Classes of food, functions, and examples

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Have you ever wondered whether we have 7, 5, or six classes of foods? Do you have questions about the non-essential nutrients or food values?  In this article, we will talk about the different classes of food you need to know.

classes of food, food classes

There are seven major classes of nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, water, dietary fiber, carbohydrate, and fats.  These different classes of food are future broken down into macronutrients and micronutrients. Micronutrients are food sources we need in smaller quantities, while macronutrients are food sources we need in larger quantities.

Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, while micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.

1.     Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are made up of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. They can be classified into polysaccharides, monosaccharides, and disaccharides. Many of the foods we have in Nigeria contain carbohydrates.  It is better to take in Polysaccharides than the monosaccharide because the simple sugars break down very fast, causing blood sugar spikes.

Functions: 

Carbs provide fuel for the body, especially the brain and central nervous system. They also protect against disease.

Sources:   

Noodles, rice, bread, grain products, starchy vegetables, corn, and quinoa

2.     Protein

Protein molecules contain hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.  It is one of the major classes of food. Smaller units of Protein are called amino acids and are used as building blocks in the body. Mostly every part of the body structure is made of protein. Even the hormones, antibodies and other essential substances in the body have protein.  Even the cells, bones, skin, and hair are made of protein.

Function:  

Protein is primarily for growth, health, and maintaining the body.  The body only uses protein as an alternative source of energy when necessary.

Sources:

fish, meat, beans, rice, beans, eggs, etc

3.     Fats

Fats are made from fatty acids. It is one of the major classes of food. These fatty acids can be spanned into long chains of hydrogen and carbon. Fats can also be divided into Saturated and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats contain some double bonds in their molecular structure, while saturated fats contain single bonds.

Functions:

Fat is an essential part of your diet. It provides ample support for vitamin and mineral absorption, building cells, muscle movement, and blood clotting. They are also powerful anti-inflammatories and can lower the risks of getting specific cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Arthritis.

Sources:

Dairy products, whole eggs, vegetables, nuts, fish, meat, and healthy oils (flaxseed, coconut, avocado, olive).

Avoid trans-fat and saturated animal fats from ice cream, cheese, butter, and red meat.

classes of food, food classes

4.     Fiber

Fiber is a carbohydrate molecule that cannot be totally digested by human beings. They are mostly made of cellulose, which the human body cannot absorb because of the lack of particular enzymes for that absorption process.

Functions:

Fiber is needed to keep the gut health intact. It can also help manage weight and prevent some coronary heart problems.

Sources:

vegetables (onions, corn, broccoli, garlic, green beans), pulses (beans, lentils), whole grains (cereal), fruits (pears, oranges, currants).

5.     Minerals

Minerals can be defined as chemical elements we need for other specific functions. There are micro minerals and macro minerals as classes of food. Macro numerals include things like Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and many more. They are required in larger quantities. Other minerals like boron, chromium are needed in smaller amounts.

Functions:

Minerals have an immense number of purposes. They are necessary for bone health, teeth health, healthy blood pressure, hormone creation, wound healing, immune system management, and many more.

Sources:

Poultry, Fish, Dairy products

classes of food, food classes

6.     Vitamins

Vitamins are essential to our body function. It is one of the classes of food. They include Folic acid, Cobalamin, Ascorbic acid, Biotin, Pantothenic acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine, and many more. Vitamins are further divided into two major groups; water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. The vitamins A, D, E, and K make up the fat-soluble vitamins while Vitamins B and C make up the water-soluble vitamins.

Functions:

Vitamins are essential to the immune system. Vitamins also fight against health problems and diseases. They lower the risks of prostate cancer and provide powerful antioxidants. Vitamins are vital for the health of the skin, vision, and bones.

Sources:  

Mango, Apricots, carrots, fresh pepper, milk, sweet potato, organics, pumpkin, liver, eggs, etc.

7.     Water

Water is crucial to life and an essential part of our food. It is one of the major classes of food. Humans contain over 80% of water, which is responsible for the flow of nutrients, blood, and other liquids around the body. Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen.

Functions:  

Water improves brain function. It hydrates the body, carries nutrients through cells, and flushes out toxins. It is also a lubricant and shock absorber in the body. Water can enhance brain function and mood.

Sources:

It is essential to take more water as a whole than having it within food substances. Chugging down more fresh sparkling water is the best way to keep the body healthy.  You can also have water from fruits and vegetables like watermelon, spinach, celery, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and grapefruit.

Now you know all about the classes of food we have. Don’t forget to concentrate more on achieving balance across all categories.

Healthy eating includes balancing your food intake to become healthier and avoid diseases. For instance, Fats has gotten a bad rap recently, but it is still an essential part of your diet. Avoiding fats is foolhardy and dangerous. Stick to healthier food choices, and you will be fine. 

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