Hippocrates in his works makes extensive reference to the treatment of many diseases as well as to the factors that have contributed to their creation. Besides the impact of the environment on human health, it also refers to the diet that it considers as a key factor in maintaining health, but also in the use of diet as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of diseases. In his work “Dietary” he refers to the way of eating. He paid great attention to this branch of medicine and made dietetics into a remarkable therapeutic system. According to this, the dietary principles of every person should be regulated according to their age, work, each season and weather as well as each individual’s temperament in their own right.

The development of the body in young people - as quoted - is extremely fast and so the food that young people hire is consumed to increase their body size but also to maintain their body. While in older ages food is mainly consumed to maintain their body. This explains why young people do not tolerate strict and sudden diets. These diets should be given to older individuals when the body's nutritional needs are lower. The nutritional diet will be adjusted according to the work and general employment of the individual, as physical labour consumes bodily strength, and foods are replacing them. There should be a balance between physical effort and food consumption. If there is a deviation then a disorder occurs. That is, if a person does not work and moves very little then his food consumption should be to the equivalent of that and adjusted accordingly. If, on the contrary, he works a lot and does not consume the required amount of food, eventually illness arises.

Another important factor is the seasons and the weather conditions. During winter and the prevalence of cold according to Hippocrates, the food must be mainly cooked rather than watered with small quantities of vegetables and “pure wine” that is wine unmixed with water. Thermogenic and dried foods should also be used (in today’s terms pepper, cardamom, ginger). He also recommends intense physical exercise more work and hot baths. In the spring, food should be made more liquid with more soft foods and more vegetables, and more water added to the wine to make it more watered down. In the summer, soft foods, plenty of vegetables and fruits, plenty of water and the wine mixed with even more water. Finally, in the autumn, food should gradually become more solid and not watery in preparation for the beginning of winter and cold. Also, the diet should be adjusted according to the persons physical and mental condition and also taken into account the natural forces dominated by the body as there are some foods that are beneficial to some and not to others. (e.g. cheese or milk is not tolerated by many people while for others are beneficial). Hippocrates therefore first noticed that a nutrient taken by some people is beneficial, while others are harmful, and this is because each individual human being’s temperament is different.

Nutrition is therefore the most important factor that affects the person's physio psychic make-up. Too much food or not enough food causes harm and changes the body’s condition or as he said himself. “Many bad things are caused by overeating but also from not eating enough”.


 Evangelia Frangiadaki-Kouvatsou
Article in Hania News




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