How a hot dog can kill off dangerous bugs

  • How a hot dog can kill off dangerous bugs
  • Why scientists get my goat
  • How the nation’s favourite food could keep your brain alive!

The Health and Safety folk would have had a field day if they’d seen me last night…

There’s a park at the end of our road that’s used a lot by the local community… picnics, kick arounds, sunbathing (on the 3 days of summer we get)… you name it, it happens.

And yesterday being bonfire night, a fair few households chipped in for fireworks, shared the food and drink duties, before hotfooting it into the park to enjoy a DIY firework display.

And not a barrier or warden insisting we stay 101.56 metres back or angry man with loudspeaker in sight.

I played my part… mainly ignoring cries of ‘Ray! Get back!’ from Lara before I’d even lit the rockets, and everyone had a thoroughly good time.

As one of my neighbours said, ‘It’s a triumph of good sense’.

‘Arrruuuooooeeee!’ I responded, round a mouthful of hot dog.

‘Absolutely,’ Lara translated. She’s a dab hand at understanding me when I’ve got a mouthful of food, which is about 50% of the time.

Or 51.4% of the time, if food consumption officials were monitoring me.

In fact, I enjoyed two hot dogs on the night. I mean, fireworks just aren’t the same without hot dogs are they? But without knowing it, I may have actually been doing myself some unexpected good…

How a hot dog can kill off dangerous bugs

According to a study from Sweden a certain probiotic bacteria called Lactobacillus plantarum 299 (what were its parents thinking when they named him? Imagine the Hell he must have gone through at Probiotic School) could help prevent pneumonia in seriously ill people who are often susceptible to the illness.

These probiotics act as your body’s internal police, breaking up gangs of nasty bugs that have a habit of congregating in the airways of patients who are on ventilation machines.

In the study, the probiotics dealt with the dangerous bugs as efficiently as prescribed antiseptics. In fact, there could be a chance that they deal with the bugs MORE efficiently, since the body can develop resistance to antiseptics and lessen their clout.

And because probiotics are natural, these less chance of side effects occurring.

And that’s not all…

Probiotics tend to cling to the lining of the mouth (which is a usual meeting place for the bugs), allowing the ‘policing’ effect of the probiotics to work far longer than an antiseptic, which tends to do its job then disappear after a few hours.

And guess what…

With every bite of hotdog I took, I ate a tasty mouthful of Lactobacillus plantarum 299.

Of course, you don’t see a squeezy bottle of Lactobacillus plantarum 299 standing next to the ketchup and mustard.

But it just happens to be present sauerkraut and I LOVE sauerkraut with my hot dogs. In fact this helpful bacteria is present is all sorts of fermented foods like pickles and gherkins.

So three cheers for probiotics then. And if they get three cheers, then four cheers for hot dogs with sauerkraut.

But there was one thing about this study, or a reaction to this study, that made me groan…

Why scientists get my goat (sometimes)…

Actually, I have to temper my natural grumpiness when it comes to officialdom here, because this comment wasn’t as bad as some that can crop up.

You know the sort… 1001 people say they feel better when they eat a certain herb, only for Dr Clipboard to cover his ears and shout ‘LA-LA-LA-LA-LA – I’m not listening… this hasn’t been PROVED in a lab in a series of 4,000 tests over a course of ten years… LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!’

But this response to the probiotic study still had the same feel about it…

Bob Marsterton, chair of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy’s working party on hospital acquired pneumonia, said:

‘This is a plausible idea. But we need much larger trials that focus on clinical outcomes to prove it is an effective and affordable treatment.’

Now then, because this study was looking at the effects of probiotics on illness picked up in hospital, I think there’s a least the glimmer of a good reason why this study needs to be backed up with more research.

But when scientists write off a natural remedy that’s got people queuing up round the block to say how much it’s helped them, just because there’s no scientific proof that it works…

Well, it’s enough to drive a man to a third or fourth hot dog.

I mean, if we waited for the authorities to rubber stamp every single natural remedy, including foods and herbs, before we dared to try them, we’d be missing out on powerful tonics like this one…

How the nation’s favourite food could keep your brain alive!

Hmmmm… maybe I should adjust this to ‘the nation’s favourite food after a few drinks in your local’…because the tonic I’m referring to is a curry.

According to a recent study, people who eat curry were found to have sharper brains and better cognitive performance than people who rarely eat it.

The ‘brain’ ingredient is probably curcumin, which delivers a heavy shot of antioxidants. And antioxidants have been proved (yes, really proved – even by people with clipboards) to protect the brain cells.

So if I want to keep my remaining two safe, it looks like a need a curry this week.

Oh it’s a hard life, staying healthy.

Yours, as always