Education For Health Food By Biological And Natural Sciences And Romanian Traditions
The scientific research on education for health food of students through Biological and Natural Sciences and Romanian traditions was achieved mainly by Microbiology as Biological Sciences and Biochemistry as Natural Sciences at the University Bioterra from Bucharest with students from the food faculties, starting with the 2012-2013 academic year until now. The reconstruction of conceptualization demonstrated that education for health food materialize professional education of students from food faculties and is based on sciences like “Biological Sciences”, “Natural Sciences”, “Educational Sciences” and “Psychology”. Didactical methodologies have been developed, such those practical-heuristic, based on laboratory experiments, i.e. determination of the pH of muscle of domestic pig and the identification the toxic food with nitrites over admisible limits, on laboratory practical works, i.e. the organoleptic examination of meat and D.N.A. (deoxyribonucleic acid) histochemically extraction for identification the counterfeit foods, on observation. Also, were developed interactive-heuristic methodologies by discussions and debates about fundamental concepts, such as health of bread, necessary for their life and future profession. Education for health food in correlation with Romanian traditions and religious beliefs reveals that they have a scientific basis, i.e. prayer before meals is cause for that the food to be bioavailable, completion of long and short posts help to detoxify the body by eating vegetable products, the ancestor of alms-boiled wheat that is both a food and a symbol and a part of a ritual. Were identified numerous examples of education for health, the undertaken objectives of the scientific research being met.
Keywords: Education for health foodpractical-heuristic didactical methodologyinteractive-heuristic didactical methodologyMicrobiologyBiochemistryRomanian traditons
Whereas health of the citizens is essential for growth and prosperity in the Union, on 28 April
2010 The European Commission has adopted the Recommendation on the initiative research of joint
programming “A healthy diet for a healthy life”, member States being encouraged to include many
actions, including: “…identifying areas or research activities that would benefit from coordination or joint
calls for proposals or pooling of resources;…exchanging information, resources, best practices, methods
and guidelines, while establishing clinical studies;…exporting and disseminating knowledge, innovation
and interdisciplinary approaches…;…” (European Union, 2010, p. 37).
Individual and collective activities of maintaining planetary health are possible with people at a
level of general education, thus, hygienic-sanitary culture, being necessary and education for health food,
that can realized on base of biological and natural sciences, in correlation with Romanian traditions.
The European Commission invites Member States to develop and implement a common strategy
for the prevention of diet-related diseases. The study in domain reveals that overweight and obesity may
lead to conditions such as: cardiovascular disease; hypertension; strokes; certain cancers; type 2 diabetes;
certain mental health conditions; musculo-skeletal disorders. However, these risks could be reduced if
individuals were to adopt healthy behaviour, particularly in terms of diet. “If common lifestyle risk
factors, among others diet-related ones, were eliminated, around 80 % of cases of heart disease, strokes
and type 2 diabetes, and 40 % of cancers, could be avoided.” (European Union, 2010, p. 36).
“Over the past 20 years, governments, NGOs, the private sector, and public-private initiatives
have been involved in generic healthy eating awareness campaigns all around the world. Public
awareness campaigns to encourage healthy eating have been adopted widely in Europe and North
America. Generic healthy eating campaigns involve the development and communication of messages
that aim to make the public aware of the importance of healthy eating in general. In the EU, a survey in
2008-2009 by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) identified 125 healthy eating campaigns
being conducted during the time of the survey, and most countries had more than one. (EUFIC, 2013)”
(Hawkes, 2013, p. 8).
In this research on education for health food, the students had answer to many questions from the
professor, as following: “Why is brown bread healthier than white bread?”; “How it look like sick
bread?”; “How can identify a healthy meat and an old, altered meat?”. This research has responded at the
questions: “Which are the didactical methodologies that can be developed for education for health food?;
“What the suggestive examples are for education for health food of students from food faculties?”; “What
Romanian traditions are in correlation with the education for health food?”.
Purpose of the Study
Purpose of Study is development of didactical methodologies for education for health food of
students through biological and natural sciences in correlation with Romanian traditions.
