In Victorian Britain, poor rural areas had the best diet and health – and potatoes were part of it…

Image result for potatoes and meatIt seems counter-intuitive but in the 19th century, the poor were better off than the rich, health and diet wise. A new study found that these rural societies enjoyed a more traditional lifestyle, eating high-quality foods and were overall better fed than their richer, urban counterparts. We often talk about eating like “the good old days” and most of the time, that’s just us using rose-coloured glasses. This study shows that at least in some instances, doing things the good old way is truly rewarding. The study’s author, Dr. Peter Greaves, of the Leicester Cancer Research Centre, examined the impact of regional diets in Victorian Britain, comparing it to available health and mortality data. The diets of the poor consisted mostly of cheap foodstuffs such as potatoes, vegetables, whole grains, milk, and fish. All in all, not only did these rural communities have lower mortality rates, but they also had fewer deaths from pulmonary diseases, indicating that they were significantly better fed. “The rural diet was often better for the poor in more isolated areas because of payment in kind, notably in potatoes, grain, meat, milk or small patches of land to grow vegetables.” More