Boogers. We all get them. Gooey or crusty. But it’s how you get rid of them that’s causing controversy.
Why do we love picking our noses? How unhealthy would a booger diet be? And how much nutritional value would you get from it? This is snot for the faint-hearted. What are boogers?
Well, they’re mucus that builds up and dries. Your sinuses and your nose make the mucous. But do you know that you make 1 liter (4 cups) of mucus every day? So, can eating all your boogers be bad for you?
When you need to get your mucus out, it’s more than likely you shove a finger up your nose and dig for that annoying booger. But before you even think about eating it, you could have some health issues if you pick your nose.
Obvious issues arise if you don’t wash your hands before you delve into your nostril. Or after you do. Or you could accidentally scratch the inside of your nose. That could
cause all sorts of nasty infections.
But we need to know the reason for picking your nose in the first place. The Dean Foundation for Health did a study and found that most people pick their noses. And on average, you pick your nose four times a day.
There can be many reasons for that. You might have a blocked nasal passage, which can make your schnoz feel uncomfortable and irritated. And the shape of your nose can be a factor too. A deviated septum doesn’t run down the center of your nose. That can cause irregularities and raise your chance of picking your nose.
And some of us just can’t help it. This is known as rhinotillexomania, a body-focused repetitive behavior. Anyway, you’re not here to learn about picking your boogers. You want to know what would happen if you keep eating them.
If you sent all your boogers directly into your mouth, would you be unhealthy? Well, this is where the controversy lies. Some researchers say it’s bad, and some say it’s good for us.
But they all agree that mucus in your nose helps trap dust, dirt and bacteria. So if you eat your boogers, you’ll be ingesting those things as well.
Some research suggests it’s good for you because it helps your body build immunity to the bacteria. Then your body can fight against the illness causing that bacteria in the future. It’s a perfectly natural way for your body to build its defenses.
But other researchers say that consuming your boogers could expose your body to harmful pathogens trapped in them. So unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether it would be healthy to eat your boogers.
But I could tell you how many calories you’d be consuming if you had an all-booger diet. Some estimates show you consume 200 calories of snot every day. That’s because you swallow the snot that has already built up in your mouth. But that doesn’t include the boogers you pick from your nose.
And when you have a cold, that amount can double or even triple. So it’s no wonder you aren’t hungry when you’re sick. But to reach your daily calorie intake goal, you’d need to eat 10 times more boogers. If a booger diet were a thing, we’d need booger-producing farms to feed everyone. And since your snot is mostly water with a small amount of fats and proteins, your diet would be very unbalanced and lack carbs.
You’d feel tired, nauseous and have constant constipation. And in the long run, you’d risk having bowel problems and gaining weight. So what can we learn from all this? More research is needed to get a clear answer on whether eating your boogers is good for you or not.
So whether you think eating your boogers is gross or you think it’s completely normal, just remember that an all-booger diet wouldn’t be the best choice. But if you are going to delve into your nostrils, try to pick your nose through a tissue. This can help reduce the chances of damaging the inside of your nose. The last thing you want is to get an infection from picking your nose.
And while we’re on the subject of eating, imagine what could happen if you accidentally swallowed a bug. And imagine that bug was a hornet. What if you swallowed a hornet?
- “HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN SNOT OR BOOGERS – Coolefitness”. 2013. Coolefitness.
- “What to know about nose picking”. 2021. medicalnewstoday.com.
- “7 Facts About Mucus, Phlegm, Snot, And Boogers | Everyday Health”. Mann, Denise, and MD Justin Laube. 2019. everydayhealth.com.
- “Rhinotillexomania: Psychiatric Disorder Or Habit?”. JW, Jefferson, and Thompson TD. 1995. The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry 56 (2).
- “Eating Boogers: Is It Good For You, Disorder, How To Stop, And More”. 2021. Healthline.
- “The role of crude human saliva and purified salivary MUC5B and MUC7 mucins in the inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 in an inhibition assay” Virology Journal 3 (1): 99. Habte, Habtom H, Anwar S Mall, Corena de Beer, Zoë E Lotz, and Delawir Kahn. 2006. doi:10.1186/1743-422x-3-99.