The scientific objectives of this research are:
reconstruction of conceptualization and of didactical methodologies for education for health food;
identification of examples of education for health food based on biological and natural
sciences, of some correlation with the Romanian traditions.
Paper Theoretical Foundation and Related Literature
Modern education for health “is one of the “new educations”, defined in the UNESCO programs
as answers of the educational systems to the imperatives of contemporary world. “One of the most
targeted objectives of the governamental policies and strategies from all the world, mentioned by the
World Health Organization, is to achieve and maintain a healthy state for whole population of the world,
allowing all the people to have a productive life from an economic point of view.” (Petruţa & Soare, 2010, p. 101).
Public health is a key priority of the European Union, being founded in 2005 the EU Platform on
Diet, Physical Activity and Health, which brings together a range of European organizations aimed at
finding solutions to inadequate nutrition and physical inactivity. “Among the measures is the introduction
of food labeling rules applicable throughout the EU.” (European Union,2013, p.11).
Romania considers EU policies in addressing to education for health, including education for
health food by improving knowledge about risk factors, encouraging the adoption by the population of
healthy behaviors and lifestyles. “This will be done through measures of information, education and
professional training, in the fields of: nutrition, alcohol, tobacco and drugs, exercise, mental health, sexual
behavior and use of drugs.” (Popa, 2006, p. 4).
“Education for health or hygienic-sanitary (gr. hygieia=health) include knowledge and practical
rules to be known and respected by man to avoid unfavorable factors contributing to disease, but also for
the approximation of the factors favorable body growth and development, health and his life.” (Ciobanu, 2009, p. 38).
Education for health lies at the crossroads of science foundation as well as “Biological Sciences”,
“Medical Sciences”, “Natural Sciences”, “Educational Sciences” and “Psychology” (Figure
A component of education for health is the education of health food that materializes the
professional education of students from faculties and specialization on food domain.
“Foods assure the intake of nutritive substances needed for all vital processes in the human body.
A balances nutrition, with a sufficient content of micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) assure the
normal growth and development of the organism, maintain the optimum state of health, allow carrying of
the dailly activity and participate to protection of the organism against various diseases.” (Petruţa, 2010 , p. 163).
The Sciences on which education for health food of students from faculties with food profile is
based are: “Biochemistry”, “Microbiology”, “Principles of Nutrition”, “Educational Sciences”,
“Psychology” and so on. Education for health food, as a component of education for health, is aiming at
„the modification of nutrition behavior of individuals in the context of new existence conditions,
economic and cultural, specific to postindustrial society” (Cristea, 2005, p. 62)
The methods of this research are: literature review, debate, discussion, laboratory experiments,
laboratory practical work, didactical observation, questionnaire.
Laboratory Experiments and Laboratory Practical Work for Determination the Toxic Foods, Altered, Counterfeit: Hipotheses, Materials and Procedures
The results obtained in higher education is due, mainly, to the teaching methods used by professor
and learning methods used by students, in the present research are being used, primarily, the laboratory
experiment and laboratory practical works, the methodology applied being practical - heuristic (gr.
heuriskein- to find, to discover, gr. heureka - I have found (it)).
“Experiment teaching is a fundamental method in biological education. Through the experiment, a
known practical activities report progress and results, introduce new variables set according to a
hypothesis developed in order to verify them through - a remark caused intentionally by - a new action
search to find the evidence - for and - against .” (Ciobanu, 2008, p.109).
The students searched solutions to resolve the negative situation of consummation of toxic food by
investigation by experiment, finding solution on education for health food. Investigative study was
conducted on various types of meat products, the experiments consisting in the determination of nitrites
in meat products used, the hypothesis being: “If we apply the method of Peter-Griess reagent
spectrophotometric we determine the presence of nitrites in meat, sometimes over the limit of standards in
the field.” The principle of the method is: “Nitrites form in acidic medium with alpha naphthyl amine and
sulfanilic acid a red colored complex whose intensity is proportional to the concentration.” (Jurcovan,
An other example of a laboratory experiment that contributed to education for health food of
students from faculties and food specializations involved in the scientific study undertaken is to
determine pH muscle of domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica), the hypothesis set forth by the students
being: “If we determine the pH of the muscle samples, we find a variety of pH corresponding to several
grades of meat, mainly fresh meat and meat spoiled.”
