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GROSS! It's Actually Healthy to Eat Your Boogers

author image Vivian Manning-Schaffel
Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a journalist, essayist, senior copywriter and rabblerouser who lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. A contributing editor at Working Mother and Time Out New York Kids, her work has also been featured in US Weekly, CBS Watch!, Parents, Parenting, The New York Times and The New York Post.
GROSS! It's Actually Healthy to Eat Your Boogers
Your very own snot contains a “rich reservoir of good bacteria.” Photo Credit: Tatyana Gladskih/Adobe Stock

WARNING: What you are about to read isn’t just surprising, it’s also kind of disgusting. Scientists at a number of legit universities, including Harvard and MIT, have discovered that there are actual health benefits to eating your own boogers.

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Read more: 8 Myths About Hygiene That Are Totally Bogus

Research published in the American Society for Microbiology reveals that your very own snot contains a “rich reservoir of good bacteria,” helping the immune system to combat health conditions like stomach ulcers, HIV and respiratory infections. Believe it or not, boogers have also been found to be good for your teeth, because they keep bacteria from sticking to them.

Austrian lung specialist and professor Friedrich Bischinger, an author of the study, further underlines the merits of dining on your own partially solidified snot. “Eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system,” Bischinger tells The Telegraph.

Aside from all that good bacteria, just what is snot made of? An article in the Daily Mail explains that our own mucus is made of “water, proteins and dissolved salts.” It exists to keep the nasal passages wet, and we swallow as much as 1.5 quarts of it per day (or “enough to fill a kettle”).

If your mucus is clear, consider yourself healthy. If it’s white, you’re likely congested. If it’s yellow, it means you’ve probably got a pretty bad cold. And if it’s green, you might be fighting a sinus infection.

Regardless of its hue, snot is a repulsive necessity of life that keeps us healthy. “From an evolutionary perspective, we evolved under very dirty conditions and maybe this desire to keep our environment and our behaviors sterile isn’t actually working to our advantage,” study co-author Scott Napper, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan, explains to The Telegraph.

Napper suggests that "when you have an urge to pick your nose and eat it, you should just go with nature." In other words, don't stop yourself from picking that booger and putting it in your mouth.

But if you feel like this is the green light to mine your nostrils with abandon, you might want to slow your roll. Excessive nose picking can cause nasal infections, nose bleeds and pimples just inside the nostril opening, called vestibulitis, which is also rather revolting. But reasonable amounts of picking and booger eating is A-OK, according to the new research.

What’s next in the world of boogers? The researchers are now developing a synthetic mucus toothpaste and chewing gum to capitalize on the health benefits of snot.

Read more: Meet the Women Who Are Changing Health and Wellness

What Do YOU Think?

Do you eat your own boogers? Will you start now that you know the habit is good for your health? Let us know in the comments!

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