Nutrition takes a considerable place in every person’s life. Food is one of the critical factors that make people live longer and happier. Those who eat well have fewer health issues and thus can spend their energy on something valuable and meaningful. Undoubtedly, the essential role of food is to maintain the functioning of the human body. However, many other factors determine the quantity, quality, and composition of food in different countries (Marilyn, 2016). These include the level of wealth, religious requirements, cultural characteristics, and other aspects of the life of a particular group of the population. The purpose of this paper is to discuss different geographically specific high-risk nutritional practices in the West and the East.
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Western Europe is one of the most developed parts of the planet. Many people in this area live in countries with sustainable economies. They can afford any type of food and do not always think about how healthy their food is. However, many countries have food traditions that can be detrimental to the health of their inhabitants. These countries include, for example, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary.
The diet of the inhabitants of Germany includes a significant amount of fatty meat, for example, sausages or cutlets. The classic German meal includes sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes. , heavy fried food, full of toxins and cholesterol, leaves its mark on the body of every person who regularly eats it. This type of diet can lead not only to obesity but also to problems with various organs. First, the heart suffers because it is strongly affected by cholesterol. Other organs can also be affected, for example, the liver and kidneys, which must process all the substances that enter the body.
This eating behavior of Germany is mainly due to cultural traditions. In the past, many of these people were workers, artisans, or other professions that involved hard physical labor. At the same time, climatic conditions made it possible to raise various livestock in large quantities. Thus, people needed hearty and affordable food to replenish their energy losses without spending too much money buying or manufacturing.
Now the situation in the world has changed, and far fewer people need such satisfying, fatty, and protein foods. However, paying tribute to tradition, Western Europeans maintain their dietary habits, and fatty meats are the classic dishes. They can be found and any store or restaurant, which makes them easily accessible and widespread. Therefore, these people may need the support of healthcare professionals to maintain health and quit unhealthy nutritional habits. This is necessary for both nutritional advice and assistance.
First, the vital role of health care providers is in education. Children should understand from a young age how nutrition affects their well-being and life expectancy. Parents should also be aware of this to change family eating habits and promote the healthy development of their children. The introduction and consolidation of healthy eating habits should also occur in adulthood. For example, adults can follow everyday health and nutritional practices. In this case, consultation with health professionals can be helpful so that people clearly understand what and why they are eating. Restricting alcohol can also be beneficial. A standard drink in these countries is beer, which in itself has negative consequences. In combination with junk food, the effect is enhanced. The role of healthcare professionals, in this case, is to warn people and prevent health issues.
Bad food habits can be associated not only with cultural traditions but also with religious beliefs. Islam, in particular, is a prime example of strict dietary guidelines. Ramadan is one of the controversial phenomena in this area. The essence of this ritual is that during a certain month, Muslims should not eat or drink when the sun is above the horizon. On the contrary, when the sun goes down, they can eat and drink anything.
A whole month of such a diet can be detrimental to health. First, prolonged fasting disrupts the state of the gastrointestinal tract and the rest of the body. A person does not receive nutrients; therefore, the body begins to waste the available reserves. A ban on drinking water can lead to dehydration, especially in hot countries, which in turn can cause serious consequences, including a heart attack. However, at some point, after sunset, a massive amount of food begins to enter the body. This becomes a severe blow to all body systems that do not manage to cope with food processing.
Ramadan traditions are tied to religious beliefs, but those, in turn, are primarily associated with territorial characteristics. In the heat, many foods spoil, so eating them is dangerous. For the same reason, Muslims refuse to eat pork: at high temperatures, the use of this product becomes truly dangerous. However, Muslims now live in all corners of the world. In any country where they are located, there are now more conditions to keep food fresh and suitable for consumption. Thus, Ramadan remains only a tribute to the religious tradition. Undoubtedly, religious people need to observe and maintain it. However, they must understand how this ritual affects their health.
Health care professionals can contribute to the correction of people’s eating behavior. In this case, as with the Germany, it is worth starting with education. Children need to know enough about proper nutrition to keep their bodies in good health (Reddy & Anitha, 2015). This is possible even with the observance of Ramadan: for example, do not eat enormous amounts of food at nightfall, but choose healthy and wholesome foods that the body can easily digest. A family that provides children with food can help with this. In addition, medical professionals can communicate with any segment of the population and people from different areas of employment, including spiritual practices, so that all people know about the possibility of leading a healthy lifestyle, regardless of religion, while not violating religious rules.
Good nutrition is one of the foundations of a long and productive life. It allows people to feel good, and illness does not distract them from essential daily activities. However, there is no doubt that religious and cultural traditions play a significant role in people’s lives. It is difficult and sometimes impossible to refuse them. Therefore, it is vital to strike a balance between rational thinking and habits or commitments. It is undoubtedly possible, but it takes effort and a good understanding of nutrition. Thanks to this, everyone, regardless of race, nation, or religion, will be able to lead a healthy lifestyle. This will contribute to the longevity and effective daily functioning of people.
Marilyn, A. R. (2016). Transcultural caring dynamics in nursing and health care (2nd ed.). F.A. Davis Company.
Reddy, S., & Anitha, M. (2015). Culture and its influence on nutrition and oral health. Biomedical and Pharmacology Journal, 8(October Spl Edition), 613–620. Web.