The Craziest Diet Trends from Ancient History

Venetian Noble Luigi Cornaro Invented an “Immortality Diet” Luigi Cornaro was a Venetian nobleman who lived in the 16th century and is famous for his unusual… Alexander Gabriel - April 26, 2023

Venetian Noble Luigi Cornaro Invented an “Immortality Diet”

Luigi Cornaro was a Venetian nobleman who lived in the 16th century and is famous for his unusual approach to dieting. He was known for his excessive lifestyle in his youth, but after experiencing a serious illness in his 40s, he turned to a strict diet regimen in order to maintain his health. Cornaro limited himself to just 12 ounces of solid food and 14 ounces of wine per day.

He believed this was the optimal amount for his body. Cornaro also followed a specific schedule for his meals and slept for only four hours each night. His methods were highly regarded at the time and became known as the “Cornaro diet.” Cornaro lived to the age of 98 and remained healthy throughout his long life. It is said he exaggerated his age to add legitimacy to his diet.

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Talented Herbalist and Chinese Emperor Wrote a Book on Herbal Medicine

Shennong, also known as the “Divine Farmer,” was a legendary Chinese emperor who lived over 5,000 years ago and is credited with inventing agriculture and traditional Chinese medicine. He was said to have a unique diet, consisting of only herbs and plants. According to legend, Shennong would taste different herbs and plants to determine their medicinal properties, and would consume only those that were beneficial for his health. His diet was a reflection of his knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, and his belief in the healing power of nature. Furthermore, Shennong’s legacy lives on in traditional Chinese medicine, where his contributions to the field are still celebrated today.


Humoral Theory Was Used for Centuries to Create Specialized Diets

Hippocrates, often referred to as the father of Western medicine, developed the humoral theory in ancient Greece. According to this theory, the human body is composed of four humors – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. These must be kept in balance in order to maintain good health. Each humor is associated with a different element and personality type. Blood is associated with air and a sanguine personality, phlegm with water and a phlegmatic personality, yellow bile with fire and a choleric personality, and black bile with earth and a melancholic personality.

Imbalances in these humors were thought to lead to disease, and treatment involved restoring balance through diet, exercise, and sometimes bloodletting. While the humoral theory may seem outdated by modern medical standards, it had a significant impact on the development of medicine and the understanding of the human body in ancient times.


The Roman Black Banquet Featured Jellyfish

The ancient Romans were known for their extravagant feasts, and one of the most unusual was the infamous “black banquet” hosted by Emperor Vitellius in the 1st century AD. This banquet was characterized by its strange and exotic dishes, including jellyfish, roast ostrich, and flamingo tongue. The color black was also a dominant theme, with many dishes being colored with squid ink or blackened with spices. The banquet was seen as a sign of excess and decadence, and was heavily criticized by the Roman elite. Despite this, it became a symbol of the extravagance and opulence of the Roman Empire.


Fermented Foods Were an Integral Part of Ancient Korean Diets

The Korean diet also included a variety of fermented foods, such as kimchi, which is made from cabbage and spicy chili peppers. Other fermented dishes included soybean paste, soy sauce, and rice wine. Fermented foods have been shown to have numerous health benefits. They are rich in beneficial bacteria and can improve digestion, boost the immune system, and even reduce the risk of certain diseases. The Korean diet was also influenced by Confucianism, which emphasized the importance of moderation and balance in all aspects of life, including diet. The Korean diet was based on the principles of yin and yang. This principle focused on balancing the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.