Food Families

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Food families allow you to determine which foods are closely related.

Biologists have arranged the species of plants and animals into a taxonomy, a type of hierarchy, that shows the relationships between the species. There is, for example, a plant kingdom and an animal kingdom, and each are divided into phylums, classes, orders, families, genuses, and down to the level of the species.

The family is the taxonomic rank usually used to consider the relationships of foods.

Lists of Families

Here are some common foods that are listed in family groups that make it easy to see the relationships between the foods.

List of Fruits

List of Vegetables

List of Grains

List of Nuts and Seeds

List of Meats and Poultry

Similar Characteristics

Foods in the same family often share characteristics, such as:

  • Related phytochemicals ("plant chemicals") in cancer-fighting Brassica vegetables
  • Related phytochemicals in nightshade vegetables
  • Similarities in the meat from related bovine animals (cows, bison, goats, sheep)

Allergy Considerations

If a food provokes allergy symptoms or makes you ill in any way (such as headaches, stomach ache, diarrhea), its relatives in the same family:

  • May provoke the same or similar symptoms
  • May provoke different symptoms
  • Simply stress your body enough to overload its capacity for the food



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