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Eskimos Nutritional Knowledge and Marvelous Physique

Eskimos Nutritional Knowledge On Their Native Foods

Eskimos of Alaska made liberal use of organs and tissues. They knew which organs and tissues contained nutrients that kept them healthy. Those who had access to the sea knew that certain layers of the skin of a whale species was rich in Vitamin C.

Iím sure they didnít know one vitamin or mineral from another, but they knew what animal and plant sources they needed for optimal health.

It is noteworthy that primitive peoples in Alaska and other parts of the world existed for thousands of years before the white man began to change eating habits world wide from 1900 to 1920s.

In spite of the absence of plant foods, dairy foods and eggs, Eskimos were able to provide for their dietary needs with land animals or fish from the sea supplemented with stored greens, plants and berries from the sea.

An important resource was seal oil, which Dr. Price determined was the richest source of Vitamin A he had seen.

Physique of The Eskimo On His Native Foods

Eskimos were reported able to carry 100 lbs in each hand and 100 lbs in their teeth for considerable distances. Living on their native foods they had no carious teeth, or at most, only 0.1 to 0.3% had ever been attacked by dental caries.

Some of the fish was dried and blowing sand stuck to the moist fish. Eating this food accounted for wearing of the teeth but no dental pulp was exposed. Secondary dentin protected the worn surfaces of the teeth.

The teeth of women were worn down because of chewing and tanning hides, preparations for the clothing they needed for the harsh winters.

Some experienced broken teeth, but there were no open pulp chambers, again because secondary dentin protected their teeth.

Plight of the Eskimo on Imported Foods

But when Eskimo adults left their native diets and took up the foodstuffs of the white man, they, and their children, paid a price. Tooth decay became rampant.

And with no dentists in northern Alaska the excruciating pain could be severe and long lasting.

Photographs and statistics reported in Dr Priceí book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration were obtained in the summer of 1933. Pictures included beautiful sets of teeth owned by those living on their native foods.

Also presented were photographs of mouths with missing teeth and crowded misplaced teeth from those who were living on the white man's sugary foods, vegetable oils, and white flour products.

Dr. Price gave statistics of carious teeth in many Eskimo communities. Those who lived on their native foods usually had no tooth decay.

Adults on imported foods usually presented with up to 12% tooth decay, while their children suffered with as much as 30-35% carious teeth. Some individuals had decay in 64% of their teeth.

In addition the Eskimos on store grub were susceptible to tuberculosis which was usually fatal. Susceptibility to tuberculosis and other diseases had reduced the average age of Eskimos to only 20 years.

Because of the physical degeneration of the Eskimo on the white man's foods, it was feared the Eskimo would be doomed to extinction in a few years unless help on several fronts were available.

Dr. Price noted the degeneration he saw in modernized primitive peoples were the same problems he observed in his dental practice in the states.

Eskimos on their local foods, and meat eating African tribes, had superior resistance to dental decay.


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