Saturday, June 2, 2012

Food Groups

Dietary fiber, also known as bulk or roughage, is also an essential element in the diet even though it provide no nutrients. It consists of plant cellulose and other undigestible materials in foods, along with pectins and gums. The chewing it requires stimulates saliva flow, and the bulk it adds in the stomach and intestines during digestion provides more time for absorption of nutrients. Diets with sufficient fiber produce softer, bulker stools and help to promote bowel regularly and avoid constipation and other disorders, such as diverticulosis. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, and products made from nuts and legumes are all sources of dietary fiber. A diet overly abundant in dietary fiber, however, can cut down on the absorption of important trace minerals.

Food Groups:
Bread and Cereal: This group includes all breads and cereals that are whole grain, enriched, or restored. Protein contains is not high in cereals, but the large intake of cereals in some diets makes these products a good source of protein. All cereals are very high in starch and hence good source of energy. Fat content is generally very low unless the germ is included. Whole grain products contribute much fiber and such trace vitamins and minerals as pantothenic acid, vitamin E, zinc, copper, manganese, and molybdenum.

Vegetables: Most vegetables are an important source of minerals, vitamins, and cellulose. Some, such as potatoes, contribute much starch. Vegetables contain large amounts of calcium and iron. Carotenes (the precursor of vitamin A) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are abundant in many vegetables. Vegetables also serve as a source of roughage.

Fruits: Citrus fruits are valuable sources of vitamin C; such as yellow colored fruits as peaches contain carotene. Dried fruits have much iron; figs and oranges, much calcium. Fruits are rich in cellulose.

Milk: This group includes milk, cheese, and ice cream. Milk is a complete protein food that also contains important amounts of most nutrients (though it is low in iron, niacin, and ascorbic acid). Calcium and phosphorus levels are very high. Though removed in skim milk, vitamin A is abundant in whole milk. Unless exposed to light, milk contains much riboflavin.

Meat and Meat Substitutes: This group include beef; veal, lamb, pork, variety meats such as liver, poultry and eggs, fish and shellfish, and dried peas, beans, and nuts. Meats have many valuable nutrients, including protein, meat protein, however, contains cholesterol, believed to contribute to coronary artery disease. Also significant are copper, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and all B vitamins.
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