4 Ways to Eat More Dirt for a Healthy Gut
In our modern age of refrigeration and sanitation, you may wonder why eating dirt could be the key to restoring our health.
Our gastrointestinal tract is populated with trillions of microorganisms that improve your immune system, boost nutrient absorption, support the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters that impact mood, and enable your body to function better overall. A balance of good and bad bacteria is key to achieving these benefits.
When your digestive system is overpopulated with bad bacteria, you risk developing gastrointestinal issues.
In ancient times, people consumed fresh food from healthy soils that were teeming with bacteria. This supported their naturally healthy balance of gut bacteria. Before refrigeration, ancient cultures would also store food by burying it underground or in a dirt cellar. They gardened, farmed, and played outside – exposing their system to health-promoting soil-based organisms (SBOs).
SBOs maintain the health of plants and prevent them from contamination from yeast, fungi, and molds. More than eight hundred research studies have shown that SBOs can relieve allergies, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, nutrient deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, as well as bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
To counter the health effects of our modern diets, here are four ways to introduce more dirt into your digestive system.
1. Eat fermented foods
Fermenting foods was how ancient people preserved vegetables, fruits, and dairy before refrigeration. The process of fermentation promotes the growth of natural bacteria on the food, which populate your intestines and defend against bad bacteria and toxins.
Naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, and miso are all rich sources of probiotics.
Sauerkraut is a type of fermented cabbage that offers a host of benefits. With nearly one hundred times more lactobacilli than raw cabbage, this food is full of valuable probiotics1.
Kimchi is commonly consumed in Korea and Asia and has been found to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome2.
Natto is made from fermented soybeans and contains Bacillus subtilis. This probiotic supports the immune system, improves cardiovascular health, and promotes bone density by increasing levels of vitamin K23.
Miso is a staple of the Japanese diet and is also made from fermented soybeans. Miso has been shown to relieve fatigue, promote digestion, lower cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure4.
2. Eat raw honey and bee pollen
One way to reduce seasonal allergies is with a mixture of raw honey and bee pollen. A study conducted on rodents published in Pharmaceutical Biology revealed that this mixture significantly reduced their inflammation levels and strengthened their immune system5. This is because consuming the microbes in local honey and bee pollen helps your immune system adapt to seasonal allergens.
3. Raise a dog
Dogs love to play in the dirt. When they bring dirt into your house, you get exposed to diverse, dirt-based microbes. These protective SBOs are healthy for your gut. Moreover, a study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy showed that exposing infants to dogs or cats in their first year protects them from developing animal allergies.
4. Supplement with probiotics
SBOs are essential to counter the effects of our overly sanitized modern diets. You can supplement with an SBO probiotic that contains strains such as Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Saccharomyces boulardii. These spore-forming bacteria fill your gut with beneficial microbes and support optimal digestion and bowel function.
Consuming more dirt in your diet will help you reduce your health symptoms and move your digestive system towards optimal functioning.
Author: Jesamine Dyus
1 Zabat, Michelle A et al. “Microbial Community Analysis of Sauerkraut Fermentation Reveals a Stable and Rapidly Established Community.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 7,5 77. 12 May. 2018, doi:10.3390/foods7050077
2 Jung, Su-Jin et al. “Beneficial effects of Korean traditional diets in hypertensive and type 2 diabetic patients.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 17,1 (2014): 161-71. doi:10.1089/jmf.2013.3042
3 Tsukamoto, Y et al. “Intake of fermented soybean (natto) increases circulating vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) and gamma-carboxylated osteocalcin concentration in normal individuals.” Journal of bone and mineral metabolism vol. 18,4 (2000): 216-22. doi:10.1007/s007740070023
4Watanabe, Hiromitsu. “Beneficial biological effects of miso with reference to radiation injury, cancer and hypertension.” Journal of toxicologic pathology vol. 26,2 (2013): 91-103. doi:10.1293/tox.26.91
5 Küpeli Akkol, Esra et al. “In vivo activity assessment of a "honey-bee pollen mix" formulation.” Pharmaceutical biology vol. 48,3 (2010): 253-9. doi:10.3109/13880200903085482
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