Food is any material consumed for the purpose of providing nutrition to an organisms. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and usually contains nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals. It may be classified into three types: animal foods, which are those made up of meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and legumes; plant foods, which are those of roots, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, legumes and fruits; and food crops, which are the plants which may be eaten directly or indirectly. Food may also be classed as dietary. Dietary food is generally required by human beings, although in most countries it is not considered a legal requirement.
Animal foods can be classified in three ways: proteins, which include milk, meat and eggs; carbohydrates, which include breads, pasta and cereals; and vitamins, which are present in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other cooked foods. Plants consist of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in different proportions. Plants have only a few ingredients, whereas animals have a great number of varied ingredients, all of which are used to produce food. The main components of plant foods include carbohydrates, vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, cholesterol, fiber, nitrogen, protein, fat, ash, carbohydrates, vitamins B and C, riboflavin, folic acid, lactic acid and phenol.
Animal proteins consist of meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, whereas plant proteins consist of roots, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. Meat and other animal proteins contain the essential amino acids, whereas plant foods contain the non essential amino acids. Plant foods are rich in vitamins A, C and E, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. On the other hand, animal proteins contain mainly fats, salt, sugar and fibre, whereas plant foods provide proteins and only fats, sugar and water.
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