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General Food Groups

Submitted by Srivastava N K on April 19, 2010

General Food Groups

Nutritionists have classified food into six basic food groups according to the food we eat. They are classified based on their properties and their importance in maintaining health. There are several different classifications of food; however, there are eight categories of basic food groups. These categories were created according to the nutrients supplied by the food. A healthy and balanced diet consists of food from each of these groups.

•    Cereals

Cereals are the staple food for many all cultures in the world. Cereals are rich in carbohydrates and proteins, and constitute the main source of energy in our diets. They also contain many micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Apart from the energy and proteins you get from cereals, they also provide calcium, iron, and vitamin B1. Some of the most popular cereals around the world are wheat, rice, rye, maize, and other millets. Each of these cereals has specific nutrients that they provide in our diets.

•    Pulses, Nuts, & Oilseeds

This group is rich in proteins and minerals. Nuts and oilseeds are rich in fats too, and are often used to extract oils. Linseeds, sesame, groundnuts and peanuts are some of the popular nuts and seeds that are used for making oil.

Pulses, on the other hand, can be ground to make flour. They can also be germinated to make legumes, and are rich in proteins and have very high nutritional value.

•    Roots & Tubers

Tubers and roots are often counted among vegetables. However, tubers and roots are especially high in simple carbohydrates, and therefore, are high in energy. Some of the commonly consumed tubers are potatoes, yams, carrots, radishes, etc. Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A, whereas radish greens contain a lot of iron.

•    Green Vegetables

Green vegetables can include both leafy greens and other non-leafy greens. The leafy green vegetables are usually rich in iron and vitamins. The greener the vegetable, the more high the content of vitamin A and iron in it. Leafy vegetables are excellent sources of dietary fibers that are essential for the movement of food along the alimentary canal.

•    Fresh & Dried Fruits

Both fresh and dried fruits are excellent sources of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Citrus fruits have lots of vitamin C, whereas yellow fruits have a high content of beta carotene. Fruits are also rich sources of sugar.

The other basic food groups are fats, dairy products, and meat products. Though essential, sugars and fats should be used as little as possible.

Milk products are known for being rich source of calcium and vitamin B12. Meat products and eggs offer high quantities of readily absorbable proteins. However, for nutritional reasons, it is best to consume white and lean meat instead of red meat which has a lot of fat content.

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