Dirt is a taboo word, and to be dirty is a bad thing nowadays. Parents stop their children getting dirty, hand sanitisers are very where and we won't eat food unless it's in 'perfect' condition. But what does this shift in exposure to dirt, and the bugs and bacteria therein, mean for our health and fitness? Is dirt bad or do we need to get more dirty to get healthier?
Straight off the bat we're going to say that the level of dirt in our lives right now is too low. We take precautions to protect ourselves from dirt and prevent ourselves going into contact with the bugs and bacteria inside it. If you have the view that all bugs and bacteria are trying to kill us then it makes sense to avoid them. We don't have that view, and neither do a lot of leading scientists and results from scientific studies. In fact, most of the bacteria that we get exposed to (or not) is beneficial and even vital for our health.
For a start, our gut bacteria levels (micro biome) rely heavily on the ingestion of not just the right food but also bacteria. Eating dirty food is actually good for us, so long as it's the 'right kind of dirt'. Now that may sound a bit wooly but keep reading for more explanation. The right kind of dirt is untainted, natural and found outside city walls. The wrong kind of dirt has pesticides, antibiotics and other harmful chemicals in it. By exposing yourself to some unwashed vegetables (providing you know that the soil is 'clean') you can really start to improve your gut micro biome, which has huge impacts on your overall health.
Asthma, eczema and other allergies have been on the increase for years and evidence suggests it's linked to us being cleaner. We'd be tempted to agree. Pregnant mothers aren't exposed to the same kind of dirt levels as in years gone by. Children aren't allowed to play in the dirt or explore with their mouths (natural for very young children). Sure this could help prevent that small chance of catching a bad bug but they don't get exposure that trains their immune systems to function at 100% and this is thought to be why these conditions are on the rise.
Don't take our word for it. Do a bit of research online before changing how you live your life or how you let your children go about their day to day life - it's important to understand more than we can get across in one post before making decisions like that. But, once again, the conventional wisdom that cleaner is better might not be quite as useful to follow as you first thought!
Do some research, give it a go. Within a few months you could have improved some of these conditions and will definitely improve that gut flora!
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