ETYM Old Eng. fode, AS. fôda.
Any substance that can be metabolized by an organism to give energy and build tissue; SYN. nutrient.
Anything eaten by human beings and other animals to sustain life and health. The building blocks of food are nutrients, and humans can utilize the following nutrients: carbohydrates, as starches found in bread, potatoes, and pasta; as simple sugars in sucrose and honey; as fibers in cereals, fruit, and vegetables; proteins as from nuts, fish, meat, eggs, milk, and some vegetables; fats as found in most animal products (meat, lard, dairy products, fish), also in margarine, nuts and seeds, olives, and edible oils; vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods, except for vitamin B12, which is mainly found in animal foods; minerals are found in a wide variety of foods; good sources of calcium are milk and broccoli, for example; iodine from seafood; iron from liver and green vegetables; water is ubiquitous in nature; alcohol is found in fermented distilled beverages, from more than 40% in liquor to 0.01% in low-alcohol beers.
Food is needed both for energy, measured in calories or kilojoules, and nutrients, which are converted to body tissues. Some nutrients, such as fat, carbohydrate, and alcohol, provide mainly energy; other nutrients are important in other ways; for example, fiber is an aid to metabolism. Proteins provide energy and are necessary for building cell and tissue structure.
Any substance which has nutritious qualities, which nourishes or promotes growth.