Should you or should you not eat your boogers? Of course, the word ‘booger’ itself brings an expression of disgust on your face. But guess what? About 90% of US adults pick their noses and a huge population also indulges in munching on the messy goo found on the inside.

Not much research has been done on mucophagy, the habit of picking and eating the boogers found in your nasal passage, because people are not ready to participate in such studies. However, stats clearly state that most of us are enjoying our boogers behind closed doors.

But why do people eat their boogers when they know well that it is, firstly gross, and secondly, it doesn’t serve health in any way? The answer – people are habitual of eating boogers, and they are unaware of why they need to stop the habit.

The habit starts when we are children and continues as we grow. As children, we may start eating boogers because picking them out seems relieving and their taste is salty. While we know that mucophagy doesn’t help health, how does it harm it? Let’s learn this here.

How eating boogers can negatively impact your health

Boogers are dried out mucus mixed up with pathogens, viruses, and other harmful particles from the air we breathe. Mucus is a gel-like substance a huge part of which is water. It is found in the nose as a defense mechanism of the body.

The purpose of this mucus is to keep pathogens from entering our body through our nose by getting trapped in the sticky mix. Eating these boogers, therefore, means providing easy access to infection-causing viruses and bacteria.

Some believe that eating boogers can strengthen the immunity, but that claim is false and doesn’t have any scientific backing. Had it been true that booger-eating can boost immunity, why would mucus even have existed in the nose in the first place? Boogers are harmful for health as when you eat them, they are digested which results in the release of pathogens.

Why picking your nose is also a bad idea

Did you know that if you don’t take those boogers out of your nose, you’re likely to breathe them in and lead them inside? Now this should mean that picking on your nose is not bad. Nope. You see, scratching the insides of your nose to pick out boogers can be problematic.

You should keep your nose clean but shouldn’t ever consider using your fingernails in the process. Use a tissue to do the deed. By scratching your nose, you let Staphylococcus aureus, a bad bacteria strain which lives underneath your fingernails, to enter your nose.

This Staph can cause pus-packed pockets or abscesses inside your nose or right on your face. Moreover, you can also punch a hole through your septum by the constant picking which can erode your skull as well and allow bacteria from the nose to move to your brain. Know that if you have too many boogers forming in your nose, you need to increase your water intake.

Key takeaway

Boogers exist for a reason. The are a part of your body’s defense system. They keep pathogens out and eating them does the exact opposite job. What’s more, picking one’s nose is also harmful as it can puncture the inside walls and land staph from fingernails to the nasal passage. This is why it is necessary to clean your nose using a tissue.