Food is one of the most basic needs of man to survive and maintain optimal health through his lifetime. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has taught us that man needs to fulfill his physiological needs first and foremost before he can realize his other needs until he eventually reaches his self-actualization. Our body needs food to maintain, nourish, and develop its functions. But the kind of food that we eat affects the efficiency of our bodily functions. This means that we cannot just eat whatever we want, whatever is edible, or whenever we want to eat. The chemicals, physical form, acidity, and alkalinity of the food all work together and affect the human body. The natural and synthetic chemicals found in food have an effect on its color and taste. The physical components and characteristics influence digestion and absorption of nutrients by the body. There has to be a balanced healthy diet for the body to run smoothly. When we talk about diet here, we are not referring to a regimen that people follow to keep a trim figure or lose weight. Diet is the combination of our daily food intake. A good and healthy diet includes portions from different food groups and eating them in the right quantity. There are five main food groups according to nutritionists. These are whole grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy, fat and sugar. These are sources of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Certain food groups also help in repairing body tissues, maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and protect us from diseases. There should be a proper balance in consuming these products to have a healthy diet. Our nutritional needs change according to our age, gender, level of activity, among other factors in living conditions. Generally, adults need more energy, proteins, and vitamins than children. Likewise, men have more nutritional needs than women except for those women who are pregnant or lactating. If we eat more than or less than what our body needs, it will not function efficiently. There should be a balance between our food intake and nutritional needs to prevent illness and prolong life expectancy. However, we should not necessarily label foods as good or bad as this can even encourage unhealthy eating behaviors. In fact, all types of food can be included in a healthy diet as long as they are taken in moderation and in appropriate proportions along with physical activity. It is not just what we eat but also how much we eat and what we do that would indicate proper diet. Importance is given on a balanced diet obtained by eating the right amount of food that our body needs.