Culture separates, yet connects, the world. People are either pulled together or separated by their cultures. The impact of culture is widespread and diverse. Culture, as defined by Livescience.com, is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.
Food is definitely an important ingredient of culture. Many times, what people eat, how they prepare what they eat and sometimes who can eat what, all depend on the prevalent culture. Indeed, people may connect to their cultural or ethnic groups through similar food patterns. Naturally, the impact of culture on nutrition is high. In some instances, culture can inhibit the progression of healthy nutrition. For example, some cultures believe that if a child is given eggs to eat, the child will grow up to become a thief. Other cultures forbid their clansmen from eating a particular types of food, as this will ‘offend the ancestors’. There are places in this country where people don’t eat chicken, and others forbid beef. Certain food taboos and other cultural rites prohibit children from eating meat or eating coconuts. The belief is that these food sources will make them unintelligent.
These cultural constraints and food biases may result in malnutrition and other nutrition-related ailments, including protein deficiency. Protein deficiency, a type of malnutrition, is the lack of protein nutrients in the body, and it poses a significant problem in Nigeria.
Protein is widely regarded as an essential building block of life. It is a macro-nutrient found in literally every cell of the body. Macronutrients are foods that the body needs in large amounts. Protein is an important ingredient used to build, maintain and repair body tissues and muscles. Recently, at a webinar titled: ‘Nigeria’s food culture and the challenge of protein deficiency’, nutritionists and public health experts explored the nexus between the food culture in Nigeria and the protein deficiency situation. The Citizen NG