Sailors' nourishment

This video was done by us.

Christopher Columbus had no idea how long would they be at sea. His calculations were bassed in his"best guess" view of the diameter of the Earth. Therefor getting suffivient food and water for the expected time was a key element in his first voyage.
The menu for Spanish seamen consisted of water, vinegar, wine, olive oil, molasses, cheese, honey, raisins, rice, garlic, almonds, sea biscuits (hardtack), dry legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, salted and barreled sardines, anchovies, dry salt cod and pickled or salted meats (beef and pork), salted flour.

Chestnuts contein a hight percentage of omege 3 . They were taken into the voyage.
Chestnuts contein a hight percentage of omege 3 . They were taken into the voyage.

The olive oil and olives were stored in earthenware jugs. The rest of the food was stored in wooden casks which could hold produce like meat preserved in brine, or dry goods. All were stored in the hold, the driest section of which was reserved for casks carrying dry provisions. A cooper (barrel maker) was responsible for keeping the casks tight. Problem was the casks with brine would leak, the casks with dry goods would let water in. It was easy to loose much of food and water.

The food was mainly boiled and served in a large communal wooden bowl. The sailors had no forks or spoons, but each sailor carried an all purpose knife, that he could use to cut large chunks. The only means of cooking was an open firebox called "Fogon." It had a back to screen it from the wind. Sand was spread on the floor of the box and a wood fire built on it.

A walnut and a walnut core having been removed from the outer pithy fruit. Walnuts are not true nuts.
A walnut and a walnut core having been removed from the outer pithy fruit. Walnuts are not true nuts.

Fish was served more often than meat. Meats were usually prepared in a stew with peas other legumes or rice and served with sea biscuits which were soaked in the soup or in water to make them edible. Sea biscuits would last at least a year if they were kept dry.
Both wine and water for drinking were stored in wooden barrels.

Sea biscuits

In each ship, during the days they fast, sailors used to receive fish, usually salt cod; vinegar; oil, six ounces of chickpea; bread and water as all the days and if there wasn't salt cod they received four ounces of chees.

Food storage in the ships' cargo

During the days that they didn´t pray they received meat insted of salt cod.

Appearance of scurvy

However sailors ate few vegetables and friuts during the long journey. Most of it run out during the first weeks of the voyage.
After this happens, scurvy began.It was a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C or ascorbic acid, which is necessary for the production of collagen in the human body. Scurvy is the Latin name for vitamin C.
Along with citrus, broccoli, spinach and blueberries are all good sources of ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is responsible for the formation of collagen, which is very important for the proper functioning of the connective tissues and greatly affects the quality of skin.In the area of ​​the mouth, teeth can become loose and may have some inflammation and bleeding gums. Hair and dry skin. Another important scurvy symptom is bleeding in the body of the muscles and joints such as knees and arms.

Dental symptoms of scurvy

This information is gathered to determine what treatments are most appropriate, including anti-inflammatory drugs, management of pain medications and physical therapy to build strength and joint flexibility.
Connective tissue disease symptoms may start very slowly and can be confused with other things.As its name suggests, these leaves are not a solid color and are usually bright green with white spots or white-point . These white spots fade when the plant is physically altered, only to reappear when it is calm again.Historically, this plant was used in the preparation of herbal remedies for scurvy and inflammation. Is still used in the production of herbal teas, and some regions are believed to have health benefits. Natives used different ways to cure scurvy by using herbes.

Scurvy symptoms

Scurvy symptoms appear after 3 months of sever lack of ascorbic acid( vitamin C). Clinical features develope as capilaries become very fragile.and dick become smaller.Below we explain most of the symptoms of scurvy, however you don't need to develop all of them if you have scurvy.
This drowing has been done by us.

Scurvy symptoms in adults

Fractures of the costochondral functions of the ribs.


Patechiae(small red or purple dots in the body)


  • Follicular hyperkeratosis( resemble goosebumps)


Ocalar hemorrhages



  • Sunken eyes

  • Weakness

  • Aches and pains

  • Insomnia

  • Poor/slow wound healing

  • Bleeding symptoms

  • Finger tip bleeding

  • Bruises

  • Internal bleeding

  • Bleeding from all mucous membranes

  • Dental symptoms

  • Bleeding gums

  • Swollen, spongy, purple gums

  • Psychological disturbances

  • Irritability

  • Deppression

  • Hysteria

  • Hypocondrie(severe anxiety over the possibility of having a disease).


  • Scurvy symptoms in children

  • Tender(painful swelling in the legs)

  • Fever

  • Diarrhoea

  • Vomiting