2008-09-12

Getting Dirty

Psychology Today has an article in this issue that talks about the benefit of growing your own vegetables. Nothing new about this, right? The interesting thing is where the article points to as the greatest benefit:

Growing your own food by messing around in your garden proves to be nature's fruitful way of cultivating your health-physically and psychologically.

The soil is a rich repository of microbes and other organisms with which we've coexisted from the beginning. As science digs deeper into understanding the effects of bacterial on human health, and especially on the immune system.
It looks increasingly like ingesting components of the soil itself might be as critical to human health as the very finest fruits and veggies grown in it.

In 2007 a University of Colorado neuro-scientist made a startling discovery. He found that certain strains of soil-borne mycobacteria sharply stimulated the human immune system. The very same bacteria also boosted serotonin levels in the brains of mice.

The article goes on to say that our obsession with keeping everything sanitized in our home environment and the lack of exposure to these bacteria and other common dirt-borne pathogens early in life might explain the sharp rise in chronic inflammatory, allergic, and immune disorders such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease in the industrialized world.

My wife and I have never had a problem with our kids getting dirty. We maintain our own lawn and garden, which is something that seems to becoming a thing of the past, and involve the kids in things like pulling weeds. They can identify poison ivy and black widow spiders as well a many beneficial insects and butterfly larva and where to find them.

Each summer we send them to several weeks of "Horse Camp". At the camp you have to earn the right to ride the horses. The kids are broken down into groups to do chores and each day they rotate to the different chores and yes one of the chores is to clean the stalls. They come home with cuts, scrapes and tough hands just like most of us did when we were kids.

If you want more information on the subject visit Mark' Daily Apple to learn about the Primal Benefits of Dirt, Dust, and Dishevelment.

3 comments:

asithi said...

I cringed when see moms using antibacterial soaps and wipes on everything. I believe that if you kill off the good bacteria, then you are leaving a gap for the bad bacterial to fill its place.

MikeB said...

When my kids were just born, my wife was in a play group and one of the fathers happened to be an infectious disease doctor and the CDC. Long story short, he said that the worst thing you could have in your house if you have small kids was antibacterial soap.

Jesse Milton said...

obsessive madness!