Fatty Fare a Fave for 'Otzi the Iceman'
THURSDAY, July 12, 2018 -- Otzi the Iceman had a deep love for high-fat foods, say researchers who analyzed the ancient man's last meal.
The oldest naturally preserved ice mummy was discovered in the Eastern Italian Alps in 1991.
Researchers said their analysis of Otzi's stomach contents offer important clues about the eating habits of people in Europe going back more than 5,000 years, and also reveal clues about their food preparation.
Otzi's last meal showed a "remarkably high proportion of fat in his diet, supplemented with wild meat from ibex and red deer, cereals from einkorn, and with traces of toxic bracken [ferns]," said researcher Frank Maixner. He's with the Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy.
The study was published July 12 in the journal Current Biology.
The high-fat diet was unexpected, but "totally makes sense" due to the extreme environment in which Otzi lived, according to the researchers.
"The high and cold environment is particularly challenging for the human physiology and requires optimal nutrient supply to avoid rapid starvation and energy loss," Albert Zink, also from Eurac Research Institute, said in a journal news release.
"The Iceman seemed to have been fully aware that fat represents an excellent energy source," Zink added.
The wild meat consumed by Otzi was eaten fresh or perhaps dried. The presence of toxic bracken particles could be due to Otzi taking bracken as a way to treat intestinal problems caused by parasites, or by using the leaves to wrap food.
The researchers also discovered traces of Otzi's original digestive bacterial community and plan to try to reconstruct it.
© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 2018
Read this next
TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2020 -- About 30 million U.S. adults live with osteoarthritis and the pain and stiffness it causes, a new survey finds. And nearly one-third of these people...
MONDAY, Oct. 19, 2020 -- Parents are usually pleased when their newborn seems big and strong, but new research suggests that large babies may be at higher risk for the heart...
FRIDAY, Oct. 16, 2020 -- Just like people, dogs' personalities change as they age, a new European study suggests. "Even though dog personality is a highly popular topic in the...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
- Monthly Update Archive
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.