Ancient Greek docters prescribed the Mediterranean diet

The Greek physician Hippocrates (~460-370 BC) reputed said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." However history cannot attribute that quote to him[1].

Experts at the University of Exeter studied texts of ancient Greek doctors and found that they believed rich flavours could improve the food’s nutritional potency, while one of them, Galen of Pergamon (129-~216AD ), prescribed food recipes containing garlic and onions to his patients[2]. Galen saw nutrition as an essential part of the medical art, along with pharmacology and surgery.”
As Professor John Wilkins explained, "The ancient diet resembled the modern Mediterranean diet but obviously (still) without oranges and lemons from China and tomatoes from South America. The diet is largely based on regional plants, which the doctors generally preferred over imported luxuries."

Galen’s writings included recipes for pancakes and put under discussion the types of bread and cakes that should be eaten. The physician also warned of the dangers of milk, which, according to him, contains whey and solids that may block the narrow channels in the liver in susceptible individuals. This suggests he already understood the effects of lactose intolerance. His recipes included simple cooking techniques, designed to bring out the flavour of basic ingredients and he even wrote about how snails should be boiled twice to reduce their laxative properties. Galen even recommended spices such as pepper, ginger and cinnamon to his patients, while other doctors recommended fruits and vegetables.

Although each country around the Mediterranean presents its own food choices and traditions, recipes from each culture present a substantial overlap, therefore distinctive cuisines share nutritional attributes and ingredients.

[1] Diana Cardenas: Let not thy food be confused with thy medicine: The Hippocratic misquotation in e-SPEN Journal - 2013. See here.
[2] John Wilkins: Good food and bad: Nutritional and pleasurable eating in ancient Greece in Journal of Ethnopharmacology - 2015

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