The food that we eat provides the body with what it needs. One of its most important jobs is to contribute to the body’s growth and repair. The body is made up of millions of cells. A large proportion of each cell consists of substances called proteins. Proteins are sometimes called the ‘building blocks’ of the body and without them the body cannot grow or repair itself. Some foods are particularly rich in protein, e.g. milk, fish, meat, eggs, cheese.
Malnutrition is a major cause of serious illness worldwide.
Food for energy
The concept of ‘energy’, is somewhat difficult for many of us to grasp as we usually associate it with work or movement of some kind. In many cases we tend to relate energy to muscular work and we find difficult to explain ourselves that energy can be stored in materials like coal, oil and, in this case, food, and then released.
The release of energy from food through the process of digestion is what follow.
The food that we eat cannot be used by the body unless it has been changed into simple chemical materials; this happens as the food passes down the process of digestion and is turned into materials that can be absorbed by the body.
Why does the body need energy?
At this stage, it would be sensible to remind ourselves that the body itself needs energy to keep ourselves alive and well by controlling the most basic functions such as:
- keep the respiratory system working
- keep the heart beating and the blood circulating in a proper manner
- keep itself at the right temperature
Although all foods provide the body with energy, some are richer in starch, some in fats, same in oils than others and so on, all of these can be converted into energy by the body.
In addition to their body-building and energy giving properties, foods contain substances called minerals and vitamins which are essential to the healthy working of the body.
Discriminating from one or another and allowing the intake of safe doses is a good way to avoid non healthy foods and still getting the right amount of energy our body requires on a daily basis.
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