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Back to Health, Back to the Land

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Science, gardening, soil, microbes, health, psychology, Psychology Today, ,

GardeningMany gardeners feel that digging in the dirt and planting seeds helps them relax. Now researchers have found that gardening can have real physical and psychological health benefits. According to an article in Psychology Today (article not available online), gardening exposes people to soil-borne microbes called Mycobacterium vaccae that can stimulate their immune systems. The same microbes also boost the levels serotonin in mice, much like prozac and other antidepressants. Some researchers think that depriving children from playing in the dirt may have led to the recent rise in immune disorders, including asthma. Daniel Marano writes for Psychology Today that “the components of the soil itself might be as critical to human heath as the finest fruits and veggies grown in it.”