Mom was right! Simple habits, such as eating our green veggies and washing our hands, are good for our health.
Most of us grew up with our mothers’ health and hygiene mantras imprinted in our brains, where they remain lodged to this day. Chances are you’ve passed them on to your own children: eat your vegetables, turn off the TV, and the ever popular, wash your hands!
It turns out that Mom was right about everything, and she’s been backed up by scientific research.
Eat your vegetables
Researchers have discovered that green vegetables contain a chemical that directs the immune cells in our gut and skin to work properly. These cells, known by the unwieldy name intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) form a barrier underneath the epithelial cells that cover our inner and outer body surfaces. These cells are our first line of defence against germs and bacteria and aid in wound repair.
When mice were deprived of vegetables for two to three weeks, 70 to 80 percent of their IELs disappeared. So to keep your immune system healthy, be sure to eat your greens, from broccoli to spinach to Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
Wash your hands
With all the publicity that handwashing gets each winter as a way to limit the spread of cold and flu germs, it’s hard to believe the results of the latest UK study. One in six British mobile phones (cellphones) are contaminated by fecal bacteria! Researchers have traced this bacteria to poor handwashing habits.
In the spirit of Global Handwashing Day on October 15, let’s all scrub for at least 20 seconds when washing our hands with soap and hot water. You may want to disinfect your cellphone too—before preparing a healthy green salad.