Staple food

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The foodstuffs that make up the main component of the human diet in terms of quantity in the respective culture are referred to as staple food .

They ensure the basic supply of carbohydrates , protein and fat , but not necessarily a sufficient supply of vitamins and trace elements . The world's most important staple foods include cereals such as wheat or rice , storage roots ( tubers , rhizomes ) such as potatoes or yams , legumes such as lentils and beans and fruits such as dates and figs , or products made from them such as porridge and bread . The staple foods also include fish , meat , milk and eggs , which, along with legumes, are among the most commonly consumed sources of protein.

Which staple foods are consumed regionally depends heavily on cultural, climatic and economic factors. Today only a dozen or so foods serve as real staple foods for the greater part of the world's population.


  • Water . Humans need around 1.5–2 liters of drinking water per day .

Vegetable foods

Cereals and pseudograins

  • Wheat , which together with maize and rice is the most widely grown grain in the world, is a staple food for people in many countries as a bread grain . At the same time it is of great importance in animal fattening . Durum wheat is particularly suitable for the production of pasta (durum wheat semolina).
  • Rye is used as a bread grain , particularly in Northern , Central and Eastern Europe . The comparatively high lysine share, rye become an important part of a balanced diet .
  • Rice is the traditional staple food in Chinese , Japanese and Korean cuisine and is known as gohan in Japan . This word has two meanings: on the one hand short grain rice and on the other hand it stands for food or food par excellence. Due to the polishing of brown rice and the triumph of white rice (see bran ), vitamin deficiency diseases such as beri-beri have spread to a large extent and mainly affected the poorer sections of the population. These deficiency symptoms were the reason for the discovery of vitamins in 1912 .
  • Glutinous rice is the staple food in the north and northeast ( Isan ) of Thailand as well as in Laos .
  • Different millet species in many areas of Africa and Asia , the staple food.
  • Corn is now grown worldwide and is a staple food in many countries, especially in Africa.
  • Quinoa comes from South America , where it has been a staple food along with amaranth for 6000 years. They were especially cultivated in the Andes plateaus (over 4000 m). There they were indispensable for the people, as maize could no longer be grown at these heights.
  • Amaranth was a staple food alongside quinoa and corn for the Aztecs , Inca and Maya . Today we know that amaranth has a far higher protein and mineral content than the grains traditionally grown around the world. Carbohydrates and fiber are available in equal amounts.
  • Buckwheat is a genus of plants in the knotweed family (Polygonaceae). The 15 to 16 species are common in Eurasia and Eastern Africa. Buckwheat fruits are gluten-free, and their flour therefore plays an important role in the diet of people with celiac disease . The best known species of the genus Fagopyrum is buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum).

Cereal products

Root and sprout tubers


Animal products

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Basic food  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fran Osseo-Asare: Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Greenwood Press, Westport CT / London 2005, pp. 18-20.