Sometimes during a meal, a food arouses a feeling of disgust for no apparent reason. But, rather than suppress that feeling, it might be better to trust yourself. Indeed, this reaction could help to stay healthy.
According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a repulsion to certain foods could be the movement of the body to avoid food infection. As recalled MedicalXpress, Charles Darwin had previously hypothesized that humans had developed a sense of disgust for avoiding certain contaminated foods. This US study is the first to test whether greater susceptibility to pathogen disgust is associated with fewer infections.
A bulwark against infection?
Aaron D. Blackwell, associate professor of anthropology at WSU and co-author of the study, said participants from three indigenous Ecuadorian communities were asked to rate their level of disgust for different things. “The higher the level of disgust, the lower the level of their inflammatory biomarkers indicative of infections.. Although the study shows that disgust works to protect against infection, it also showed that it varies from environment to environment, depending on how easily people can avoid certain things, ”he said. noted the author of the study.
Through this study, researchers found that disgust levels increased when people had access to fresh water and purchased food. Conversely, communities that depended on hunting and agriculture exhibited lower disgust. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Prof. Blackwell specifies that these results do not affect all pathogens such as the coronavirus. “Disgust does not protect us very well against pandemics like that of Covid-19 in part because there is nothing that you can see to avoid”, nuances the scientist.