Is Dirt good?
Yes, it is! We will tell you why.
Believe it or not, we all need dirt; Kids and Adults alike. It is not enough for us to ingest probiotic rich foods and supplements. This is because without dirt, we will be missing crucial organisms known as Soil Based Organisms (SBOs). Probiotics are good, however some of them do not survive through the digestive tract unlike the SBOs which have stronger strains of bacteria.
The 21st Century is obsessed about removal and avoidance of dirt hence the reason why we have Antibacterial soap, Antibacterial wipes, Antibacterial spray, Antibacterial cleaning products, among other disinfectants. But why do we have a consequently rising rate of autoimmune, allergies and gut problems? Could there be a connection? Are we too clean and dirt free?
Dr. Mary Ruebush, author of the book ‘Why Dirt is good’ says “What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment. Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature response what is best ignored”
This does not mean that we remain dirty and do not wash or disinfect ourselves and surfaces. It is important to wash your hands before handling food, after visiting the toilet and even after changing diapers. The good dirt id found outside in the soil and md where children are mostly busy playing. What it means is that we do not have to make a fuss out of it and moderation is key. Allow your children therefore, to play out in the dirt/mud as often as you can. According to Dr. Ruebush, the human body has 90 million microbes which are responsible for keeping us healthy most of the time. She adds that the current wave and obsession with antibacterial products could do more harm than good as it leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant, disease causing bacteria. She recommends that we should wash our hands when it is essential and where there is no water available, an alcohol-based sanitizer should be used.
Ever wondered why children who grow upcountry in farms rarely get sick, yet they seem to be outside all their lives accompanied with some soil and mud eating? It is because they are exposed to the organisms found in the soil as well as worms that help build their immune system. It is good therefore, to let children play, walk barefoot and even eat outside so long as it is an environment that is not contaminated by chemicals. It is also recommended that you also occasionally reactivate the child in you and have fun games outside such as a mud run/slide. It is also helpful to have pets around the home and it does not hurt when a dog for instance licks the child’s face. It could be beneficial to them.
Finally, if a piece of toast or other food falls on the floor, don’t keep your children from picking it. Unless it fell in a contaminated area, the food is still good to eat. Let the children experience the world as we did, allow them to explore. So long as they are properly vaccinated, nothing will happen to them. They will build their immunity and they will have a stronger, more beneficial exposure.