Honey – a Food for Life

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DIET (δίαιτα) in the ancient Greek language meant ‘way of life’ encompassing food, exercise, massage, baths and other aspects of everyday life activities.

It has been known since Ancient times that food, exercise and lifestyle in general, plus the external environment in which people live, have a definite influence on their health. 

 Hippocrates changed the diet of his patients to help them get better. He advocated a number of foods, but he believed that honey and wine are the two most important foods for health.

A story found in a famous ancient book, the ‘Deipnosophists’ (translated as the ‘Banquet of the Philosophers’) and written by Athenaus in the early 3rd century AD, gives us an idea of the nourishing power of honey.

According to it, Democritus of Abdera who was often called the ‘Laughing Philosopher’, was coming to the end of his life, at the great age of 104. His food intake had gradually reduced and he was expected to die. It was, however, the time of the important Thesmophorian festival and his centenarian sister who looked after him at his home, asked him not to die during the festivities so that she could take part in them. Wanting to grant her request, he asked for a pot of honey to be brought to him and was kept alive by inhaling the fumes of it, for three days. When the festival finished, the pot of honey was taken away and he passed away without any suffering.