By Dr. Royal Lee
Summary: The word hydrophilic means water loving, and in this 1958 article, Dr. Royal Lee discusses the digestive benefits of substances known as hydrophilic colloids, which are found in foods such as apples and okra but also in nonnutritive materials such as clay. In the gastrointestinal tract, these compounds draw up liquid, creating bulk that initiates peristalsis and fosters bowel regularity. At the same time, they also soak up irritants, making hydrophilic colloids uniquely effective against both diarrhea and constipation. The modern use of nonnutritive hydrophilic colloids such as kaolin and bentonite to ameliorate digestive woes affirms the wisdom of ancestral cultures that used similar clays to combat dysentery and food infections, says Dr. Lee, a claim he supports with the following remarkable quote by Dr. Weston A. Price, from Price’s his classic 1939 text on traditional human diets and health, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: “Among the groups (natives) in the Andes, Central Africa, and Australia…each knapsack contained a ball of clay, a little of which was dissolved in water. Into this they dipped their morsel of food while eating. Their explanation was to prevent ‘sick stomach’.” While modern science has elucidated much when it comes to food and health, it is important to remember that eons of human trial and error have much to teach us about nutrition as well. From Let’s Live magazine, 1958.