Every time you make popcorn and snuggle up to watch Johnny Depp perpetrate his crazy on-screen antics as Jack Sparrow, you’re enjoying a little glimpse of the mariner’s life. Sure, this particular glimpse is rife with myth, legend, ghosts and sailor lore, but it is nonetheless a window into the seafaring way.
Hardship abounded at sea. Danger lurked around every corner, from infected cuts and scrapes to falls from rigging and overturned ships. While you didn’t have to worry about Davy Jones or krakens, many sailors didn’t even swim, making the watery depths particular hazardous. (You’d think swimming abilities would be a requirement … but no.)
At sea, disease was one of the biggest risks: cholera, malaria, syphilis. The most famous sailor disease of all? Scurvy, of course.
How the Limeys Got Their Name
The term “limey” is not considered politically correct – nor was it back in the 1850s when people first invented the appellation – but is nevertheless strongly rooted in fact. How did the limeys get their name? Well, sailors in the British Navy spent long months on open waters, during which vitamin C deficiency was a strong danger. It was hard to stock up on new goods, and even when they came into port, sailors couldn’t always get what they needed. So they carried limes with them. Lots of limes.
Without them, things got bad. Vitamin C deficiency, when it goes too far, has a much more poetic name. Chances are you already know it: scurvy.
Scurvy has many unpleasant symptoms, according to the Australia Department of Health & Human Services. (1) In the early days, they’re limited to fatigue, joint pain and digestive troubles. Later on things get really unpleasant, with bleeding gums, loose teeth, bulging eyes and broken hair. Left untreated long enough, and even scars that were previously healed can open up.
No, thank you.
Beat Scurvy with Color
Of course, chances are you’re in no danger of vitamin C deficiency. You have access to more than salted meat and dry beans; you can head to the store and buy yourself a nice orange or two to juice up, some red bell peppers, strawberries or grapefruit.
Hey, are you seeing a theme here? Produce can be grouped by color. Fruits and veggies in the red-orange color group have high levels of vitamin C, and can therefore prevent you from getting scurvy or suffering more mild forms of vitamin C deficiency.
An even better way to beat the danger of disease, you seadog, you? Make sure your immune system is always in topnotch condition. Raw turmeric is a good start. Shown to be incredibly effective at warding off cancer and metabolic conditions (heart disease, stroke, diabetes), turmeric is an excellent choice for strengthening your immunity and staying disease-free.
Pomegranate is also indicated as an antibacterial agent, making it a good choice for keeping bad bacteria out of your body. Some studies show it may even prove effective against Staph infections that are resistant to multiple types of pharmaceutical. (2) Now, sailor or not, that’s a good thing to have on hand.
Guess what? You can find both as raw turmeric and bacteria-fighting pomegranate in our Pomegranates of the Caribbean juice shot, not to mention scurvy-fighting citrus, so there’s no need to juice your own. Next time you feel a little peaked – or are getting ready for a long sea voyage – it’s a good idea to stock up on Pulp Story shots to keep yourself healthy, wealthy and wise for life.
(1) Victoria State Government Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). Scurvy. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/scurvy.
(2) Betanzos-Cabrera, G., et al. (2015, May). Antibacterial activity of fresh pomegranate juice against clinical strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis. Food & Nutrition Research, 9. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v59.27620