We aren’t getting dirty enough anymore. In years past, humans spent greater amounts of time outdoors, in contact with nature, literally getting dirt on our hands and in our mouths. Getting so dirty exposed us to soil-based organisms, the original probiotics, the invisible good guys that stimulate our immune systems, populate our guts, aid in our moods and reduce inflammation.
We worry so much about being clean enough. We have soap and water – yes, great! But in addition we have created sanitizers, Lysol sprays, Clorox wipes and products promising to kill 99.9% of germs. Is that so great?
The cleaner we get, the sicker we seem to get. It turns out that a little dirt was actually very beneficial. There are tiny little soldier cells patrolling your body seeking out these “dirty” invaders. When your life is too clean and these soldiers go too long with nothing to do, they begin to get irritable. When they see something relatively harmless like a speck of plant pollen, they go crazy and overreact. That is what triggers asthma, eczema and food allergies.
In addition, some of the dirt is actually beneficial organisms that will set up shop in your gut and provide your body with nourishment by digesting your food, mellow your mood by producing serotonin and have families and multiply. It’s a really good idea to take in probiotics that are from the piece of earth that you actually live on, they are exactly what your body needs.
My favorite way to get dirty is to go out and play in the garden. I plant greens like kale, lettuce and beet greens and they pick the leaves fresh from the earth and eat a few. If you have ever grown your own kale, you will notice a dusky film that coats each leaf. Those are the organisms, the good bugs that we were intended to take in, before the invention of probiotic pills that are completely engineered in a hygienic, carefully controlled lab.
Even if all you can do is grow some parsley and oregano in a sunny window, incorporating the plant foods that are in direct contact with healthy soil is a brilliant way to improve your immune system and gut health.
In short, soil-based organisms can offer these benefits:
- Regulate your immune system
- Reduce inflammation
- Break down your food
- Help with detoxification
- Benefit your genetic expression
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Yes! I need to grow a garden someday.