The Benefits and Sources of Nutrients

Whats are the sources and benefit of nutrients or nutrition? Nutrients are classified into 2 (two), namely macro nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals). The human body needs a variety of foods to meet all these nutrients. Deficiency or excess of one element of nutrients in food consumption will cause abnormalities or disease. Therefore, it is necessary to apply a balanced eating habits from an early age with the amount that suits the needs of each child in order to achieve the level of intelligence and excellent health conditions.

Substance energy or energy needed to perform daily physical activities which are mostly obtained from food sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These building blocks or proteins are important for growth and replace damaged cells obtained from animal or plant foods. While regulatory substances or vitamins and minerals play a role for the metabolic process or the functioning of organs.

The need for these nutrients is visualized in the form of a food pyramid.

Food Pyramid
nutrients benefit

Energy Substance

Energy consists of the following elements: carbohydrates and fats. Below is a full explanation. 


Carbohydrates are the main source of energy. In the body every 1 g of carbohydrates can provide energy of 4 kcal. In general, carbohydrates consist of simple carbohydrates, namely monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides (sucrose, lactose, maltose), complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides such as starch, glycogen, cellulose), pectin, and lignin.

Simple carbohydrate sources are various types of flour and sugar, whereas complex carbohydrate sources are whole grains (for example rice, corn, wheat); tubers (for example sweet potatoes, cassava / taro, taro, potatoes); sago; banana; and processed products (for example, combro, fried banana, getuk, rice cake, biscuits).

Consumption of simple carbohydrates will immediately produce energy / energy, but will quickly run out so that it will quickly feel hungry. Therefore, you should consume complex carbohydrates so that the feeling of fullness lasts longer. Lack of carbohydrates in school children can cause fatigue, infection, and lack of concentration.

Consumption of simple carbohydrates, especially sugar, should be limited to 4 (four) tablespoons every day, this is because the excess energy will be stored in the form of fat, causing obesity (obesity). Besides that, simple sugar can also cause dental caries. 


Fats produce the highest energy because every 1 gram of fat intake will produce 9 kcal of energy. In general, fat is a triglyceride consisting of glycerol and fatty acids. Fatty acids are grouped into saturated fatty acids (palmitic acid and stearic acid), and unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 (for example linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid / DHA) and omega-6 (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid / ARA). Unsaturation is needed by children, especially for the process of growth, including brain development.

Food sources of fat / oil are generally divided into two, namely vegetable (plant) and animal (animal). Food sources of vegetable fat are coconut oil, palm oil, corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, various nuts, hazelnut, avocado, durian and margarine. Food sources of animal fat include egg yolks, beef, mutton, chicken, shrimp, fish, liver, milk, butter and cheese.

The recommended composition of fat consumption in a day is 2 parts of food sources of vegetable fat and 1 part of food sources of animal fats.

Consumption of excess fat for a long time can result in weight gain and continues to be overweight (obese). For children who are obese should be limited to consumption of no more than 5 (five) tablespoons every day. 

Building Materials

Proteins play an important role as building blocks in the structure and function of cells. Besides protein can also be a source of energy, which produces 4 kcal of 1 gram of protein.

Protein is a series of amino acid units. Amino acids consist of essential and non essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are amino acids that are needed by the body but cannot be synthesized by the body, so it must be fulfilled from food consumed daily. Essential amino acids consist of histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. While non-essential amino acids are amino acids that can be synthesized by the body, including alanine, arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, taurine.

Sources of protein can come from vegetable and animal origin. Vegetable protein sources, such as beans, and animal protein sources such as milk, meat, land and sea fish, and processed food products. In order to obtain good quality protein, at least 1/5 (one fifth) of the adequacy of protein is met from animal protein.

Protein deficiency can cause stunted growth of children, decrease endurance / immunity, and the emergence of kwashiorkor and marasmus events. 

Regulatory Substances

Sources of regulating substances are all types of vegetables and fruits that contain various vitamins and minerals for the metabolic processes or the functioning of the organs. 


Vitamins are nutrients that the body needs in very small amounts but are very important, and must always be available in food because they cannot be made by the body.

Based on its solubility, vitamins are divided into water-soluble vitamins (vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin C); and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K). 


Minerals that are important for bone growth and maintenance are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and fluorine. Food sources that contain calcium include processed milk products, cheese and yogurt, salmon and sardines, especially with bones, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli.

Other minerals needed for school children include sodium, potassium, chlorine, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, manganese, copper, chromium, and molybdenum.

Iron Nutrition Anemia (AGB) is a nutrient deficiency problem that often occurs in children throughout the world including Indonesia. Iron deficiency can be characterized by a pale and weak / tired face. Sources of iron include: beef, mutton, liver, tuna, eggs and beans

Salt generally contains sodium, and is usually abundant in foods, seasonings, and preservatives. Sodium serves to regulate blood pressure, but excessive consumption of sodium is one factor that causes an increase in blood pressure. Salt consumption should be limited to 1 (one) teaspoon every day. 


Water is one of the nutrients that is very important for health. However, based on The Indonesian Regional Hydration Study (THIRST) and FKUI (2012) shows that 46.1% of the population studied experienced mild dehydration (Budi 2012).

Water has an important function for the human body, namely 
  1. as a body maker; 
  2. as a regulator of body temperature; 
  3. as a solvent;
  4. as a lubricant and bearing; 
  5. as a transportation medium; and 6) as a medium for removing toxins and metabolic waste.
Water intake must be at least 1600 mL from drinking water, food, and oxidation results of food substances. 


Fiber is also needed by the body especially to help facilitate the process of defecation. Water-soluble fiber which is commonly found in fruits, nuts and cereals serves to slow the absorption of glucose, cholesterol and bile salts in the small intestine, thereby reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. While water-insoluble dietary fiber can help facilitate bowel movements sourced from vegetables and fruit.

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