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History of nutrition – food, then and now

Today we have much higher expectations of our food than previous generations. Food should not only fill, but look appetizing, have a pleasant smell and taste. At the same time we want to do good for our health. Last but not least, food should be nutritious, easy to prepare and affordable. It looks like today, of course, but it was not always. In the Stone Age and even when the first farmers, there was only a very limited range of foods. And yet in the 15th century were mainly cabbage, milk, cereal and watery soup with lard or meat on the menu. Today you will learn about the history of nutrition. Here you can read what people ate before, and that caused a change in the menu.nutrition_history

Hunter-gatherers in the Stone Age

In the early days, people fed for a long time in Europe mainly of crude plant parts, wild vegetables and fruits. This could be a reason that our bodies do not, as in other mammals, can produce vitamin C themselves. Because the fruit was plentiful vitamin C, so the ability to produce the vitamin was not necessary and was perhaps simply lost.

Before about 1.5 million years ago, people began to hunt. This enriched larger quantities of meat from this meager food supply. Cereals and dairy products were not yet known at this time; these were added only when people evolved into sedentary farmers.

The first farmers ate somewhat one-sided

Despite the cultivation of cereals and the development of dairy products the diet of the first farmers was less versatile than those of hunter-gatherers. As a staple food served bread, which was baked from different types of grain. They handed it on almost any food and poor, it was the main ingredient meal. Food cooked mainly together in a pot. The farmers had not eaten all at once, but could also make food for winter or times of need durable. But the food was dried, smoked or salted. To drink there was next to water mainly wine which was, however, people and monks mainly superiors reserved. Even beer has been brewed. The big feast and banquets, which seem to be typical of the Middle Ages, however, could afford only knights and nobles.

Explorers bring new foods

In the 15th century, began the Age of Discovery. European sailors found the sea route to India and America and brought many plants grown there to Europe. Including the potato, but initially found here only as an ornamental use. But it turned out that potatoes are very nutritious and can be grown on poor soils. This eventually led to increased crop yields and pushed the bread in its value as a staple food. Even tomatoes, occupied an important part of the diet. Increasing popularity also enjoyed beverages such as cocoa and tobacco, as well as sugar, coffee and citrus.

Hunger and new technologies are shaping the modern age

In the 18th century, the time of industrialization, the population skyrocketed. At the same time the resources were scarce and the cost of living rose sharply. Meat was rarely eaten, hunger spread. To feed the population, increased cultivation of crops. Therefore, corn, rice and potatoes occupy a significant place on the menu next to the bread.

New technological developments altered the production of food in the 19th century. Now you can pack was sealed food to cool it and freeze. The invention of the steam engine made it possible for the first time by railway transport food in large quantities. However, the first half of the 20th century was marked by two world wars and thus, hunger and lack of food.

The modern nutrition: food in abundance

Nowadays, there are in Europe significantly more food than we need. The issue of hunger and malnutrition in this part of the world more effectively dead. Because excess eating, we end up fighting with obesity and other diseases of our lifestyle. Modern food industry provides us with a variety of food for every need. However, it is usually treated more intensively than before. According to currently available preservation and transport of food can be transported over long distances and often fit within a year. In addition, we learn by increasing mobility and new communication technologies as savor dishes from other countries. Traditional eating habits are changing more and more. This diversity gives us today a lot of joy and pleasure.

Changes in nutrient uptake

Foods Grease Sugar Strength Protein Roughage (g/day)
Hunter/Gatherer 15 – 20 0 50 – 70 15 – 20 40
Peasantry 10 -15 5 60 – 75 10 -15 90
Today 40+ 20 25 – 30 12 20

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