Jakarta (ANTARA) - The fortification or nutritional enrichment of foods, such as flour, can help fulfill the need for micronutrients, such as iron, a nutritionist at the Health Ministry's Mother and Child Health Nutrition Directorate Hera Nurlita said.

"Fortification is micronutrition enrichment. When it comes to what our body needs, it may not be much, but it has a significant contribution to the entire work cycle inside the body," she informed during an interview here on Tuesday.

The fortification of flour involves adding iron, zinc, folic acid, and vitamins to it to help prevent anemia, which is caused due to lack of iron.

Anemia can actually be prevented through the daily diet, including an intake of fruits and vegetables. However, the majority of Indonesians do not meet their need for vegetables and fruits.

This is based on the 2018 Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) data, which shows that 95 percent of Indonesians have poor vegetable and fruit intake. This is despite the fact that the two foods have the nutrition needed to prevent anemia.

"Fruits and vegetables have a significant contribution to meet the need for vitamins and minerals, micro nutrition. The function of fortification is to fulfill that," Nurlita explained.

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Fortified flour is also one of the sources of carbohydrates, the body's energy fuel. When it comes to intake, carbohydrates usually make up 50–60 percent of our daily needs.

In 2018, the government issued a new fortification standard namely the Indonesian National Standard (SNI 3751:2018), which determined the use of irons that are absorbed by the body more easily.

These irons comprise ferrous fumarate and ferrous sulfate, in accordance with the recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addition to fortification, the provision of iron supplements to teenage girls and pregnant women can also help prevent anemia among the two groups and this has been done for a long time.

Meanwhile, deputy country director of Nutrition International Indonesia, Rozy Jafar, said that flour fortification for handling anemia involves the addition of nutrients such as iron and zinc to handle diarrhea as well as B12 and B1.

According to Jafar, fortification should complement other nutrition decline reduction policies, such as iron tablet supplementation for pregnant women, consumption patterns, and diet.

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Translator: Lia W S, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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