1.4.1  Using nutrients to build tissue

The human body consists of different types of nutrients. For example, a person who weighs 50 kg consists of 31 kilograms of water, 9 kg of protein, 7 kg of fat and 3 kg of minerals. Therefore, besides water, the most important building nutrient is protein. Fat is also important to build cells and energy stores. Some minerals are important, for example calcium, which is necessary to build bones and teeth, and iron which helps to build haemoglobin in the blood. Table 1.3 shows the percentages of each of the nutrients in the body.

Table 1.3  Nutrient content of the human body.

Nutrient%
Minerals6%
Fat14%
Protein18%
Water62%
  • How does the body use nutrients? Give examples of foods for each type of nutrient based on your experience of your community.

  • The body uses nutrients to:

    • build the body, produce fluids and repair tissues; for example, proteins such as meat, eggs, fish, milk
    • produce energy so that the body can keep alive and warm and so it can move and grow; for example, carbohydrates such as ‘teff’, bread, sugar and pasta
    • protect the body from disease; for example, vitamins and minerals such as ‘gommen’, oranges, carrots and bananas
    • help chemical processes.

1.4  The importance of nutrients

1.4.2  Using nutrients to build the body