Pike's nursery has the slogan, "Come play in the dirt again." Pike's is trying to sell plants, but their slogan might be a great health plan.
You've probably heard that gardening is great for your health. But I'm not talking about the exercise you get by gardening. And I'm not talking about the great food you get from planting a garden. While those are great, I'm actually talking about being in the dirt ... getting dirty. Why on earth would I want you, your kids, and your grand kids playing in the dirt? Because it could be a great way to avoid Alzheimer's.
A study out of Britain wanted to know if hygiene plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's. We've been told that cleanliness is next to godliness. And we know that it can help stave off some illnesses. But this study found that staying too clean can have an adverse effect on your brain.
In this study, the researchers looked at how many parasites and the diversity of these organisms in people from 192 countries. Then they compared their results with the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in those same countries. What they found was quite surprising. Most of us would think that the countries with the fewest parasites and microbial diversity would have the lowest rates of Alzheimer's. But that's not what they found.
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Remarkably, they found that the countries that were the cleanest (the highest degree of hygiene) had the highest rates of Alzheimer's. In other words, the more bugs a country has, the lower the rate of Alzheimer's.
So what does this mean? No, I'm not going to recommend that we change our hygiene habits. Cleanliness still has other positive effects that we don't want to give up. And, no, I'm not going to suggest going out and getting a parasite. I've had one – and they're not fun. How about playing in the dirt? This is a great idea, but it's only a partial solution.
Instead, we have to look at the key to staying away from Alzheimer's. In this study, the key was the microbial diversity in their gut. Having a lot of beneficial bacteria in your gut could dramatically reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
All of this means that you can do your brain a great service simply by paying attention to your gut. Do all you can to increase the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Start by watching what you eat. Make sure you get at least 30 grams of fiber each day. This will keep things moving. You don't want food staying in your gut and rotting.
Then, make sure you take a good probiotic every day. I recommend Advanced Probiotic Formula. But it's a good idea to take other strands as well. Remember, the diversity of bugs was a big factor in preventing Alzheimer's.
Finally, avoid antibiotics as much as you can. Take them only when your life could be in danger. Taking them for non-life-threatening illnesses might help you recover faster, but then you could suffer with years of gut problems and perhaps even Alzheimer's. It's not a good trade.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Fox, Molly, Leslie A. Knapp, Paul W. Andrews, and Corey L. Fincher. “Hygiene and the world distribution of Alzheimer’s Disease,” Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, August 11, 2013.