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Food: Where Does it Come From? - Science and Tech NCERT Notes for UPSC

Jan 23, 2023

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Food Materials and Sources

Science and technology food does it come from

Food Materials and Sources

Plants and animals are major sources of our food. Some Plant products are grains, cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Similarly, milk, meat products and eggs are major animal products. 

Various parts of plants are eaten in different manners.

Some plants have two or more edible parts e.g., Seeds of Mustard plant give us oil and leaves of Mustard plant are used as a vegetable. 

Classification of Animals as per their Food Habits:

  • Herbivores: Those who eat only plants e.g., Cow, Buffalo etc.
  • Carnivores: Those who eat only animals e.g., Lion, Wolf, etc.
  • Omnivores: Those who eat both plants and animals e.g., Human, Dog, etc.

What is the meaning of plant-based food?

Plant-based food refers to food items that are derived from plants and do not contain any animal products. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Plant-based food can be consumed as a part of a vegetarian or vegan diet and is often considered to be a more sustainable and environmentally friendly food choice. Some examples of plant-based food include fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, quinoa, and tofu.

What are some of the examples of ‘Omnivores’?

Omnivores are organisms that consume a wide variety of food types, including both plant and animal matter. Some examples of omnivorous animals include:

  1. Humans: Humans are considered to be omnivorous as they consume a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy products.
  2. Bears: bears are known to eat both plants and animals, including berries, nuts, roots, fish, insects, and small mammals.
  3. Raccoons: Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and eat a wide variety of food items, including fruits, nuts, insects, fish, and small mammals.
  4. Pigs: pigs are omnivorous animals that consume a variety of plant-based foods, such as acorns, roots, and fruits, as well as insects, worms, and other small animals.
  5. Crows: Crows are known to eat a wide range of food items including fruits, vegetables, insects, small animals, and even other birds.
  6. Foxes: Foxes are opportunistic feeders that eat small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and vegetables.

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive and there are many other examples of omnivorous organisms in the animal kingdom.

What are some of the benefits of consuming animal protein?

Animal protein is an important source of nutrition for human beings. Some of the benefits of consuming animal protein include:

  1. Complete protein: Animal protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids required by the human body. This is important for maintaining and repairing body tissues, building and repairing muscle, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
  2. Rich in essential vitamins and minerals: Animal protein is rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are important for maintaining good health.
  3. Increases satiety: Animal protein is known to increase feelings of fullness and satiety, which can help with weight management and reducing food cravings.
  4. Good for bone health: Animal protein is important for maintaining strong and healthy bones, especially for older adults.
  5. Good for infants and children: Animal protein is essential for the growth and development of infants and children.

It is important to note that consuming animal protein in moderation is beneficial and overconsumption of animal protein may lead to health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer.

Also Read: What is Urban Farming in India?

Do you find that all living beings need the same kind of food?

No, all living beings do not require the same kind of food. The type of food required by an organism depends on its physiology, anatomy, and the environment it lives in. For example, herbivores such as cows and deer consume primarily plants, while carnivores like lions and sharks consume primarily meat. Omnivores like humans and bears have a more varied diet, consisting of both plant and animal matter. Additionally, some organisms have specialized diets, such as insects that feed on specific plants or microorganisms that feed on specific compounds.

Name five plants and their parts that we eat.

  1. Rice - Grain
  2. Tomato - Fruit
  3. Carrot - Root
  4. Lettuce - Leaves

These are a few examples of plants and their parts that are commonly consumed as food. The potato is a staple food in many parts of the world, and its tubers are the edible part. Rice is another staple food and is the grain of the rice plant. The tomato is a fruit that is widely used in cooking, and the carrot is a root vegetable that is consumed for its sweet taste and nutritional value. Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable that is often used in salads and sandwiches. All of these plants have been cultivated for human consumption for thousands of years.

Does everyone around you get enough food to eat? If not, why?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, approximately 795 million people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. This means that they do not have regular access to enough food to meet their daily energy needs. The lack of access to adequate food is a complex issue that is influenced by a variety of factors such as poverty, war and conflict, natural disasters, lack of infrastructure, and poor governance.

In developing countries, a significant portion of the population lives in poverty, and they are unable to afford the food they need. Additionally, many of these countries lack the infrastructure and distribution systems necessary to ensure that food reaches all members of the society. War and conflict also disrupts the food supply, making it difficult for people to access food.

In developed countries, the situation is different. Food insecurity is primarily caused by a lack of income and job opportunities. In these countries, people may have access to food, but they are unable to afford it. The lack of affordable housing and child care can also make it difficult for people to work and afford food.

In summary, the availability of food is a complex issue that is influenced by a variety of factors such as poverty, war and conflict, natural disasters, lack of infrastructure, and poor governance. It is important to address these underlying issues in order to ensure that everyone has access to enough food to meet their daily energy needs.

What are the ways we can think of to avoid wastage of food?

There are several ways to reduce food waste and ensure that food resources are used efficiently:

  1. Planning and purchasing: By planning meals and making a grocery list, individuals and households can avoid purchasing more food than they need, reducing the likelihood of spoilage.
  2. Proper storage: Proper storage of food can help extend its shelf life and reduce spoilage. This includes using airtight containers, keeping food at the correct temperature and humidity, and rotating food products to ensure they are consumed before they expire.
  3. Reducing portion sizes: By reducing portion sizes, individuals and households can reduce the amount of food they prepare and consume, reducing the amount of leftovers that go to waste.
  4. Composting: Composting is a way to convert food scraps and yard waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. This is a great way to reuse food waste and also helps in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.
  5. Food recovery and donation: Food recovery programs collect and redistribute food that would otherwise be thrown away to people in need. Many organizations work to collect surplus food from restaurants, grocery stores, and other food businesses and distribute it to shelters, food banks, and other organizations that help feed the hungry.
  6. Education and awareness: Educating people about the impacts of food waste and providing them with the tools and knowledge to reduce their food waste can help make a big difference in the long-term.

In summary, food wastage can be minimized by proper planning, purchasing, storage, portion control, composting, food recovery and donation, and awareness raising. These actions can not only help in reducing food wastage but also contribute to the overall sustainability of the food system.

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