6 "Gross" Things That Are Shockingly Good For You
When we think of healthy habits, we think about working out, eating well, and alleviating stress — we don't usually picture passing gas or burping. However, there are a number of gross things that are shockingly good for you, and although we aren't suggesting going around tooting everywhere you go, you definitely don't have to feel ashamed whenever you let some gas pass. Some healthy habits seem nasty, but in reality, they can benefit your health in ways you may have not imagined.
"Certain habits may seem 'gross,' especially when they are related to some bodily functions such as passing gas or belching, that can produce unpleasant sounds or smells," physician and health and wellness expert Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., M.S. tells Bustle. "However, when you come to understand the physiological necessity of some of these habits in our day to day lives, you can then appreciate how some of these actions considered so 'gross' may actually be quite beneficial to your health."
These habits may not be the first thing you think of when you picture good health, but it's time to adjust your mindset and embrace the weird. Here are six gross things that are shockingly good for you, according to experts.
The people around you might not like it, but passing gas is a naturally-occurring process that everyone experiences. "During digestion, gas may form and needs to be released from the body," Okeke-Igbokwe says. "You should allow the natural process to take its course, since frequently holding in your gas may sometimes lead to symptoms of bloating and abdominal discomfort. If you are concerned though that your flatulence is simply out of control all of the time, it is worth mentioning this to your doctor so as to rule out any possible underlying digestive disorder."
2. Smelling Farts
No one enjoys when their friend or partner lets out a smelly fart, but it turns out, breathing in this odor might be beneficial to your health. According to research out of the University of Exeter, hydrogen sulfide, which gives gas that its rotten egg-like scent, can provide health benefits in small doses. This smelly byproduct, which is naturally produced in the body, can lower your risk of heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and cancer.
3. Skipping Showers
If you're not one to shower everyday, that's completely OK. "It sounds gross, but if you haven't worked out and aren't dripping in sweat, maybe take a pass with the shower today," . family physician Navya Mysore, MD tells Bustle. "Showering too often can wash away essential oils from your skin and hair, which is not great, as these oils contain good bacteria which allow our skin to shine. Skipping that shower once a week will do no harm."
Burping is a healthy way to relieve air from the stomach. "Although it may not be the best dinner table etiquette, it can be helpful not to be build up excess gastric acid, which can lead to gastric reflux," says Dr. Mysore. "Note that burping too often, though, could be a sign of gastric reflux or more."
Getting covered in sweat can feel sticky and gross, but it's doing your body good. "Sweating is the body's way to cool down and is completely normal," says Dr. Mysore. "If we didn't sweat, it would be impossible for us to enjoy the beach on a hot summer day without us compromising our health."
6. Not Cleaning Your Ears
Most of us were taught that cleaning out your ears with a cotton swab is the healthy thing to do. But some earwax is actually good for our ears, as it a natural cleanser with antibacterial and antifungal properties, according to Harvard Health. Unfortunately, using a cotton swab to remove the wax actually just tends to push the earwax back into the ear, which can damage the ear canal or the eardrum. The ear is self-cleaning, so unless you have an excessive amount of earwax, you're better off leaving your ears alone.
While these habits may seem nasty to some, they can actually benefit your health in a lot of unique ways.