The laboratory work practical by organoleptic examination, with the help of senses-sight, smell
(biochemical sense), tactile, gustatory (biochemical sense) can lead to food sanitation and therefore, the
danger and risk of disease.
Thus, taking into account the organoleptic factors assessment of the appearance, color,
consistency, smell and bone marrow and based on the observation of fragments of fresh, relatively fresh
meat, meat altered, expired, placed in Petri dishes (Figure
information presented by the teacher with reference to fresh meat, for consumption, students made a
comparative analysis of food products and rediscovered characteristic elements of altered products, unhealthy.
The students has determined in the Biochemistry laboratory within Bioterra University from
Bucharest, using chicken liver, banana and onion bulb as food, trough practical laboratory work of
D.N.A. histochemical extraction, if the foods is natural or not, the presence of D.N.A. indicating that the
foods are natural, and the absence of D.N.A. indicating that the foods not are natural, being counterfeit.
Education for Health Food by Biochemistry
In didactical process at Biochemistry as natural sciences, students were attracted to the practical-
heuristic methodologies based mainly on laboratory experiments for determine of the toxicity of foods,
i.e. the meat products with nitrites over the limit, laboratory experiments based on the procedure for
determining the pH of mammalian meat, on laboratory practical work of determination a mammal meat,
altered and fresh, eatable, laboratory practical work of D.N.A. histochemical extraction for determination
of the presence / absence of D.N.A. and so if the food is natural or not, on didactical observation.
Results of laboratory experiment of biochemistry of determining by students the nitrites in meat
products expressed in mg. nitrites/100 g. meat demonstrated that the meat products used recorded values
between 1.54 mg. nitrites/100 g. Italian salami and 9.96 mg. nitrites/100 g. peasant baloney, the normal
value being 7 mg. nitrites/100 g. meat products, shown in the following figure (Figure
meat being toxic food for health. The students learn that for their health is necessary to avoid eating the
toxic foods with nitrites over admisible limits, that determine the forming of methemoglobin which can
cause death by suffocation.
Previous biochemical studies on the pH, the information given by student on the pH of the fresh
meat of bovine or ovine not more than 6.2, and at a maximum of 6.6 muscle pH of domestic pig, the
procedure for determining the pH of meat mammalian led to the rediscovery of the students, through their
own effort of mammalian meat eatable to detect adulterated meat, unhealthy, if the pH is determined
increasingly smaller and so the meat is becoming more acidic, the advancing deterioration. The
hypothesis was confirmed, as identified by students several grades of meat.
“Manufacturers and distributors of meat and meat products are controlled by specialized personnel
in health control. Analysis and health inspection of meat watch on one hand, to emphasize the main
chemical components that characterize the nutritional value of the product and on the other hand, to
highlight any alterations that make this food a harmful factor for the health of the consumer.” (Tomescu,
Drǎgan, & Meiroşu, 2000, p. 108).
In biochemistry practical work and laboratory experiment, at topics “Organoleptic examination of
food” and “Determination of pH”, the students in addition to their training, expertise and health control,
acquires an education for health food, getting power to distinguish for example a mammal meat, altered
and one fresh, eatable; to distinguish between a fresh fish, eatable, healthy and one altered, damaged, old.
Also, in Biochemistry, by practical work and laboratory experiment, the students discovers counterfeit
food by various additions, such as the presence of starch or gelatin in the cream or the presence of starch
“It is an approach derived from a different philosophy of knowledge, another explanation of the
science, this time regarded as a functional process as a living, active, continual development of
knowledge as an ongoing, never completed, the discovery of new truths, a genuine intellectual creation.”
(Cerghit, 2002, p. 79).
