15

What made you think they know about the protein content? Evolutionary pressures would have drove humans to develop instincts for foods that contain the nutrition we need to survive (i.e., cravings). There is also a common human preference for diversity. Those factors alone would have pushed early civilisation into cultivating multiple crops. Additionally, ...


12

In his 1827 home medical group, the doctor Thomas J. Graham wrote that: It is a common practice among Europeans in sultry climes to eat plentifully of either fresh or salt meat, at breakfast, tiffin, and dinner; this practice is followed day after day, and my only surprise is, that such a dangerous course of living does not produce a much greater ...


11

The oldest human could still live to be over 100 just as they do today. This was of course much rarer. Here's some data from the University of Texas on the matter. Infant Mortality by that page was 31.9% considerably worse than even the worst of the world 60 years ago. This was skewed by infanticide and such.


9

Looking into the other answers, it seems that weather and diet were closely linked in the minds of 19th century writers. Thomas Graham (see Semaphore's answer) may have been important in disseminating the belief that vegetables were most beneficial in hot climates, as this begins showing up elsewhere by the end of the century. For example, in an 1864 trial ...


9

So officially, would carry wheat and barley but they ate whatever they could find, Armies back then were principally fed with wheat, the soldiers would have likely ate plain whole wheat bread loaves. They would supplement this with whatever they could forage, wild animals, fruits, vegetables etc. Answers.com assessment that ancient soldiers ...


8

For the question of lead pipes, the 2014 paper Lead in ancient Rome’s city waters, by Hugo Delile et al, probably contains more than enough detail to answer the question. The authors concluded that: Lead pollution of “tap water” in Roman times is clearly measurable, but unlikely to have been truly harmful. But piped water was by no means the only ...


8

What is known: Buckwheat's yield strongly depends on pollination by insects. Although it is not universally applicable, in eastern North America, honey bee seems to be the main and the most effective pollinator of buckwheat. honey bee was not native to Americas, being first bought there from Europe in early 1600s Sadly, I have no direct historical research ...


7

Since the question specifies the Age-of-Sail, we're concerned with the period between 1650 and 1850. The link between nutrition and health on long voyages was only really established in the last half century of that period. So the idea of cultivating fresh vegetables and fruit for the voyage would not have been an obvious one for most of the Age-of-Sail. ...


6

Hunter-Gathers Absolutely all hunter-gatherers live "hand-to-mouth", malnutrition is common, and starvation is not just a "risk" - it is a permanent threat. This should be obvious because they cannot effectively store excess food and thus are subject to the standard predator–prey model: plenty of food --> population expansion --> depletion of food ...


5

The statistical illustration published by the BBC of Hatton's data is misleading, The Economist is different: The original paper is Timothy J. Hatton: "How have Europeans grown so tall?", Oxford Economic Papers, Volume 66, Issue 2, 1 April 2014, Pages 349–372. Increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the average health of ...


4

Until India became independent, the question wasn't so much whether the diet was balanced than it was whether there was enough food to not starve. There have been a few famine threats since, but thankfully nothing like the 1943 Bengal famine, which resulted in an estimated 2.1-3 million deaths from starvation or malnutrition. As to the evolution of the diet ...


4

If gardens were common on ships of the age of sail, then we would expect them to appear on ship's plans and on ship's models (which were manufactured as a type of blueprint prior to the ship's construction). I've never seen a ship's plan or model that featured one, which either suggests that they weren't common or that only atypical ships' plans and models ...


3

I am not sure if it is the first recognition of healthiness but about the end of age of discoveries, sailors started to realize if they bring sour cabbage with them, they can prevent various diseases. Or better to say some diseases are just don't show up on their ship for the long trip. In those times they knew nothing about Vitamin C, and most of diseases ...


3

Summary: we do have evolutionary very old taste receptors that detect proteins, and we probably have rather well regulated protein intake. Knowing that this is protein is not necessary to achieve this. OTOH, while grains + pulses are good protein sources, of course meat, fish, eggs and later on milk are even better sources of protein (higher protein content ...


3

I'm not exactly sure how to answer this question because there seems to be a hundred factors involved, including the definition of healthy. Healthy may mean: to survive certain extinction events; to be able to pass on the genes to the next generation (to reproduce); to survive a long time; to be able to successfully compete with conspecifics; etc etc. Then ...


3

an average Indian diet, especially in the rural parts of India generally consists of more carbohydrate and less protein or other nutrients. From a larger historical perspective, this is exactly what's "normal". In traditional societies, starches have dominated while protein has been relatively scarce. As Denis de Bernardy's answer shows, the Indian diet ...


2

I remember a news report on the radio, decades ago (so I can't provide a source, sorry). Parents went on a long holiday trip and gave their 16 to 18 year old children the house keys, a phone number for emergencies, and money for groceries etc. The children decided to spend that money on pasta and rock records -- most of the money went to records. ...


2

From a New York Times review (Don't Blame Columbus for All the Indians' Ills) of the book The Backbone of History: Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere: What had not been clearly recognized until now, though, is that the general health of Native Americans had apparently been deteriorating for centuries before 1492. ... More than 12,500 skeletons ...


2

A detail worth considering is that high-protein pulse crops also happen to be nitrogen-fixing. In other words, higher protein crops would have also improved the quality of the soil. Growing them together with cereals would have noticeably increased productivity, even if the nutritional benefits were less obvious.


2

Chinese junks allegedly sometimes grew plants aboard that may have provided part of the diet of their crews. Avoiding the Die straits: An Inquiry into Food Provisioning and Scurvy in the Maritime and Military History of China and wider East Asia Mathieu Torck, Pages 132-134, 146, 150 https://books.google.com/books?id=2Dzl-cIIjxYC&pg=PA132&lpg=...


1

In the past there was a great diversity of opinions about what constituted a good diet and you can certainly find examples of people who deprecated, for example, vegetables. However, this was not typical. Overall, the most common recommendations were to eat a variety of food, and to eat less food. Many physicians going forward from Galen recommended the ...


1

I conjecture that this was an empirical result deduced from experience with long distance sea voyages. Scurvy was a real disaster in many long expeditions. Seaman began the dietary experiments to fight scurvy in 18-th century (or maybe earlier, I just do not know the earlier records). At first they tried sauerkraut. The lemon juice was introduced to the ...


1

The one fact I know of regarding carbohydrates and diet is that they are, indisputably, worse for the teeth of homo-sapiens. Paleontologists can tell the teeth of (neolithic) agricultural people apart from those of hunter-gatherers at a glance, due to how much worse their teeth are. The fact that the Iceman suffered from tooth decay is attributable to ...


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