Why Some Doctors Think We Should Do Away With Toilet Paper Altogether

iStock/kazoka30
iStock/kazoka30

Americans are famously resistant to bidets. Though the rest of the world enjoys cleansing their nether regions with water on a regular basis, for some reason, even the fanciest bathrooms in the U.S. lack these sanitary fixtures. And yet, no matter how hesitant you are to wash your butt, there’s a compelling reason to ditch your toilet paper and embrace the bidet. Doctors say it’s better for your butt’s health, according to Vice’s Tonic.

There are several ways a quick squirt of water is better for your undercarriage than repeated swipes with a handful of toilet paper. (Especially if you buy single-ply. Please, don’t buy single-ply.) That's because wiping can be traumatic for your butt.

The first is hemorrhoids. Gastroenterologist Partha Nandi tells Tonic that TP can be irritating, and if you’re prone to hemorrhoids, you’re not doing yourself any favors by scraping your butt with harsh, dry wads of paper. A gentle stream of water could clean you up more thoroughly, without doing harm to your delicate tush. Some research suggests that using a bidet might also help with butt conditions like anal fissures and itchiness. It can reduce anorectal pressure, which one study suggest may in turn help mitigate some kinds of constipation. Just make sure the water pressure isn’t too intense, which can cause its own set of problems.

For women, bidets may also help prevent uncomfortable urinary tract infections, which are generally caused by bacteria from the vagina making their way up the urethra. Doctors say bidets potentially wash away these bacteria before they can cause infection, reducing your chances of getting a UTI. A 2005 study found that in nursing home settings, bidet use reduced the bacterial content of urine. That said, at least one study in Japan found that warm-water bidets can change the vaginal microflora, leading to bacterial vaginitis, so the results are a bit mixed.

But you don’t have to have a butt-health issue to adopt the bidet life. Perhaps you just enjoy the feeling of having a squeaky-clean rear end, or are plagued with the thought that your toilet paper isn’t getting rid of all the fecal bacteria you’ve got down there. If so, bidet away! Soon, some international airlines may even have them, so you can cleanse off at altitude.

Convinced? Read about our trial run with Tushy, a bidet attachment that you can install on any toilet.

[h/t Tonic]

General Mills Is Recalling More Than 600,000 Pounds of Gold Medal Flour Over E. Coli Risk

jirkaejc/iStock via Getty Images
jirkaejc/iStock via Getty Images

The FDA recently shared news of a 2019 product recall that could impact home bakers. As CNN reports, General Mills is voluntarily recalling 600,000 pounds of its Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour due to a possible E. coli contamination.

The decision to pull the flour from shelves was made after a routine test of the 5-pound bags. According to a company statement, "the potential presence of E. coli O26" was found in the sample, and even though no illnesses have been connected to Gold Medal flour, General Mills is recalling it to be safe.

Escherichia coli O26 is a dangerous strain of the E. coli bacterium that's often spread through commercially processed foods. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Most patients recover within a week, but in people with vulnerable immune systems like young children and seniors, the complications can be deadly.

To avoid the potentially contaminated batch, look for Gold Medal flour bags with a "better if used by" date of September 6, 2020 and the package UPC 016000 196100. All other products sold under the Gold Medal label are safe to consume.

Whether or not the flour in your pantry is affected, the recall is a good reminder that consuming raw flour can be just as harmful as eating raw eggs. So when you're baking cookies, resist having a taste until after they come out of the oven—or indulge in one of the many edible cookie dough products on the market instead.

[h/t CNN]

Doctors at a British Hospital Are Now Prescribing Houseplants for Depression

Halfpoint/iStock via Getty Images
Halfpoint/iStock via Getty Images

You don’t have to take a trip to the countryside to reap the mental health benefits of being around nature—a single plant might just do the trick (as long as you can keep it alive).

Fast Company reports that the Cornbrook Medical Practice in Manchester, England, is one of the first in the country to prescribe houseplants to help treat anxiety and depression. It’s part of a horticultural therapy program led by a local nonprofit called Sow the City, which leads initiatives to foster community gardens in Manchester.

It’s just as much about building a sense of community through gardening as it is about the therapeutic advantages of caring for your own house plants. “There’s evidence that people who are socially isolated have worse health outcomes,” Sow the City director Jon Ross told Fast Company. The organization has also assisted Cornbrook Medical Practice in establishing its own herb garden, which patients are welcome to help maintain. Ross and his team work closely with doctors at different offices to optimize each garden for its particular clientele—sometimes, that means building a small, flora-filled sanctuary that’s just for rest and relaxation.

Other times, it’s a fully-fledged vegetable garden. For a “Hospital Beds” program at another hospital, Sow the City installed raised vegetable beds where long-term mental illness patients can soak in some sunlight, socialize with each other, and take pride in seeing the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors flourish. There’s an added physical health benefit, too: The patients get to eat the produce. “We really don’t have good food in our public hospitals,” Ross said.

Sow the City also makes sure that no green thumbs are necessary to participate in any gardening party. Its members populate the gardens with already-healthy, easy-to-tend plants, and they’ll even train patients on how to care for them.

If you’re thinking a garden might improve your own quality of life—doctor’s orders or not—here are 10 easy-to-grow plants for first-time gardeners.

[h/t Fast Company]

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