Sure, they had to worry about things like plague and pestilence, but aside from that – people in medieval times lived healthier lifestyles than we do! According to BBC News, a new study finds that their low-fat, vegetable-rich diet, washed down by WEAK ale, was much better for the heart than today's starchy, processed foods. Yes, they typically ate twice as much as we do today – roughly 4,000 calories a day. According to general practitioner Dr. Roger Henderson, they burned off those calories and then some by logging about 12 hours of labor each day. Henderson also says medieval meals were probably even healthier than the popular “Mediterranean” diet enjoyed by the Romans.
The average medieval peasant would’ve eaten nearly two loaves of whole grain bread each day, and 8oz of meat or fish - the size of an average steak. This was in addition to liberal quantities of vegetables, including beans, turnips and parsnips. All of this was washed down by three pints of weak ale. Also, there was little refined sugar in their food. None of the cookies, cakes and donuts we indulge in today. Henderson says if you put this together with the incredible work load, medieval folks had a much lower risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes than we do.
Today, the average person consumes 2,500 calories, eats a lot more fat than recommended, and gets less than 20 minutes of exercise each day. Still, Henderson says people today do have one major advantage over our ancestors when it comes to staying alive – medical help! If you got to age 30 in medieval times, you were doing well. Live past 40 and you were considered OLD. Even though we have better access to medicine, hence the longer lives, we could still learn a thing or two from our ancestors. Get plenty of exercise, eat more vegetables, enjoy alcohol in moderation, and cut out the refined sugar. You just might live to see your 100th birthday!