I can remember back to my childhood playing in puddles and in the ditch – damming up small rivers and coming back in to be scolded for the state of my clothes. I’d like to think that wasnt such an unusual childhood – but now 30 years on – those idyllic days almost feel unthinkable – and that we live in fear of dirt and mud and that anything on or in the ground could be unhygienic.
Well in fact the opposite is true – in fact many of the microorganisms in the soil and the air could greatly improve our gut health by increasing the health and diversity of probiotics in our guts many of which can help to reduce inflammation and treat diseased or damaged guts.
For nearly all our history we’ve lived in close contact with the earth – less than 100 years ago more than half of us in the west worked on farms and helped bring in the harvest. The vast majority of the food we ate came directly from the farm unwashed with the soil clinging to it.
Soil is rich in micro organisms and minerals – which is how plants get their nutrients. The unique soil based probiotic organisms are one of the key components that provide powerful nutrients to plants – much in the same way we depend on the microbes in our gut to help us digest and extract nutrients from our food.
In fact other mammals intentionally consume soil – and while until recently we were eating food straight from the ground and drinking from lakes, rivers and streams – Today, we have lost this source that was so healthy for our ancestors.
For years, antibiotics and chemical based anti-microbial agents were the norm and used everywhere. Today, we are facing a huge health threat with anti-biotic resistance as these microorganisms have outsmarted modern medicine.
What is the solution? It is look back to nature and find ways to get more of the soil based microorganisms into our lifestyle. Here are 6 ways to get more dirt and microbes in your diet and your body to improve your health.
1. Don’t Over Sanitise Your Food
Try to get some dirt from your food: if you can afford fresh organic vegetables which are free from pesticides then you shouldn’t have to scrub them clean. Even better if you can grow your own herbs or vegetables at home or in the garden.
2. Picnic outside
When you’re out in the garden or country – picnic on the ground where you are more likely to pick up friendly bacteria. If you drop food don’t throw it away – follow the 3 second rule!
3. Do Some Gardening
Getting your hands dirty in the earth & potting plants in the soil helps you get close to the billions of beneficial bacteria that can help increase the health of our microbiome
4. Get a Pet
Pets have been found to help improve lives expectancy and decrease the risk of chronic diseases in children
5. Swim in the Ocean
As well as containing beneficial salts – the ocean is teaming with microbes and phages with therapeutic qualities.
6. Open the Window
Get some fresh air into your house and your lungs: The air contains billions of microbes! if you r live in the city – find an excuse to go to the park or the country to fill your lungs with fresh air regularly.