Nutrition is the process of obtaining food or energy from the consumption of food and energy. It is the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism uses food to sustain its life. It provides organisms with nutrients, which can be metabolized to create chemical and energy structures. An example of nutrition is the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
The study of nutrition, or nutritional science, examines the nutritional content of different foods, the amount of nutrients needed for healthy growth and function, and how this varies from person to person. It also looks at how cultures add herbs and spices to foods before eating them to add flavor, although most don't significantly affect nutrition. Nutrient deficiencies, known as malnutrition, occur when an organism doesn't have the nutrients it needs. Mineral cycles include the carbon cycle, the sulfur cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle, the phosphorus cycle, the oxygen cycle, among others, which are continuously recycled together with other mineral nutrients in productive ecological nutrition.
Grain cultivation and bread production have been a key component of human nutrition since the beginning of agriculture. Specialty pet foods have been manufactured since 1860, and subsequent research and development has addressed the nutritional needs of pets. In domestic animals, such as pets, livestock and working animals, as well as other animals in captivity, humans manage nutrition through animal feed. The first vitamin to be chemically identified was thiamine in 1926, and the role of vitamins in nutrition was studied in the following decades. Early human nutrition consisted of seeking nutrients similar to those of other animals, but it diverged at the beginning of the Holocene with the Neolithic Revolution, in which humans developed agriculture to produce food.