Component of food | Science Grade 4 Learning concepts | Orchids
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Food We Eat

Concept: Components of Food

  • Food plays a vital role in the growth and development of our bodies. It also provides energy to carry out bodily functions.
  • We eat different types of food because we derive various nutrients from them.
  • After digestion, food is broken down into simpler forms and is absorbed by our body.
  • We can broadly divide food into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • Apart from these, we also get vitamins and minerals from food, which are also essential for our survival.

Carbohydrates:

  • Carbohydrates are energy-producing components of food.
  • All carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars.
  • The sugars produce energy in the form of calories.
  • The energy produced is utilised by our bodies to perform different functions.

Example: Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grains like wheat, bajra, corn, oats, etc. Sweet foods also contain carbohydrates like sugar, honey, syrup, etc.

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Proteins:

  • Protein-rich foods help in the growth and development of our bodies.
  • Proteins help in the development of cells and also contribute to repairing cells.
  • Thus, proteins are the body-building components of food.
  • Proteins also help in the development of muscles.
  • It is vital for the development of growing children.
  • Lack of protein may cause stunted growth, weight reduction, and many other problems.

Example: Fish, eggs, red meat, chicken, pulses, kidney beans, and soybean are protein-rich food sources. Dairy products like cheese, paneer, yoghurt, and milk contain high amounts of protein.

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Fats:

  • Fats provide us with energy.
  • When we have sufficient carbohydrates inside our bodies, fats are not used up by the cells.
  • Fats are mostly stored inside our body, and during carbohydrate deficiency, they are used up by the body's cells. This is how the body utilises the energy of fats.
  • Fats also protect many vital organs of our body.

Example: Coconut oil, olive oil, mustard oil, canola oil, ghee, butter, avocado, nuts, fish oil, animal fat, etc.

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Vitamins:

  • Vitamins are essential micronutrients for the body. They are called micronutrients because our body needs them in tiny quantities.
  • The body cannot produce vitamins, so we have to intake them through our food.
  • Vitamins improve organ functions and protect the body from several diseases.
  • Vitamins boost up the disease-resisting capacity of our body that allows us to fight against various diseases.
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Some important vitamins:

Name of the vitamins Sources Functions
Vitamin A Carrots, leafy greens, eggs, and dairy products. Protects eyes and improves vision.
Vitamin B Whole grains, meat, eggs, dairy, liver. Develops and protects the nervous system, helps in nutrient metabolism, and regulates blood sugar levels.
Vitamin C Oranges, kiwi, and citrus fruits. Protects and improves gums and heals wounds faster.
Vitamin D Seafood, liver, eggs, mushrooms. Helps our body absorb calcium and phosphorus and thus regulates bone mineral density. Makes our bones stronger.

Minerals:

  • Minerals are also essential micronutrients for our bodies.
  • They protect us from several diseases.
  • Like vitamins, minerals too, come from various types of foods.
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Some important minerals:

Name of the minerals Sources Functions
Iron Liver, red meat, spinach. Forms new blood cells.
Iodine Salt, seafood. Helps and regulates metabolism and controls the growth and development of our bodies.
Calcium Milk and other dairy products. Helps in the calcification of bones and makes bones stronger.
Zinc Whole grains, eggs, fish, liver. Accelerates the wound healing process and helps in both metabolism and digestion.

New Words:

Metabolism: The process that involves the conversion of food into energy.

Calcification: Building up calcium in the body tissue, causing them to harden.


Did You Know?

  • If you drink water right after having food, that may reduce digestion speed and would not assimilate the nutrients that you get from your food. Try to drink water at least 2 hours after having food but do not forget to drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water a day.
  • Vitamins can be categorised into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.
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