Here's to a Healthier New Year

Here's a few of my favorite excerpts from this blog. Click the link above to see all 10!

6. Refusing to Share

Odds are, if you and a pair of friends want to share an oversized dessert at your favorite restaurant, you’ll ask for three spoons with the dish. You might assume using separate spoons is healthier than sharing. Not necessarily, say researchers. Encouraging the spread of healthy bacteria in our guts is something we need to do more of, the researchers say. Sharing saliva among healthy friends and family members—and thus introducing their microbes into your own microbiome—may actually help your immune system. Not only does sharing cut down on calories, then, but it also builds up the body’s supply of good bugs. It’s important to note, though, that you really don’t want to share food or drinks with people who are actively sick. That’s especially true of drinks, Sunny Jung of Virginia Tech explained to Popular Science. No matter how careful you may be, there’s always some level of backwash left in the cup after a sip. Yuck.

5. Over-Reliance on the Fridge

It goes without saying that some foods (such as meat) need to be refrigerated. But according to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, purposefully allowing other foods like fruits and vegetables to be exposed to warm air (thereby slightly fermenting them) can actually cultivate your own homemade and delicious probiotics! Long before the invention of refrigeration (and the concept of hygiene), milk, bread starter, and vegetables were often fermented before eating. The researchers found that eating slightly fermented foods actually boosts your immune system and increases the nutrient content of the food. Who doesn’t love sourdough?

4. Skipping the Dirt

According to researchers at Cornell University, a little dirt in your diet is a good thing. Maybe you shouldn’t wash your garden vegetables so scrupulously.They say that geophagy, or the consumption of soil, has existed in humans for millennia—and it may actually help protect the stomach against pathogens, toxins, and parasites. The data shows that geophagy shows up most commonly in women in the early stages of pregnancy and in pre-adolescent children. Both categories of people are especially sensitive to parasites and pathogens, according to the study’s authors. A little dirt goes a long way.