Food is a substance containing essential vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins that are consumed by all living things. Food promotes health and growth for the lifespan of plants, animals (humans fall under the category of animal) as well as other living organisms requiring sustenance to survive.
Food is composed of animal or plant and can also be manufactured. Food is created through means of farming, either the farming of vegetative matter or through the farming of animals. Food may also be produced through a system called aquaculture (the farming of fish and other aquatic life). Food composed of plant material is rice, oats wheat, barley and other grains; beans and their various counterparts; vegetables that are of leaf, stem and root origin, and fruits such as pumpkin, eggplant, apples, oranges and other fruits of various types. Food made from animal supply ranges from dairy, including milk and cheese, to meat, including beef, poultry (chicken, turkey and other farmed birds) and pork, with sea food being considered meat as well. Mushrooms and similar edible life forms are considered fungi and are neither plant nor animal. Foods that are a combination of ingredients both artificial and natural are manufactured. These foods range from meat products such as sausage and other processed meats to beer and soft drinks. Food made of combinations of ingredients are also considered manufactured, and these include pre processed meals, pastas with added ingredients, sauces, soft drinks, chewing gum, and any other pre packed meals or food products.
A person's diet must contain a certain amount of essential ingredients daily to promote proper nutrition. The USDA food pyramid illustrates what essential foods must be eaten how many times a day. Fruit, vegetable, grain and dairy are all vital components of a person's dietary intake for optimal health and growth, especially in children. Physical ailments and diseases occur in persons without the required daily amount of nutrients.
In many cultures special attention is paid to the presentation and preparation of food. Food prepared for celebration festivals for religious or holiday purposes has an added flourish and food gift baskets are a popular and much desired gift during the holidays. Food TV has become quite popular, and gourmet food in particular has a popular appeal with people. Styles of food preparation from different ethnicities has achieved high entertainment values with multiple books available in book stores and food channels on television providing access to information about food recipes. The internet also is a source of information on health food, organic food and recipes from different cultures. Italian food and Chinese food, to name two of many, are popular recipes of interest for food enthusiasts.