In a 1996 Seinfeld episode, Georges fiance Susan licks so many cheap envelopes that she poisons herself. Makes for riotous TV, but fortunately these days, or even back then, lickin envelopes and stamps was never such a risky business.
There was a time in the 1960s when the gum on U.S. stamps shielded bacteria and viruses, so they could survive for months. That meant you could, theoretically, pick up a bug from an envelope you received. And back then, if you were licking stamps for 100 wedding invitations, it wasnt a bad idea to count your calories! Glue on a postage stamp could deliver around 6 to 14 calories!
Most stamps and many envelopes dont take a licking anymore. Theyre self-adhesive. Among the few water-activated stamps left, no animal products are used in making the glue (theyre vegan); those in Israel are certified Kosher; and in the U.S., lickable envelope glue is made from corn, so its gluten-free! If you wonder about the safety of imported glues on greeting-card envelopes, for example, the Food and Drug Administration has increased its presence in China to enforce quality standards. And you can always use a damp sponge instead of your tongue.
But if youre looking for surprising stamp sensations that can make your RealAge younger, try these: Theres a cacao-oil infused Belgium stamp that tastes like fine chocolate, a coffee-infused Brazilian stamp and a Swiss stamp that smells like chocolate.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.