Components of Food

Table of Contents

Food is essential for the survival of living organisms. It provides us with energy to carry out daily activities and develop, grow and repair our body parts in case of any damage. Therefore understanding the importance of consuming the right kind of food becomes a necessity.

Furthermore, most of the food items available today are adulterated in many possible ways. The food that we consume comes from numerous sources and the variety is huge. You can think of the last meal you had, and list down the sources from which your food was obtained. This helps us understand how food varies in its sources and components.

What Do Different Food Items Contain?

Each dish we eat is prepared using more than one ingredient containing different nutrients along with dietary fibres and water. Some nutrients in our food are fats, minerals, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates.

  • Carbohydrates are present in the form of starch and sugars in our food. The presence of carbs in our food can be tested using a dilute iodine solution, an indication of the presence of starch is shown by black-blue colouration.
  • The presence of protein in food is tested using a solution of copper sulphate and caustic soda. If the solution turns violet, proteins are present.
  • The presence of fat in food is indicated when food wrapped in paper turns oily after releasing its moisture content.

Also Read: Balanced diet

What Do Various Nutrients Do For Our Body?

  • Nutrients play a vital role in determining the health of our bodies. These nutrients are used up during the process of nutrition by each cell in our body to carry out its basic functionality.
  • Fats provide more energy to our body compared to carbohydrates.
  • Proteins are bodybuilding foods.
  • Vitamins help our body fight against diseases and also help to keep our eyes, gums, and bones in a healthy shape. There are different kinds of vitamins such as Vitamin A, B complex, C, D. E, K etc. Vitamin C protects our body against diseases.
Sources of different Vitamins
Vitamin A Carrot, Mango, Papaya
Vitamin C Tomato, Guava, Lemon, Orange
Vitamin B Rice, wheat
Vitamin D Liver, fish, milk, butter
  • Roughage, also known as dietary fibres, is obtained from plants such as fruits, whole grains etc. They do not provide nutrients but add bulk to our food and are essential to our body as they aid in digestion.
  • Water helps absorb nutrients from food and aids in getting rid of wastes in the form of sweat and urine

Components of Food (Tabular Representation)

Food Component Functions
Carbohydrates These are digested and broken down into glucose and provide energy to the body
Fats Store energy, protects and insulates the important organs
Proteins Help in metabolism, act as enzymes, and hormones
Vitamins These help in maintaining healthy bones, boost the immune system, heal wounds, repair and damage of cells and converting food into energy
Iodine Formation of thyroid hormone
Calcium Helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system and maintain healthy bones
Phosphorus Helps to maintain acid-base balance in the body
Sodium Controls the blood pressure
Iron Facilitates the formation of haemoglobin
Fibres They help in food absorption and prevents constipation
Water They help in absorbing nutrients from the food and release waste from the body in the form of urine and sweat.

Also Read: Food Variety

Balanced Diet

A diet, which contains the right amount of nutrients, roughage and water is called a balanced diet. Eating a balanced diet can never lead us to obesity. Consuming the right food is as important as having knowledge of the nutrient content of your food.

Deficiency Diseases

Deficiency diseases occur in our body due to a lack of nutrient supply over a long period of time. Listed below are a few deficiencies caused as a result of a lack of nutrients.

Name of Nutrient Disorder caused Symptoms
Vitamin C Scurvy Takes a long time to heal, bleeding gums
Iron Anaemia Weakness
Calcium Tooth decay and bone Tooth infections, Weak bones

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Related Links:

Food deficiency
Nutrition in human beings

Frequently Asked Questions


Write the functions of the following food components:

a) Functions of carbohydrates are:

  • Energy production
  • Energy storage

b) Functions of fats are:

  • They act as a protective barrier and help in preventing injury.
  • They work as an insulator and maintain the body’s temperature.

c) The functions of proteins are:

  • They help in increasing muscle mass.
  • They help in preventing diseases.

What is a vitamin?

A vitamin is an organic compound and a vital nutrient that an organism requires in limited amounts. An organic chemical compound (or related set of compounds) is called a vitamin when the organism cannot synthesize the compound in sufficient quantities, and it must be obtained through the diet; thus, the term “vitamin” is conditional upon the circumstances and the particular organism.
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