07 Jul Germs
Humans are 90% bacteria and there are more bacteria in our bodies than there are cells (over 100 trillion of them). Faecal transplants have been shown to temporarily reverse learning disorders and Parkinson’s disease in animal studies.
As a society we need to get out of this notion that all germs are bad. Not only are bacteria vital to healthy digestion, they also play an important role in our immune system and in reducing the risk of allergies (this is not surprising given that 70% of our immune system exists in the gut). Just look at the explosion of research that has been published about the gut microbiome! So why have we become so obsessed with germs?
For decades now, we’ve been hoodwinked into believing that all germs are bad in order to convince us to buy products we don’t need. Just have a look at the amount of advertising devoted to air fresheners, cleaning products, liquid soap solutions, antibacterial washes and so on. Remarkably, developed countries where chemicals are frequently used to clean homes, have much higher rates of asthma and allergies. In Chapter 2 on Allergens in my book Healthy Home Healthy Family, I have explained how your home can impact the gut microbiome and increase our risk of developing asthma and allergies. There are however, some bacteria that need to be avoided in the home including E Coli (found in faeces), Salmonella (raw meat, eggs and dairy) and Listeria (soft cheeses, dairy and raw food).
Tips to Reduce Germs in Your Home
- Wash your hands before you eat, after you go to the toilet and when handling raw meat
- Keep kitchen benches dry. Wipe with a slightly damp microfibre cloth, followed through with a dry, clean tea towel
- Dedicate a chopping board for cutting meat, and another for cutting vegies
- Wash fruit and vegies and eggs with water (that dirt could be chook poo!)
- Dont leave food (including pet food) lying around the house as it will attract pests
- Wash tea towels and sponges / dish cloths everyday in the washing machine (that means having a few spare)
- Sterilise the sponge by putting in the microwave oven for 30 seconds or put it in the dishwasher
- Scrub chopping boards between uses and when you can expose them to the sun
- Defrost foods in the fridge, not the kitchen bench
- Cover foods in glass containers that are labelled (date)
- Get a fridge thermometer and check that it is below 5 degrees Celsius
- Wipe the vegie trays in the fridge with a damp microfibre cloth when you do the grocery shopping
- Throw out food that has expired
- Avoid dinted tin cans as this may alter its expiry date
- Place leftovers in the fridge whilst they are warm and eat them within 2 days. Cooked rice should be eaten within 24 hours.