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Is picking your nose and eating it good for you?

Rachel Hosie
Wednesday 26 April 2017 10:03 BST
(Getty Images)

* Update: This story, reported by numerous news outlets, has been the subject of an article by Lead Stories, which found it to be inaccurate. The study referred (and linked) to in paragraph 3 does not make any explicit mention of eating snot, let alone recommend the consumption of bogies picked from the nose in order to defend against respiratory infection, stomach ulcers or HIV, among other health benefits. The quote from Professor Bischinger pre-dates the study by a decade and appears not to relate to any specific research. We are glad to update the matter. 3/5/19

Most people would agree that picking your nose is frowned upon. And eating the contents is, well, just a bit gross.

But nose-picking is not a rare thing to see, particularly by children - we either grow out of our nose-picking ways by adulthood or simply do it in private (on most occasions).

According to a study, however, we should in fact be eating our bogies and encouraging our kids to do the same.

The reason is that bogies actually have an array of health benefits - and they could be particularly important for growing children.

The study found that snot contains salivary mucins which forms a barrier against cavity-causing bacteria, Kidspot reports.

Researchers are even now looking into a way to create synthetic mucus that could be made into chewing gum or toothpaste to provide the same benefits.

What’s more, there’s evidence to suggest the mucus in snot could defend against respiratory infection, stomach ulcers and HIV.

Austrian lung specialist Prof Friedrich Bischinger believes people who pick their noses are healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies than others.

“And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do,” he said.

“In terms of the immune system, the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.”

He believes we should do away with the social stigma around nose-picking and says parents should actually encourage their children to do so.

This is despite previous reports and advice from doctors claiming picking your nose can result in bleeding and actually encourage germs.

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