Is Gardening Good for Your Gut?
The Hygiene Hypothesis and Your Health
Discussion about any positive relationship between diet and health has been fueled by a theory known as the “hygiene hypothesis”. The hygiene hypothesis suggests that keeping children very clean contributes to higher rates of autoimmune diseases, especially in the case of atopic disorders (allergies).
The hygiene hypothesis was first introduced by a man named David P. Strachan, who attributed the increase in allergies to the fact that family size was getting smaller. In his theory, fewer children were being exposed to pathogens through contact with their “dirty” older brothers and sisters.
Strachan’s original hypothesis has been expanded to include the effect of increased attention to cleanliness inherent in modern society. Beyond the basics of hot water and food safety practices, the list would include the use of antibacterial cleaning products, the increasing frequency of antibiotic prescriptions, and the use of vaccines. And kids no longer spend much of their time outside playing and getting dirty. (Neither do non-gardening adults for that matter.)
The hygiene hypothesis holds that these social changes reduce the likelihood that children are being exposed to the types of bacteria that cause infections at an age where their bodies are programmed to develop immunity. Will be done. When exposed to such pathogens at a later age, the body is less equipped to deal with them, and ongoing problems arise.
It is thought that the protective element of early childhood exposure to pathogens influences the development of cells within the gut-associated with the response of our immune system. There is some limited evidence that the structure of the stomachs of children with allergies differs from those of allergy-free children.
As for digestive health, there is a growing body of research that exposure to certain microorganisms may play a role in the increased prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The higher your socioeconomic status, the higher your risk of developing IBD – a finding that may be consistent with the hygiene hypothesis.
The hygiene hypothesis has been met with mixed reviews by researchers. The current consensus seems to be that there is an association between changes in our overall exposure to certain microorganisms and an increase in allergies and autoimmune diseases. To better reflect the microbiological aspect of the problem and to ensure that people continue to follow good, basic hygienic practices, there is something to be said about renaming.
Washing is Still Important
Please note that the hygiene hypothesis does not mean that you should not wash your hands when they are dirty. When you work in the soil, you come into contact with microorganisms through touch and breathing. Washing your hands thoroughly when dirty, after being out in public, after using the toilet, around a sick person, after sneezing or coughing, while cooking and before eating is still a very good idea. is practice.
Health Benefits of Gardening
Although we don’t yet have a clear picture of the specific digestive health benefits of working in the dirt, there are many other health benefits to be enjoyed through the activity of gardening, some of which translate into positive benefits for your digestion. can. system
Gardening is a Green Exercise
Growing your own foods reduces your exposure to toxins
Home-grown organic food contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals
Gardening is an activity that can be enjoyed close to home
Getting Started with your Garden
A garden can be as small or as large as you choose. Options include having a garden on your property, participating in a community garden, or simply growing some flowers and vegetables in pots in a sunny area. Whichever option you choose, it sure seems like it can be good to get dirty sometimes.