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Why I Garden: Because I Like to Play in the Dirt

It is hard to work in a garden if you don't like to get your hands dirty, because gardens are all about dirt! Plants can't live without the nutritious vitamins and minerals that the dark substance contains. But all the lovely top soil, mud to stomp through, and dusty spots usually make an onlooker think that a poor gardener will surely get sick from it all. But this is far from the truth. Those who continue this task throughout their lives as either a hobby or a full-time profession tend to live longer than their supposedly more hygienic counterparts. There are four reasons for this:

Dirt Gives People Vitamins

People need a lot of the same vitamins and minerals that plants do. So they usually try to ensure that their diet includes plants that pull this nutrition up from the earth. However, spending time in a garden helps a person get iron, phosphorous, and calcium too. Some of it gets absorbed through the skin, but fine particles of it are also breathed into the lungs. This is one reason that some mothers are starting to bring their babies into the garden while they do small tasks in it. Breast milk has little to no iron in it, and this mineral is needed for a little one's health.

Dirt Improves the Immune System

The abundance of sanitizing products and antibacterial soaps that are out on the market have unfortunately convinced people that somehow being dirty is bad. But it is actually an important part of building up a person's immune system. Dirt contains a wide array of pathogens, so when a person is exposed to it, they start to build up antibodies to viruses and germs that could harm them. This makes their body more resilient, so they have a decreased risk of getting sick.

Decreased Risk for Allergies

Being exposed to dirt at a very young age through gardening also decreases the likeliness of a child developing allergies that could cause them problems into adulthood. They get introduced to so much dust and dirt that they get desensitized to it. This is especially common in families who have large gardens that their children help with. Researchers call it the “farm effect.” And as an added bonus, when a person has less sensitivity to allergies, they also have a lower risk for developing asthma.

Less Gastrointestinal Problems

Dirt contains probiotics that the body needs to have a healthy digestive system. In fact, it is so good for the intestines, stomach, and bowels that health supplement manufacturers have started selling “dirt pills” for people to eat. Spending time in a garden will give a person the same benefits without them being forced to consume something ridiculous like this though.

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