Eating with your hands, removing shoes and walking barefoot on the grass: the science behind ancient traditions

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Did you get mad at your parents when they told you not to play with your food? Or with teachers saying we have to keep all electronics (especially gaming devices and TVs) out of the bedroom? Now sleep experts explain melatonin and the circadian rhythm, but otherwise we don’t realize the harm late nights do to our bodies. No wonder our ancestors who moved around a lot and only ate between sunrise and sunset were far less riddled with lifestyle-related diseases than we are.

Here is an overview of some traditions established by our ancestors, our elders or some other cultures and we wonder why should we follow them? What is the scientific basis for their existence? So here’s an explanation.

  1. Eating with your hands: For people living in the west, this seems a bit shocking. The first reaction is, “you don’t know where your hands have been?” Well, those are your hands! We hope you know that. Also, before sitting down for any meal, everyone rinses their hands with soap and water. You will find that in every Indian restaurant there is a hand washing station. The benefit of eat with hands is that since it involves the nerves of the fingers of your hand, it becomes a sensory experience. It becomes an exercise in coordination between the brain, the stomach and the fingers. The messages come and go and you end up eating mindfully, slowly and in a relaxed way. This diet with a calm approach aids digestion and also prevents overeating. However, for more liquid foods like some dal dishes, a spoon can be used. According to MarthaStewart.com, a scientific experiment has proven that food tastes better when eaten with bare hands. In the study, people who were more aware of their eating habits believed that cheese tasted better when eaten from the hand and that these findings held regardless of the food they were served in the experiment. . The report asks, “Could this be the reason we love biting into a piece of cheeseburger or pizza so much?
  2. walk barefoot: Walking barefoot, also called “grounding“, has evolved from a wacky and playful trend to a scientifically studied practice with a number of remarkable health benefits. In most Indian homes, people take pride in walking barefoot not only inside the house (unless extreme temperatures or a similar problem occur) but also on the grass in the yard or around the periphery of the enclosure.Walking barefoot has several health benefits such as increased antioxidants, reducing inflammation and improving sleep.A study conducted by researchers from the Department of Neurosurgery, Military Clinical Hospital, Powstancow Warszawy 5, 85-915 Bydgoszcz, Poland found that grounding altered the electrical activity in the brain, as measured by electroencephalograms. Yet other research has shown that grounding benefits skin conductivity, moderates the variability of heart rate, improved glucose regulation, reduced stress and supported immune function. It’s all thanks to electrons in the Earth’s magnetic field. Walking barefoot on an ear of Ly grass in the morning improves vision, they say. Walking barefoot on the grass helps fight inflammation and stimulate the functioning of your organs if we stick to the principles of reflexology. Add to that also the unintended benefit of bathing in the morning sun and getting a healthy dose of valuable vitamin D, known for its immunity-boosting properties.
  3. Leaving the shoes outside the house: Have you been to a house where the host asks you to leave the shoes outside the door and put on one of their slippers? There’s a reason this makes scientific sense, according to a New York Times report. Terrible infectious bacteria can lodge in the tread and cracks of shoes, which are ideal places for bacteria to linger. In a University of Arizona study, E. coli — one of the most common types of bacteria found on shoe soles — is known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections. Other bacteria found in the shoes were C. diff bacteria which cause particularly foul-smelling diarrhea and can trigger colitis, an inflammation of the colon. The problem with treating an infection caused by C.diff is that it is resistant to most antibiotics. Researchers and scientists have also discovered Staphylococcus aureus (staphylococcus) bacteria on shoes – a type that is the most dangerous of the different types of Staphylococcus bacteria. Imagine a guest wearing shoes probably contaminated with all those bacteria walks into your living room and steps on the carpet where your little one is also playing with toys, aren’t you courting danger?
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