Food is one of the basic needs of our life. Food is essential for all living beings as it provides energy to walk, run, jump, work and a lot more.

Let us learn the importance of food, its main components and its functions.

Why Do We Need Food?

We all need food as it is essential for us to live.

Other importance of food are:

  • Food is necessary for the prevention of diseases.
  • Food gives us the energy and nutrients to grow and develop.
  • Food is essential for the growth and repair of body cells and tissues.
  • Food provides us with the energy to move, play, run, work, think and learn.
  • Foods provide us with all essential nutrients to grow, to be active and healthy.

Components of Food

Food comprises carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins.

The table below explains various food components, different sources and their functions.

Sources and Functions of Components of Food

Component of Food




Wheat, barley, oats,

maise, rice, potato, sweet

potato, sugar, jaggery, honey etc.

Carbohydrates provide energy to the body.


Milk, butter, ghee, oil and other oilseeds such as coconut, groundnut, mustard, sunflower, etc.

Fats provide energy to the body. Extra fats get stored in the body under the skin and help us to stay warm.


Milk, cheese, pulses, soybean, green pea, eggs, chicken, fish, meat, etc.

Proteins help the body to grow and also help in the repair of the body cells.


Iodised salt, milk, curd, fruits, green vegetables, iodine, fish, eggs, etc.

Minerals are required in small quantities and are essential in keeping the body working and protecting us from diseases.


Milk, curd, cheese, ghee, citrus fruits, yellow and red fruits, vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fish oil, sunlight, etc.

Vitamins are essential for our body to function accurately. They protect us from diseases.

What is Balanced Food?

Food that includes all the five components in the right proportion is called a balanced diet.

We should have a balanced and nutritious diet to keep the body healthy and free from nutrition deficiency diseases. A balanced food includes grains, pulses, milk, vegetables and fruits in a required amount.

The importance of balanced food are:

  • Milk and other milk products are considered balanced food for children to build healthy bones.
  • Carrots, black grams, green vegetables, jaggery, egg, liver etc., are considered to be a balanced food for those suffering from iron deficiency.
  • Cabbage, mango, papaya, carrots, milk, fish oil etc., are food rich in vitamin-A. For healthy eyes, one should eat food rich in vitamin-A.
  • Vitamin C is available in gooseberry, lemon, orange, guava, tomato, green chilly etc. It helps in healthy gums and prevents us from vitamin-C deficiency diseases.
  • The deficiency of iodine causes a disease called goitre. Using iodised salt in food prevents us from iodine deficiency.

Drinking-Water – Its Importance and Its Sources

  • Along with carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins, water is also an essential food component.
  • As we know, two-thirds of our body is made up of water, and it plays a vital role in the circulation and excretion process.
  • It is always recommended to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.
  • Shortage of water within the body may create many types of health problems.
  • Patients suffering from dehydration are advised to drink more water and other liquids such as ORS, lemonade, vegetable soup, vegetable stalks, fresh fruit juices, etc.

There are different sources of water – ponds, wells, hand pumps, rivers, lakes, etc. This water is not clean and safe to drink. Before drinking water, we all should ensure water is clean, free from germs, and kept well covered. Drinking dirty water causes many diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, jaundice, typhoid, etc.

Given below are some safety methods to be followed for cleaning the drinking water:

  • Adding a piece of alum to the water tank helps remove soil particles.
  • Adding chlorine tablets or a pinch of potassium permanganate kills germs present in the drinking water.
  • Boiling dirty water or the contaminated water for 10 to 20 minutes and then filtering through a clean, fine cloth kills the germs and other disease-causing agents present and makes water safe for drinking.
  • A new technology of water filters has been introduced in the market. These modern water filters are used to clean water by removing impurities, killing germs present in water with the help of electricity.
  • Homemade filters help remove gravel, charcoal, and fine sand particles in the water. A homemade filter is comprised of three pots, which are placed one over the other:
  1. The first pot or the uppermost pot have bigger holes at its base to filter the gravels present in the water.
  2. The second pot or the middle pot has smaller holes at its base to filter charcoal and other sand particles present in the water.
  3. The third pot has a tap on the side. The cleaned and filtered water is present in this pot.

Clean Food for a Healthy Body

Like drinking clean, filtered or boiled water, we should also maintain the same practice while cooking, serving and eating our food.

Listed below are some essential points to be considered before cooking, serving and eating food:

  • Clean food is necessary for a healthy body.
  • We should always keep food covered to avoid dust and flies.
  • Keep the kitchen clean, tidy and free from insects and dust.
  • Wash all the vegetables, fruits, pulses and cereals thoroughly in clean water.
  • Washing hands properly before cooking and serving help to keep food clean and safe.
  • Never wash the vegetables and fruits after cutting them, as it results in a loss of nutrients.
  • Check eatables properly before eating. Avoid eating stale or spoiled food and rotten vegetables and fruits.
  • Dirty hands cause diseases. Therefore, washing hands properly before eating helps in the prevention of diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is marasmus?

Marasmus is a protein deficiency disease. When small children do not get sufficient food, they become skinny and pale, and their muscles do not grow. This condition is called marasmus.


List out the food which we should avoid.

We should avoid eating burgers, noodles and other fast foods because it is just for their taste and not suitable for our health.


List out the food which we should eat to prevent anaemia.

Anaemia is caused when the body is deficient in iron or vitamin B. To prevent anaemia, one should eat a lot of green vegetables like spinach, turnip, carrots, jaggery, black grams, egg, liver, etc.


Which food is good for strong bones?

We should have milk, cheese, eggs, fish, fish oil and other green vegetables like spinach for strong and healthy bones.


List out the food rich in vitamin A.

Foods rich in vitamin A are cabbage, carrots, mango, papaya, milk, fish oil etc.


Why should we not talk while eating?

We should not talk while eating because it is dangerous as the food particles may enter the windpipe.


List out the different methods used for cleaning drinking water?

The different methods used for cleaning drinking water are:

  • Boiling
  • Cleaning water with alum
  • Adding chlorine tablets
  • Modern water filters
  • Homemade filters.

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