The processing of information was continued with the preparation of a comparative table (Table
with the characteristics of mammalian meat which was organoleptic examined and filled with new data
rediscovered by students within the heuristic conversation initiated by the professor, approached
didactical methodology is one practical-heuristic (Greek heuriskein-to find, to descover; Greek heureka-I
have found (it)) based on the teaching methods, i.e. laboratory practical work, didactical observation,
There are also, identified numerous examples of education for health food.
It thus contributes both for their training in profession and for education for health food of
students, didactical methodology is practical-heuristic, learning methods based on laboratory experiment,
observation, heuristic conversation. “Provided by applying a biological education models, varied and
combined strategies and teaching methods for the particular age of the students…” (Iancu, 2015, p. 613)
In this research were developed the didactical methodologies for education for health food of
students through natural and biological sciences such interactive-heuristic methodologies by discussions
(lat. discussio = suggesting that the image of a building shake for see if it is quite solid ; discuss =
examine the value of information) and debates centered on fundamental biochemistry and microbiology
concepts such as those in correlation with concept of “bread”. “Within the literature on psychology and
didactics of natural science, a great importance is given to the concepts and process of their formation.
Concept is a notion, a general idea which is elaborated by analysis and synthesis, abstractization and
generalization.” (Petruţa, 2015, p. 688)
The professor “must be moderators, arousing inquiries, questions, discussions and debates.
Students are encouraged to express divergent views when supporting their own opinion or opposing
another student’s opinion. The teacher is a constructive educational manager; engages all students in the
learning process and facilitates the use of heuristic rather than simply present the new content.” (Iancu,
2014, p. 72).
Students rediscovering by study and discussion that yeast used in bread industry belongs to the
species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, carrying out the alcohol fermentation, a series of enzymatic
biochemical reactions through that carbohydrates are degraded up to ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH) and CO2. Students responded at questions of professor previously presented and argue through discussions
and debates that it is healthier to eat brown bread than white bread because the nutritional content is
higher and also the lower starch content and increased gluten contributes to better growth, development
and operation of body to avoid fattening, obesity. On base of observations, by the literature review,
students discussed at Microbiology as Biological disciplines about pathogens that develop on bread, most
often are grown on bread mold pathogen Aspergillus glaucus as in class Deuteromycetes molds (fungi
“Method discussions/debates has several advantages: is a form of socio-empirio-centrically
learning, through enhances interactions, communication within the group, activism pupils / students
increases spontaneity, develop the ability to overcome polemics, reasoned presentation of ideas, to respect
freedom of speech, contribute to the formation of communication skills within the group, etc. which are
sign up on line with achieving a modern and formative biological education.” (Iancu, 2012, p. 60).
In didactical research laboratory from Specialized Department with Psychopedagogical Profile of
BIOTERRA University of Bucharest were presented and discussed with students the results of one
questionnaire in correlation with marketing and the consummation of the natural or counterfeit honey
bees. “The role of ... apicultural products (honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis) for the cure of various
disorders it has been known since ancient times.” (Petruţa, 2010 b, p. 374). Over 150 students completed
the questionnaire in correlation with eating of honey bees. The data collected following administration of
the questionnaire revealed, inter alia, that: most students eat honey, which is purchased by parent’s
supermarkets, when they buy, read the label, particularly durability, as well as their parents; students do
not recognize counterfeit honey bees examination; students know the kinds of honey, but also part of the
honey quality standards, such as those related to organoleptic; etc.
“Improving public knowledge on the relationship between diet and health, energy intake and
output, on diets that lower risk of chronic diseases, and on healthy choices of food items, is a
prerequisite for the success of any nutrition policy, whether at national or Community level.
Consistent, coherent, simple and clear messages need to be developed, and disseminated
through multiple channels and in forms appropriate to local culture, age and gender. Consumer
education will also contribute to creating media literacy, and enable consumers to better understand
nutrition labelling.” (European Commission, 2005, p. 8)
Discussions in Correlation with Education for Health Food and Romanian Traditions
Another approach to health food is the correlation with Romanian traditions. On base of literature
review, by discussions on Romanian traditions and religious beliefs in correlation with the nutrition, the
food and the education for health food reveals that they have a scientific basis, i.e. prayer before meals is
the psychological cause for that the food to be bioavailable, fasts help to detoxify the body by eating
vegetable products, the ancestor of alms-boiled wheat is both a food and a symbol and a part of a ritual.
