Are you being fed C. diff bugs?

Next time you're in a hospital, you might want to brown bag it -- because the hospital food  isn't just bland, artery-clogging, gross, and lacking in essential nutrients. It's downright dirty, and some dishes could even be loaded with one of the worst disease-causing germs of all.

It's called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff for short, and new research finds hospital food can be practically covered in the stuff.

In a series of tests on dishes  of hospital food served at a Houston-area university hospital, C. diff was found on half of the turkey dishes sampled, nearly half the chicken and egg dishes, a third of the seafood samples, and even nearly a quarter of the fruit.

Since C. diff is a bacteria that lives in fecal matter, it seems to me that some cafeteria workers aren't reading those "ALL EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK" signs posted in bathrooms everywhere.

Then, they serve the germ-covered hospital food to the very people who are most likely to be hurt by it: Hospital patients.

It's not understood yet whether this type of species of Clostridium infects people, but it's certainly possible. And since hospital patients are already sick and weak, they're prone to infections that a healthy immune system can normally fight off on its own.

Throw in the fact that most of them are on antibiotics, and C. diff is ready to take control -- because those drugs wipe out the good bacteria in the gut that can normally keep the C. diff in check.

Already, this bug kills 14,000 Americans a year, most of them seniors in hospitals and care facilities -- and you can expect that number to grow in the coming years.

But you can take steps now to save yourself and your loved ones. First, make sure you only take antibiotics when you absolutely need them. Second, watch what you eat -- especially when you're in the hospital or are around hospital food. And third, read this article, because I've got two solutions for beating C. diff.

One of them is downright disgusting, but highly effective. The other is far more palatable and should be your first-line defense.

Keep reading to learn more.