Six Classes of Food, Functions


Food is any substance humans eat in order to keep and maintain a healthy lifestyle. But generally, all living things eat or drink to stay alive. That’s not withstanding, food we eat can either be harmful or useful. Harmful in the sense that it can cause disease and as in been useful, it contributes to the healthy growth we require.

The kind of food we eat determines the nutritional supports we get for effective running of our body systems. Poor health can be as a result of lack of food because food protects the body from disease or excess of food. Food is require for the physical activities as it strengthens the bones and body.

Food is mainly made of plants and animals. Nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, etc, are found in the food we eat. The combination of the nutrients are what we need in each meal we eat and for this course, in no particular order, I’ll be accessing the classes of food.

Six (6) Classes of Food with their functions and examples

Classes of Food

1. Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate can be obtain from bread, cassava, maize, yam, rice, fibers, etc. But a high percentage of carbohydrate is found in yam, rice and fibers. It is carbohydrate that provides the body with enough glucose to enhance the proper functioning of the body.

Also, regular intake of such carbohydrates like bread and soda can cause unhealthy weight gain and accelerate diseases such as diabetes and high sugar level.In the same vein, carbohydrate like vegetables, rice, maize, etc, provide the body with good nutrients and minerals that produce the energy for muscles and the production of normal body heat that keeps the body warm.

SEE ALSO: 11 Food that Makes Baby Fat in Nigeria

2. Protein:

Every parts or fractions of the body require protein; muscles, hair, hormones, tissue, enzymes, etc. Ut stimulates the growth of hair, develops a healthy brain.

It aides the body to develop hormones, it repairs damaged body tissues, enhances the formation of hormones and enzymes, it help children to grow fast and generally, it helps the body to function well.
Sources of protein include milk, grains, beans, soya beans, egg, meat, fish. It is important

to note that protein is found both in plant and animal; meat as a food is gotten from animal and beans as a food is from plant.

Protein also provides energy in place of lack of carbohydrate and fats. Lack of protein can cause anaemia and also kwashiorkor mostly in children and also poor growth and developments of the body.

3. Vitamins:

Vitamins are substances found in our meal which fight against diseases such as infections, poor eyesight, poor memory, weak bones and sometimes fight against constipation. Vitamins are drawn mostly from butter, liver, carrot, cheese.

Vitamins support almost every systems inside the body. It increases resistance to infection and also fasten healing process in case of wounds. It also help in blood clothing, promote digestion, promote healthy skin and hair and generally, it maintains health.

Lack of vitamins in the body cause poor unhealthy skin, nausea, poor functioning of the body system, weak teeth and bleeding gum. Including vegetables and natural products in meals makes one healthy and needless to rage nutrient enhancements.

Such vitamins as vitamin B,C (water soluble vitamin), and A,D,E,K ( fat soluble vitamin) and 7 other vitamins are needed for the betterment of the human body.

4. Fats (fat and oil):

Fat and oil are often described and grouped together. They help in muscle and cell development and mineral assimilation. They also help to lower the risk of cancer.

Fats mainly come from animal and oil from plant and animal too. Fatty food prevent hunger as the process of it digestion is slow, which means they stay longer in the stomach.

They contribute to the smoothness of the skin. They keep the body warm as they prevent hear loss. And in rare cases, fat and oil support the body organs and protect them from shock and injury. Unsaturated fats provide essential fatty acids to the body.

However, saturated fats like ice cream, cheese, red meat, etc, are harmful to the body of consume frequently. Sources of fat and oil include vegetables, fish, nuts, butter, palm oil, vegetable oil, etc.

Lack of far and oil in the body can cause dryness of the skin, poor functioning of the body organs as well as lack of energy in the body.

5. Minerals:

Minerals help in building solid bones and teeth, assist with nerve signal transmission and controlling of digestion. Minerals help the body in normal development and regulation of metabolic processes.

Minerals help in the formation of hemoglobin and proper functioning of the thyroid gland. The principal minerals include calcium, iron, sodium, fluorine, iodine and phosphorus.

Minerals can be obtain from liver sea food, vegetables, green, egg, beans, etc. Insufficient minerals in the body can cause poor functioning of the body, tiredness, anaemia, etc.

6. Water:

Water is totally essential for the adequate functioning of the body. Biologists have it that 62% of human body weight is water. It takes a greater role in digesting support. It improves disposition.

It is an ointment and protector of the body. It hydrates the body and prevent clogging. It regulates body temperature. Water contains hydrogen and oxygen.

One can go a long time without food but can’t survive a couple of days without water. Sources of water include direct intake of water, vegetables, fruits, etc. Lack of water causes dehydration and malfunction of the organs and system.


All these classes of food listed above can be categorized into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients means it’s needed in large quantities and micronutrients means it’s needed in small quantities.

The macronutrients are fats, proteins, water and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are minerals and vitamins. To receive enough of the nutrients, one is to eat diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and whole grains.

These micronutrients and macronutrients are essential for the body to function well. These nutrients are necessary for the wholeness of one’s health according to the World Health Organization (WHO).