« Let food be your medicine! »

Considered as the greatest physician of antiquity, Hippocrates contributed to make medicine a science based on systematic clinical observation. According to his theory, disease is caused by alterations in the body fluids (blood, lymph, yellow bile, black bile). These moods correspond to the four elements that determine the four basic temperaments: Fire (bilious), earth (melancholic), water (phlegmatic), air (blood). A balance between these mutually antagonistic elements is essential for the person to be healthy. Any imbalance causes minor sudden mood changes; any major imbalance threatens the health of the subject. This theory of the balance is currently defended by modern medicine. Indeed, today the focus is on a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, and exercise. Food plays an important role in disease prevention. Junk food is one of the major risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Then, according to Hippocrates, we should eat apples to increase our chances of staying healthy. However, apple has not very good reputation. In Genesis, because they have chewed the « forbidden fruit », Adam and Eve were cast out of paradise ; the Trojan War was declared because of the « golden apple of discord »; Snow White and Alan Turing (the inventor of computer science) were poisoned by an apple dipped in cyanide….

This painting shows a telescoping against religion and philosophy. Eve offers an apple to Hippocrates. Religion attempts to influence philosophy. However, there is not necessarily a contradiction between these two conceptions of the universe. Cardinal Barbieri, to support the theses of Galilee, said that Church should say how to go to heaven, not how heaven was made.


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