Eating Variety of Foods – Make It As a Habit

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gizi_85,home_makan_beragamThere are four principles of Balanced Nutrition: Eating Variety of Foods; Practice Hygiene; Doing Physical Activities – Sports; and Monitoring Ideal Body Weight. Developing a habit for eating variety of food is the first principle of Balanced Nutrition. It is a universal principle – every human being needs different kind of food, as no single food contains all the nutrients required by the body. Breast milk is an exception, for infants up to age of 6 months. The higher variety of food consumed, the higher level of nutrition needs will be fulfilled.

The balanced diet refers not only to macronutrients sources i.e. carbohydrate, protein, and fat; but also micronutrient sources i.e. vitamin and minerals; and water. Balanced nutrition consumption pattern manages the diversity of food proportionally both in terms of volume and variety according to the body requirements

CARBO as tHe Main Source of Energy

Carbohydrates is known as the main source of energy for the body, so it is called as staple food.

In the Indonesian diet, the main source of carbohydrate is rice. In some regions, carbohydrate sources are maize, cassava, sago, breadfruit and others. Some communities also use noodles and bread made from wheat flour.

karboCarbohydrates consist of digestible form as sugars and starch, and non-digestible form as fibers. Good carbohydrate sources are those contain fiber. Fiber comes in two varieties: soluble fiber dissolves in water, while insoluble fiber does not. Although neither type nourishes the body, they promote health in many ways. Soluble fiber binds to fatty substances in the intestines and carries them out as a waste, thus lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol). It also helps regulate the body’s use of sugars and helps to keep the body from hunger. Insoluble fiber helps pushing food through the intestinal tract, promoting regularity and preventing constipation.

At the Tumpeng Gizi Seimbang, sugar is put at the top. It indicates that sugar consumption should be limited. Excessive consumption of sugar will lead to obesity and diseases such as diabetes. The experts suggested consumption of carbohydrates at around 45-65% of total energy.


Shoud We Avoid Fat?
The Balanced Diet includes Fat as Part of Our Diet

Fat is also a source of energy. In food, fat gives delicious taste so people tend to prefer fatty foods. Fat helps the body absorbing vitamins A, D, E, and K; fat also provides protection to various organs of the body.

We know “bad” and “good” fats. Bad fats consist of saturated fatty acids generally contain “bad” cholesterol (LDL), while good fats composed of unsaturated fatty acids – generally contain good cholesterol (HDL).

Saturated fat can be found in meat (fat), offal, brain, butter, margarine, coconut milk, etc. It is also contained in particular food menus such as cakes, rendang, soto with offal, gulai with brain, and those with thick coconut milk. Unsaturated fat is found in vegetable oil such as corn, peanut, soybean, olive dan sunflower oil. These oils are recommended for daily use.  Palm oil and coconut oil are the most used In Indonesia. Except pure coconut oil or known as Virgin Coconut Oil, both contains saturated fat. Nuts are also good source of unsaturated fats, fiber, and phytosterols. Although the fat content of nuts is relatively high, most of the fats in nuts are healthier.

Phytosterols, are cholesterol-like compounds that are found mostly in vegetable oils, nuts and legumes. Phytosterols are not produced in the body. Thus, their sole source is diet. Phytosterols have the same function as cholesterol in the body. It is necessary component of cell membrane and required for the synthesis of sex hormones and bile acids. Plant-based diet rich in phytosterols is known to reduce total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. On the other hand, diet based on animal food (meat, egg etc.) contributes to elevated cholesterol level.

The term “nuts” includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts (legumes – peas and beans).

  • The results of most prospective cohort studies suggest that regular nut consumption (equivalent to 1 oz at least five times weekly) is associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. (More Information)
  • One prospective cohort study has found that regular nut consumption is associated with significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (More Information)
  • Most prospective studies have shown that people who consume nuts regularly weigh less than those who rarely consume nuts. Nonetheless, since an ounce of most nuts provides about 160 kcal of energy, substituting nuts for other less healthy snacks is a good strategy for avoiding weight gain when increasing nut intake. (More Information)

For example, in one study it was found that subjects fed with wheat germ containing high phytosterol had 42% lower cholesterol in their blood as compared to those who were fed phytosterol-free wheat germ.

The mechanisms suggested on how phytosterols help reduce serum cholesterol include enhancing excretion of cholesterol, interfering with cholesterol synthesis, and competing for cholesterol acceptor sites in the intestinal walls.

Some animal studies have also shown that phytosterols inhibit or slow down tumor development.

On average, a conventional Western diet provides 250 mg/day of phytosterol. Whereas a vegetarian diet provides 2 times of that.

In the following table is a list of foods high/low in phytosterols. Generally, oils have high phytosterol content where as vegetables and fruits have lower content. The phytosterol content presented below is the sum of beta sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.

Fat is also placed at the top part of Tumpeng Gizi Seimbang as its consumption should not be excessive.  Excessive fat can lead to obesity, heart disease and blood vessel problems.


PROTEIN Memberikan Berbagai Manfaat Kesehatan

Proteins are composed of amino acids. Some of them are essential because they cannot be produced by the body and can only be taken from the diet. The rest of them can be made by the liver if all the necessary chemical components are available.

protein-2Proteins provide a variety of benefits to the body. First and foremost, proteins are responsible for growth and maintenance of all body cells and structures, like bone, muscle, blood cells, skin and hair. They are also the primary component of enzymes, which help facilitate many of the chemical reactions within the body, including digestion. Proteins are also part in the production of hormones like insulin, thyroid hormones, estrogen and testosterone.

Protein in our diet can come from two different sources: plant vegetal based (such as soy, nuts and beans), and animal based (such as meat, dairy and eggs). With the exception of soy, only animal based proteins contain all of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Plant Vegetal -based proteins also contain all of the essential amino acids, however some of them may be in insufficient amounts to meet our dietary requirements. If you do not eat animal-based products, you can combine different types of plant vegetal proteins to ensure that you get all the amino acids that you need.

Vitamin and Mineral

Vitamin and minerals are micronutrients that facilitate the process of producing energy and other biological processes necessary to maintain health. There are many vitamins and minerals, but only some of them are of public health concern. Problems due to lack of vitamins and minerals are the main problem experienced by many developing countries, including Indonesia.

vitThe vitamins are vitamin A, various B vitamins, especially folate, vitamin B1, B2, and B12, whereas the minerals are iodine, iron, and zinc. Lack of other types of minerals such as calcium, may be clinically associated with risk of disease, but it is not considered as public health problem.

Vitamins and minerals are mainly found in fruits and vegetables

The best way to get vitamins and minerals from vegetables is in raw form or half-cooked. Vegetable and fruits are generally less preferred in the family. Actually animal based foods are also important sources of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, iron, and folate are needed for pregnant women. Only vitamins and minerals come from animal based foods are relatively more expensive than from vegetables and fruits.


Water is a nutrient and the most abundant element in the body. The younger the person, the higher the water content in the body. The fetus contains about 98% of water, infant contains about 75% and adult has 50-65% of water. Water is essential to the life and condition of each cell, and the elements of body fluids. Water is essential for body functions, such as regulating body temperature, “shield” of the nervous system, cerebrospinal fluid and spinal cord. Water is required to perform many important chemical reactions of digestion and metabolism. The needs of water to maintain the water balance can be influenced by age, physical activity, temperature, diet and health status (such as during pregnancy and lactation), and fever. In the general population, the minimum amount of water consumed is 2 liters or 8 glasses per day.

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