‘To keep out disease’
Preventative medicine
in English almanacs, astrology and popular medicine: 1550–1700
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When discussing the concept of preventative medicine, many texts used an analogy of the body being a fortress under perpetual threat from foreign enemies. This chapter examines the major components of the early modern model of 'healthy living' as they appeared in almanacs. It focuses on the Galenic non-naturals, which initially appear to concentrate on the physical, rather than mental or spiritual state. In the early modern period, the way to preserve health was by following a lifestyle based on the six non-naturals. They are 'ayre', 'meate and drinke', 'slepe and watch', 'mevying and rest', 'emptynesse and replettion' and 'affectations of the minde'. The medical relationship between diet and health in early modern England can be traced to Greek treatises by writers such as Diocles, Mnesitheus and Philotimus, with the original definition of 'diet' encompassing an entire lifestyle.

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