I regard the human body as being similar to a car. If a
car does not have the right kind of fuel or no fuel at all, it will not work
properly or function to the best of its ability. That is why the body needs the
correct and appropriate type of sustenance.
A food group is a collection
of foods that provides a range of nutrients within five food groups. These
components of the dietary recommendation consist of: vegetables and beans,
fruits, grains, lean meats (poultry and fish), milk, yoghurts and eggs.
Vegetables, legumes and beans provide vitamin A and C and
folate as well as iron and magnesium. Legumes are low in saturated fat, are
high in fibre and are a good source of carbohydrates which in general promote
overall good health. High in fibre and a great meat protein substitute, beans
fall under the vegetables and legumes food group. They are nutrient-rich
because of the antioxidants they contain as well as having a moderate amount of
calories. Researchers have shown that consuming a diet high in plants, does not
only prevent but also treats and reverses diseases.
Fruits have many rich vitamins that help the body to
function normally. These nutrients are important to keep the body in a healthy
shape. This food group is also low in fats and is the powerhouse of good
nutrition. Fruits such as kiwis and oranges, are rich in vitamins A and C as
well as potassium.
Basic nutrients from grains are carbohydrates, fibre, some vitamins and
minerals. In this food group, wholegrains are the healthiest source of
nourishment because they are less processed.
Wholegrains are known to have a higher percentage in fibre. Examples of
wholegrains include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole-grain crackers, cereals,
whole wheat pasta, and others such as brown rice, popcorn and barley.
Foods in the lean meats and fish group supply protein,
omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iron and B vitamins. These aliments are primarily
responsible for building and repairing muscles and tissues, digesting
nutrients, and improving the body’s immune system. Iron, for instance, plays an
important role for blood oxygenation and healthy muscle growth.
Dairy products are known for being the best sources of
calcium which help promote strong bones and healthy teeth. They supply protein
and vitamins A, D and B12. Although it
is more essential for children to consume milk and dairy products, this food
group is known for being beneficial to people of all ages. To that end,
the consumption of dairy products provides numerous health benefits such as improved
bone health and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
First law of healthy eating is to consume a diet that consists
of various foods from each group, since each individual food provides different
macronutrients as well as vitamins and minerals. Another key fact to remember
is that an overall healthy diet does not contain sweets and foods that are high
in saturated/trans fats, or foods that are low in nutrients. Although foods
high in fats and sugar are not recommended to be consumed, it is vital that these
foods are eaten in moderation. Moreover, an excess intake of saturated fats not
only clogs arteries, but also increases the risk of obesity especially if foods
and beverages high in sugar are consumed on a regular basis. Gary Taubes (2016)
talks about the negative effects that many refined carbohydrates have on the
body and how it is a main contributor for obesity in the book Why we get fat. (Taubes and Chamberlain,
The key to a balanced diet is to recognize that wholegrains,
legumes and fruits are essential in greater proportion than foods from the meat,
fish and dairy groups. In How not to die,
(Greger and Stone, 2017) the book talks about the healthy foods scientifically
proven to avoid sickness and reverse diseases. It has been proven that premature
deaths can be prevented by making small changes in our diet and lifestyle. Dr.
Michael Greger reveals a checklist of the foods we should be consuming on a
No single food can supply all the nutrients that the body
requires to maintain good health. Similarly, not all foods in the same group
provide the same nutrients. For instance, oranges do not contain much vitamin
A, yet melons are a good source of this vitamin. In particular, vegetables,
legumes and fruit protect against illness and are essential to a healthy diet.
Studies show that there
are at least eight popular foods which have been reported to cause
allergic reactions for more than 90 percent of food allergies. These major food
allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. For
example, many people are allergic to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and
barley. This is known as the Celiac disease. Wheat flour, for instance can be
substituted with rice flour, corn, soy or potato starch instead. Too that
end, there are numerous produced food substitutes such as coconut milk, almond
Butter, mock meats and other plant based protein sources.
As a lifestyle choice,
some people decide not to eat meat and dairy, as they prefer to follow a
vegetarian or plant-based diet. On a personal note, as a vegan myself, it is a
challenge for me to make sure I acquire the right vitamins and nutrients for my
body since I cannot intake most of the five food groups myself. For instance, I
supplement with vitamin B12 and vitamin D, as these are mainly obtained through a diet
rich in animal products.
The common sources of protein are currently from animal
sources. However, the book The China
Study, focuses on the relationship between the consumption of animal
products and chronic illnesses. This book also explores the subject of how
adopting a plant based diet will not only reduce but also reverse the
development of such diseases.
(Campbell and Campbell, 2006)
Learning about the foods we put into our body is
essential as food is the body’s fuel. By incorporating all the five food groups
into our diet from, this will supply the body with an overall balance of
macronutrients and vitamins. It is not crucial to eat from each food group at
every meal for a balanced diet. However, with the right foods, and proper
nutrition, this will guarantee a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Campbell, T. and Campbell, T. (2006). The China study. Dallas, Tex.:
Greger, M. and Stone, G. (2017). How not to die. London: Pan Books.
Taubes, G. and Chamberlain, M. (2016). Why we get fat. United States: Joosr