Dietary and life style advise , ancient and modern

Interesting and relevant dietary advise is available from the work of Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues based at the University of Cambridge and the MRC Unit.
They questioned 20,000 healthy adults aged 45-79 about their life styles and measured their blood vitamin C concentration as a measure of fruit and vegetable intake.
They gave values between 0 and 4 for a series of healthy behaviours and then followed the participants for a period of time and recorded their death ( 0 being absence of a healthy behaviour, 4 being good )
People with low scores were much more liable to die of coronary heart disease than those with high scores. Low scorers were also liable to die 14 years earlier than those with high scores.
In order of impact the life style benefits in order best to least benefit, albeit still of benefit was
Not smoking
Eating fruit and vegetable
Moderate drinking and exercise.
It has long been known that smoking can educe life expectation by 11 years on its own
This was reported by Reuters and published in PLoS medicine.
In Melvin Bragg’s BBC Newsletter 20th December he quotes Noga Arikha who has written a book
Passions and Tempers: a history of the humours, an ancient belief in medicine.

Each humour traditionally had specific characteristics, for instance:
Choler, or Yellow Bile
Predominant in those endowed with a choleric temperament
element: fire
qualities: hot and dry .
colour: yellow
taste: bitter .
season: summer
time of day: midday .
body organ: spleen .
period of life: youth .
signs: Virgo, Leo, Cancer .
planet: Mars
In a balanced person, the predominance of choler ensured a reactive and quick-tempered character. A choleric was typically able to make decisions well and fast, and preferred action over contemplation. But a surplus of choler could become “burned” and eventually turn into melancholy (melan=black, choler=bile, in Greek). Character could also become acrid and negative; reactivity might then be directed at the wrong objects. This sort of choleric could get angry easily and have episodes of uncontrolled, potentially dangerous rage. As Brutus exclaimed to Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (IV, 3): “Must I give way and room to your rash choler? Shall I be frightened when a madman stares?
She does the same for melancholy and for blood and for phlegm.
This demonstrates that you had a life system through the four humours, giving your place in the universe, on the planet and inside your own skin.
Standard remedies for melancholia and other complaints included playing soothing music, taking baths, drinking broths and herbal infusions, applying leeches, and taking potions and pills – made with everything from mint and saffron to turpentine. Some of the remedies worked, others didn’t and some had the opposite effect and ended up killing the patient.”

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Martin Eastwood
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