Jacobs Journal of Food and Nutrition

Towards a History of Prophylaxis and Dietetics against Cancer, Some Examples from Renaissance to Enlightenment

Published on: 2019-07-05


Establishing a parallel between cancer and elephantiasis, Galen posits a link between the latter and the diet and the heat of the country. In Alexandria, many people are suffering from that disease because they eat a lot of porridge made of groats, lentils, snails and salted fish. But it is the contrary in Germany and elephantiasis almost never appears among the Scythians who drink a lot of milk. Galen’s reader may think that diet determines in the same way the occurrence of cancer as it generates a thick and melancholic humour.


Elephantiasis; Milk; Hippocrates; Diet; Laxatives