Depressed? Go play in the dirt.

Depressed? Go play in the dirt.

Research has shown that soil bacteria could improve mood by boosting the immune system just as effectively as antidepressant drugs.

Is growing your own organic food and spending more time in green spaces turning people back to a more natural way of living, opening up the forgotten connection with where our food comes from? Over the decades, agriculture grew in scale due to the population rapidly increasing, putting pressure on the need for more efficient systems, growing methods and mechanisation. Although there has been such a massive evolution in big agriculture and the knowledge about the earth under our feet, it feels slightly ‘one step forward and two steps back’.

How could playing with soil work as an antidepressant? The study linked below suggests that coming into contact with specific microbes (such as Mycobacterium vaccae) results in an overall boost in mood. The researchers suspect, however, that the microbes are affecting the brain indirectly by causing immune cells to release chemicals called cytokines. This study shows there is a bit more to soil than meets the eye when it comes to microbes and mental health.

This study highlights how important having a go at growing your own produce really is. Getting back in touch with nature is also a great start to turning our food systems back to a more local and regenerative endeavour, this truly is the revolution needed to help heal the earth and its people. Not only does gardening get more people outside in the dirt, it gets people to connect with where their food comes from, what goes into growing it and how easy it is to reap the rewards from growing your own food! Plus this new research suggests you get the added antidepressant benefit through getting your hands dirty!

Recent news of glyphosate, the weed killer ingredient that is tied to cancer, being found in 80% of US urine samples is shocking, and glyphosate is used in most countries all over the world and in many home gardens.

Interesting stuff to think about. Bacteria exposure not only could boost our immune systems but also alters our vulnerability to conditions such as depression. It does make you wonder, shouldn’t we all be spending more time playing in the dirt?

Team Ecothrive


Reading next

Ecothrive’s VPD Guide
How To Make Living Soil At Home

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