If you’re worried your kid might grow up to be an irritable bowel-having asthmatic (who isn’t?), science has figured out the cure: Let them eat worms. That’s right — while all the other gut-conscious parents are fighting over high CFU count probiotics at Whole Foods, you can rest easy knowing they haven’t realized they should also be looking for autoimmune suppressing intestinal worm eggs.
Research published last spring by BioMedCentral determined that intestinal worms are sort of like the opposite of Wolverine: they suppress the immune system so that the immune system doesn’t suppress them. And, since autoimmune diseases and allergic reactions are basically the immune system gone rogue, it makes sense that babies who grow up with those worms in their bellies force their immune systems to chill out. That leads to consistently chill autoimmune system responses later in life. And that leads to non-irritable bowel-having, non-asthmatic adults. It’s why people from places where intestinal parasites are common don’t normally have allergies.
Evolution tends to pre-program beneficial behaviors into the your infant’s hard drive (also known as “instincts”), which explains why your baby tends to view the sidewalk as a buffet — those worms aren’t going to crawl down the kid’s throat on their own. So, next time a hyper hygienic mom looks askance while you let them chew on leaves like a hairless little ewok, smugly inform her that you’re inoculating the child against everything from Crones disease to muscular dystrophy.