People eat for many reasons. Some eat to fuel their bodies, while others eat for pleasure and comfort. Emotional eating can lead to overeating and unhealthy weight gain. Developing healthy eating patterns can help you stay committed to your lifestyle journey. Learn how the different types of eating affect your habits so you can develop a balanced, healthy diet.
Different ways of preparing and enjoying food are influenced by culture, traditions, family, and environment. Throughout the world, people use a wide variety of methods to prepare foods, including baking, grilling, boiling, steaming, roasting, and frying. They also use a range of techniques to preserve food, such as canning, drying, smoking, salting, and pickling.
Animals serve as a primary source of meat and fish for many people. People raise cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and other birds for their meat. They also farm seafood, which provides an important source of vitamins and minerals for the global population. The meat from these animals is often preserved by canning, freezing, drying, and salting.
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. These foods provide a number of health-promoting plant compounds, such as flavonoids and phytochemicals, which have antioxidant properties. People consume these foods in a wide variety of ways, such as drinking juices and smoothies, blending them into recipes, chopping and serving them with other foods, or eating whole fruits.
Diets vary widely from country to country and even within a single country. Geographical factors explain some of this variation, such as the availability of certain crops and the length of growing seasons. People living near the ocean may eat more fish than those farther inland, while in cool climates, potatoes and root vegetables are common staples. Immigrants often broaden the cuisine of their new home by adding foods that are not available in their original homeland. For example, a popular version of chicken tikka masala is made with tomatoes and potatoes, which are not native to India.
Some people have preoccupations with food and weight that become serious problems and can result in eating disorders. These include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder.
Some people follow religious practices that influence what, when, and how they eat. For example, followers of the Jain religion believe in nonviolence toward all living things, so they do not eat meat. Many Jews and Muslims follow a set of rules outlined in Jewish kashrut law or Muslim halal, which include prohibitions on pork. Other religions have their own dietary laws, as do some secular organizations.