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Definition of Food

  • The term ‘food’ brings to our mind countless images. Food plays an important role in our lives and is closely associated with our existence. It is one of the most important needs of our lives. The food that we eat is composed of small units that provides nourishment to the body. These are required in varying amounts in different parts of the body for performing specific functions. This means that good nutrition is essential for good health.

  • The term ‘food’ refers to anything that we eat, and which nourishes the body. It includes solids, semi-solids and liquids.

Two important features for any item to be called food are:

  • It should be worth eating, that is, it should be ‘edible’.

  • It must nourish the body.

Food is anything that we eat, and which nourishes our body. It is essential because it contains substances which perform important functions in our body.

Functions of Food

There are basically three important functions of Food:

  • Social Function: Food and eating have significant social meaning. Sharing food with any other person implies social acceptance. Food is also an integral part of festivity everywhere in the world. It also has a specific significance and meaning in the religious context.

  • Psychological Function: We all have emotional needs, such as need for security, love and affection. Food is one way through which these needs are satisfied. Certain foods become associated with sickness, such as khichri and bland foods. Sickness is an unpleasant experience, hence, even the food items served during this state may be associated with unpleasant feelings.

  • Physiological Function: There are three physiological functions performed by Food. These are energy giving, body building, regulating body processes and providing protection against diseases.

    • Food provides energy

    • Food helps in body building

    • Food regulates body processes and provides protection against diseases.

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