animal & Plant Products
- It is of great importance that one understands where or what their source of food is.
- A balanced diet is a necessity if one wants to lead a healthy life.
- This balanced diet involves different carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, fats and so on. So, how does one ensure that a balanced diet is maintained?
- The first step is to know where do they come from so that we can understand the different nutrients provided by that particular item of food.
- Let’s have a glimpse of food sources and plant and animal products we consume
Food From Plants
- Plants are a source of a wide variety of nutrients required to keep the human body in perfect working condition.
- Humans consume everything from fruits, flowers, even the stem of some plants, leaves and stem-like lettuce, celery, roots of some plants like carrots, beetroot, and seeds like wheat, rice, etc.
- All food comes from plants, even animals depend on plants. Hence, we obtain food from plants directly or indirectly.
- The reason one is advised to consume fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is that it is a source of rich nutrients.
- Plants provide us with vegetables, coffee, cereals, pulses, fruits, sugar, spices, oil, etc.
- Different parts of the plants provide different food materials.
- Let us have a look at some of the food obtained from different parts of the plant.
- Vegetables are obtained from the plants.
- Some nutrient-rich vegetables such as beetroot, turnip, spinach, cauliflower, etc. are obtained from plants.
- Roots, leaves, and stem of some plants are edible.
Radish, turnip, carrot, beetroot are some of the roots that are eaten as vegetables.
Potato and ginger are the stems that are eaten as vegetables.
Spinach, cabbage, lettuce are the leaves eaten as vegetables.
Broccoli and cauliflower are the flowers eaten in the form of vegetables.
Fruits are a healthy source of food from plants. Orange, mango, apple, grapes are some of the fruits consumed by humans.
Cereals include rice, wheat, maize, jowar, barley, etc. These are a rich source of nutrients provided by the plants.
Coffee and tea are widely grown in the southern parts of India. These are also obtained from the plants. Not just these, sugar is also obtained from the plants. It is processed from the sugarcane plant.
Oil can be extracted from the seeds and leaves of the plants. Some of the plants producing oil are castor, mustard, and sunflower.
Cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, clove, cumin seeds, and ginger are obtained from the plants and used for cooking purposes.
Food From Animals
- Animal products are used as food directly or indirectly.
- Milk, eggs and meat are important examples of food from animals.
- Animal products too are a rich source of nutrients.
- The food chain is composed of exactly these animals starting with organisms that use the energy of the sun to the apex at which the organisms are predators and rely on producers.
Cows, buffaloes, sheep, goat, and camels are a great source of milk. Milk is also called as an ideal food. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Chickens, ducks, geese, and quails are raised for eggs and meat. The egg is a rich source of protein and vitamin. The yolk of the egg is mostly made up of egg. It also contains vitamins, phosphorus, calcium and iron.
Meat is of two types- red meat and white meat.
The meat of cow, goat, sheep and pigs has a lot of fat and is called red meat. White meat contains less fat and is obtained from chicken and fish. White meat is healthier and can be easily digested as compared to the red meat.
Meat is rich in proteins, vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and iron.
What Do Animals Eat?
The method of eating or choices of food followed by living organisms is called as food habit.
E.g. a rabbit eats grass or plant-based food.
Animals which feed on plants are called herbivores.
E.g., cow, goat etc.
Animals which feed on other animals are called carnivores.
E.g., lion, tiger etc
Animals which feed on both plants and other animals are called omnivores.
E.g., bears. They feed on flesh as well as honey