Digging Dirt May Have More Than One Health Benefit

May 27, 2020

© Alexander Raths | Dreamstime

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As kids we played in dirt, to the horrors of our parents. But as parents, or grown adults, we should be playing in dirt.  Perhaps not the way we once did but gardening is a physical activity, something that is almost always associated with improving our mental health and recent research has found that digging in the dirt can boost our well-being in more ways than one. Simply being outside in the fresh air with nature can boost your mood but researchers as found that a certain soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae (M. vaccae) has some amazing stress-relieving abilities when we naturally breathe it in or swallow it while outdoors.  Scientists have discovered that M. vaccae makes an anti-inflammatory fat that could explain how it works its mood-boosting magic. Stress has been linked to causing inflammation in our bodies, which leads to a number of health problems like depression. Though that connection is not totally understood, it does seem that the anti-inflammatory substance in this bacterium has the ability to counteract our natural stress responses.

SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens

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