“Religiously speaking, food complements the spiritual life and the more spiritual life becomes
high, the food becomes insignificant.” (Atudosiei, 2006, p. 4). This is another valence of the food, that of
integrating cultural and religious.
The students showed that a part of Romania's population taken into account in diet and religious
faith, the Orthodox Christian tradition, crossing long and short period of times of full or partial abstention
from food, which contribute to improve human health as eating vegetable products lead to detoxification
and health of the body, remove toxins entered the body with animal foods. Because the body is deprived
of certain nutrients, such as animal protein, long periods as it may appear deficient nutrition foods and
specific diseases. Were established to enter into a long fasts a day of “eating meat” and “eating cheese”
and were introduced during the long fasts “eat fish”. But the fasts helping to morally, ethically education,
contributing to the intensification of mental traits, character, and will, through education and self-
education through self-control.
“It depends very much on us as the food to be accepted by of body and prayers, blessings before
meals serve just for good preparation and assimilation of food. Blessing aims to “taming” of food. The
secret to the food to open it consists in heating and heat Love means (...) Do not ever eat what you do not
like!” (Aivanhov, 2008, p. 25).
In the Romanian tradition, the ancestor of alms-boiled wheat-stems from the very roots of
garnishment novel, which is known as a great nation of farmers. Wheat (Triticum aestivum) symbolizes
the connection between life and death.
Romanian tradition and religious belief, cage that is prepared especially for eternal memory of
loved ones gone in nothingness, is both a food and a symbol and a part of a ritual, as the three basic
components of alms were their significance: wheat (Barley) which then yields a mean crowd sprouts
grown right Christian faith and their salvation, sugar or honey represents virtues of Saints and walnut
kernels (seeds) released from the fruit that holds him handcuffed, is victory over death through the
resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In contemporary society, many of these traditions and religious beliefs unfortunately have been
It is a matter of deep bioethics of specialists in the field, family, public institutions, including
schools, in making education for health food in correlation with Romanian traditions and religious beliefs
that are part of our identity as a nation. It is also a patriotic duty to lower the degree of morbidity and
mortality rate and therefore improving population health in Romania by education.
“People with better education have more access to informational resources, which promotes health
and better health literacy, leading to being better equipped to understand, integrate and act upon this
information. In the same way, income provides the means to purchase health care, and to have access to
better nutrition, housing or educational opportunities.” (Oprea, 2010, p. 84).
The analyze of data obtained by pedagogical observation, debates, discussions, the study of
scientific bibliography has demonstrated that education for health food materializes professional
education of students from food faculties and based on sciences like “Biological Sciences”, i.e.
“Microbiology”, “Natural Sciences” i.e. “Biochemistry” and on knowledge of professor in “Educational
Sciences” and “Psychology”, that the education for health food correlates with Romanian traditions and
Didactical methodologies have been developed on practical-heuristic methods, i.e. laboratory
experiments, laboratory practical work, observations, but and interactive-heuristic methods, i.e.
discussions, debates, being identified numerous examples of education for health food, the scientific
objectives being met.
Modern teaching in learning process of biological and natural disciplines concentrates on the
student, making them interactive subjects, co-participant and co-authors in their own training, students
being attracted to the heuristic approach and interactive by discussions, debates, focusing on fundamental
concepts, for example, the concept of “bread”, the results obtained by students togheter professor
reflecting the training of their for profession correlated with education for health food and with
intellectual education by education for science.
Health education, especially education for health food, professional education, intellectual
education by science, but other sides of education are needed and complementary, their variability being
in reaction at more complex situations in wich the people are put in contemporary society and in wich
they can solve by creating sustainable solutions based on science, very important for life being the
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