Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/241

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229
WHY GROW OLD?

stitutional bank before the age of twenty to such an extent that the account can never be placed on the right side on this side the grave.

If I were asked what factors would conduce to green old age, and the ability to enjoy life to past the eighties, I should say it was a matter of plenty of good food, fresh air, and exercise in early life. But, alas! how few people take the trouble to consider for one moment what food would be most suitable for their particular requirements, or the requirements of their children, at a time when this is all-important! We can not put old heads on young shoulders, but we can suggest to those who have young lives in their charge that they have a serious trust, and what their duty is in this respect.

We know that meat and bread furnish all that is necessary to sustain life, but, of course, we do not live on meat and bread alone. The ordinary living is made up of thousands of different articles in daily use. Still, there are certain rules that particularly apply in this way, that certain constitutions require a larger proportion of one particular class of food than other constitutions, and the man who does a large amount of physical labor requires a different mode of dieting from one who is sedentary. It would be impossible to enter into a subject of this kind at length in a short article. Diet, however, undoubtedly has much to do with long life, and this more especially applies in its application to the particular calling of each individual. The engine of an express train is coaled differently from that of a slow one. A race-horse is fed and exercised differently from a cart-horse, etc.

A man brought up in an active occupation that entails a certain amount of muscular exercise can take an amount of food that a man of sedentary habits would not stand, and therefore a certain difference should be made in the composition of the diet taken by the two. Food is simply fuel, and in a general way answers the same purpose.

As Dr. B. W. Richardson, in his interesting work, Diseases of Modern Life, observes: "The English middle class, who may be exhibited as types of comfortable people, moderately provided for, take on an average twelve ounces of mixed solid food for breakfast, twelve ounces for midday meal, or luncheon, and from twenty to thirty ounces for their late modern dinner or ancient supper. A total of from forty-five to fifty ounces of solid sustenance is in fact taken, to which is added from fifty to sixty ounces of fluid in the way of tea, coffee, water, beer, wine. This excess is at least double the quantity required for the sustainment of their mental and bodily labor."

He then gives a good illustration of this, and says: "I was once consulted in respect to the symptoms with which the idle in-