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THE FOOD PYRAMID
Some food is obtained directly from plants; but even animals that are used as food sources are raised by feeding them food derived from plants. Cereal grain is a staple food that provides more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop. Some foods not from animal or plant sources include various edible fungi , especially mushrooms. Fungi and ambient bacteria are used in the preparation of fermented and pickled foods like leavened bread , alcoholic drinks , cheese , pickles , kombucha , and yogurt. Another example is blue-green algae such as Spirulina. Herb and spice Many plants and plant parts are eaten as food and around 2, plant species are cultivated for food. Many of these plant species have several distinct cultivars. In fact, the majority of food consumed by human beings are seed-based foods. Edible seeds include cereals corn , wheat , rice , et cetera , legumes beans , peas , lentils , et cetera , and nuts. Oilseeds are often pressed to produce rich oils - sunflower , flaxseed , rapeseed including canola oil , sesame , et cetera. Large seeds, such as those from a lemon , pose a choking hazard, while seeds from cherries and apples contain cyanide which could be poisonous only if consumed in large volumes. Many plants and animals have coevolved such that the fruits of the former are an attractive food source to the latter, because animals that eat the fruits may excrete the seeds some distance away. Fruits, therefore, make up a significant part of the diets of most cultures. Some botanical fruits, such as tomatoes , pumpkins , and eggplants , are eaten as vegetables. Vegetables are a second type of plant matter that is commonly eaten as food. These include root vegetables potatoes and carrots , bulbs onion family , leaf vegetables spinach and lettuce , stem vegetables bamboo shoots and asparagus , and inflorescence vegetables globe artichokes and broccoli and other vegetables such as cabbage or cauliflower. Meat is an example of a direct product taken from an animal, which comes from muscle systems or from organs. Food products produced by animals include milk produced by mammary glands , which in many cultures is drunk or processed into dairy products cheese, butter, etc. In addition, birds and other animals lay eggs , which are often eaten, and bees produce honey , a reduced nectar from flowers, which is a popular sweetener in many cultures. Some cultures consume blood , sometimes in the form of blood sausage , as a thickener for sauces, or in a cured , salted form for times of food scarcity, and others use blood in stews such as jugged hare. Vegetarians choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees. Vegans do not consume any foods that are or contain ingredients from an animal source. Agriculture , Food industry , and Genetically modified food Most food has always been obtained through agriculture. With increasing concern over both the methods and products of modern industrial agriculture , there has been a growing trend toward sustainable agricultural practices. This approach, partly fueled by consumer demand, encourages biodiversity , local self-reliance and organic farming methods. Along with a current trend towards environmentalism , people in Western culture have had an increasing trend towards the use of herbal supplements , foods for a specific group of people such as dieters, women, or athletes , functional foods fortified foods, such as omega-3 eggs , and a more ethnically diverse diet. According to the International Water Management Institute and UNEP , well-managed agroecosystems not only provide food, fiber and animal products, they also provide services such as flood mitigation , groundwater recharge , erosion control and habitats for plants, birds, fish and other animals. Taste Animals, specifically humans, have five different types of tastes: As animals have evolved , the tastes that provide the most energy sugar and fats are the most pleasant to eat while others, such as bitter , are not enjoyable. Sweet Structure of sucrose Generally regarded as the most pleasant taste, sweetness is almost always caused by a type of simple sugar such as glucose or fructose , or disaccharides such as sucrose , a molecule combining glucose and fructose. Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose are used to mimic the sugar molecule, creating the sensation of sweet, without the calories. Other types of sugar include raw sugar , which is known for its amber color, as it is unprocessed. As sugar is vital for energy and survival, the taste of sugar is pleasant. The stevia plant contains a compound known as steviol which, when extracted, has times the sweetness of sugar while having minimal impact on blood sugar. Sour foods include citrus , specifically lemons , limes , and to a lesser degree oranges. Sour is evolutionarily significant as it is a sign for a food that may have gone rancid due to bacteria. Salty Salt mounds in Bolivia Saltiness is the taste of alkali metal ions such as sodium and potassium. It is found in almost every food in low to moderate proportions to enhance flavor, although to eat pure salt is regarded as highly unpleasant. There are many different types of salt, with each having a different degree of saltiness, including sea salt , fleur de sel , kosher salt , mined salt, and grey salt. Other than enhancing flavor, its significance is that the body needs and maintains a delicate electrolyte balance, which is the kidney 's function. Salt may be iodized, meaning iodine has been added to it, a necessary nutrient that promotes thyroid function. Some canned foods, notably soups or packaged broths , tend to be high in salt as a means of preserving the food longer. Historically salt has long been used as a meat preservative as salt promotes water excretion. Similarly, dried foods also promote food safety. Unsweetened dark chocolate , caffeine , lemon rind, and some types of fruit are known to be bitter. Umami Umami , the Japanese word for delicious, is the least known in Western popular culture but has a long tradition in Asian cuisine. Umami is the taste of glutamates , especially monosodium glutamate MSG. According to Goode, Curtis and Theophano, food "is the last aspect of an ethnic culture to be lost". Other differences include preferences hot or cold, spicy, etc. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods, and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by way of food, not just by consumption. Various cultures throughout the world study the dietary analysis of food habits. While evolutionarily speaking, as opposed to culturally, humans are omnivores , religion and social constructs such as morality , activism , or environmentalism will often affect which foods they will consume. Food is eaten and typically enjoyed through the sense of taste , the perception of flavor from eating and drinking. Certain tastes are more enjoyable than others, for evolutionary purposes. Food presentation Aesthetically pleasing and eye-appealing food presentations can encourage people to consume foods. A common saying is that people "eat with their eyes". Food presented in a clean and appetizing way will encourage a good flavor, even if unsatisfactory. Contrasts in textures, such as something crunchy in an otherwise smooth dish, may increase the appeal of eating it. Common examples include adding granola to yogurt , adding croutons to a salad or soup , and toasting bread to enhance its crunchiness for a smooth topping, such as jam or butter. For example, such opposite flavors as sweetness and saltiness tend to go well together, as in kettle corn and nuts. Food preparation Main article: Outline of food preparation While many foods can be eaten raw, many also undergo some form of preparation for reasons of safety, palatability , texture , or flavor. At the simplest level this may involve washing, cutting, trimming, or adding other foods or ingredients, such as spices. It may also involve mixing, heating or cooling, pressure cooking , fermentation, or combination with other food. In a home, most food preparation takes place in a kitchen. Some preparation is done to enhance the taste or aesthetic appeal; other preparation may help to preserve the food; others may be involved in cultural identity. A meal is made up of food which is prepared to be eaten at a specific time and place. Animal preparation The preparation of animal-based food usually involves slaughter , evisceration , hanging, portioning, and rendering. In developed countries, this is usually done outside the home in slaughterhouses , which are used to process animals en masse for meat production. Many countries regulate their slaughterhouses by law. For example, the United States has established the Humane Slaughter Act of , which requires that an animal be stunned before killing. Strict interpretations of kashrut require the animal to be fully aware when its carotid artery is cut. In addition, fish and seafood may be fabricated into smaller cuts by a fish monger. However, fish butchery may be done on board a fishing vessel and quick-frozen for preservation of quality. Cooking The term "cooking" encompasses a vast range of methods, tools, and combinations of ingredients to improve the flavor or digestibility of food. Cooking technique, known as culinary art , generally requires the selection, measurement, and combining of ingredients in an ordered procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools , and the skill of the individual cook. There is archaeological evidence of roasted foodstuffs at Homo erectus campsites dating from , years ago.
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