Dirt is good?


There is an advertisement doing its rounds on Kenyan televisions and tempting very many mums to give their children the “I dare you” look. The advertisement says “dirt is good”. Is it? We talk a whole lot about cleanliness and how to stay clean but not nearly enough about dirt. Is dirt somehow, in some contrived way, good for us after all?

Depending on how and where you were brought up, you may have vague memories of your grandma or other elderly family member telling your parents to let you get dirty, that it is good for you. Turns out this may actually have some truth in it. Scientific truth. So before you change channels every time the “dirt is good” advert comes on, keep reading. You may learn some amazing things about dirt.

limestone-craving-during-pregnancy-africaBirds and animals have been eating dirt for as long as they have been around. If you take the time to study your animals at home you will notice that once in a while they will sniff at and gobble up a few granules of dirt. Some human beings also eat dirt in various parts of the world. Expectant Kenyan ladies are especially notorious in this respect. There are even stalls at local markets that sell dirt in kilos! Well science shows that dirt can be used to combat ailments such as diarrhea, indigestion and even nausea which is probably why many pregnant women love it. Dirt has actually been shown to be able to ward of disease by enabling your body’s immune system to function optimally.

A writer for the New York Times, Jeff Leach, says that our bodies were designed to be able to keep threats away through our in-built immune system. Our squeaky clean obsession is rendering our immune systems jobless and overactive, a state which is giving rise to countless allergies and autoimmune illnesses. It is better for you to get your vegetable supplies from your local farmer or your neighbor’s back garden than going for the triple washed veggies in a supermarket aisle. Keeping the body clinically clean and exempt of dirt is a bad idea according to scientists because when the body is finally faced with dirt it overreacts leading to unfathomable diseases which would otherwise not even exist.

Our squeaky clean obsession is rendering our immune systems jobless and overactive…

The natural birth process used to be a way for generations to pass along important microbiota from mother to child and from one generation to the next. This has however changed drastically with lifestyle changes seeing mothers opting more and more for caesarean section. Don’t get this wrong the CS is a valid option when there are health implications involved but most mothers are increasingly opting for it for oh so wrong and very flimsy reasons.

dirt-lunchStill not convinced that dirt is good? Well perhaps you are set in your ways of a sterile living space or perhaps you just need to know that just like our ears, noses and tongues the immune system has its own way of telling what is good and what is not. It has the ability to learn over time and overcome challenges presented to the body in various ways. Depriving it of dirt in even the slightest form makes it go into overdrive giving rise to diseases that our predecessors never even heard or conceptualized. Do not live in a filthy home or wear smelly clothes just because we said a little dirt is good; just ensure that you do not become a total convert of the wet wipes and sanitizer generation. Our inner ecosystem needs work to do and giving it none makes us an easy target for emerging autoimmune illnesses and allergies. Perhaps those rock eating mothers are a sign from our inner ecosystem crying out for just a little bit of dirt, a bit of work to do.

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