Let Your Kids Eat Dirt - They Will Become Smarter
When I used to see my toddler and 4-year old dueling on the sand-filled play-area, I would be on the willies…about the looming “Operation-Clean drive”, which would be carried out for soiled hands and feet, and of course mud-smeared faces. And then the impending doom of infections, bacteria creeping into the teeny-weeny bodies. So much so that I tried to wean them from “dirt-play-ways”, till I read about an article, which described that eating dirt will make your kids smarter.
What a paradox! All the while, the very essence of health and hygiene has primarily focused on children to keep them clean and ward off bacteria and viruses. But eating dirt to make your kids smarter was unbelievable till I gathered further information, which I am going to share with you.
How eating dirt makes your kids smarter?
Recent research has shown that certain bacteria(Mycobacterium vaccae) present in soil has inherent capabilities to travel through complex mazes in the brain. The experiment was conducted by scientist on a bunch of mice, where the bacteria’s navigation capability was observed.
The bacteria also have a positive effect on the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a mood-uplifting chemical and its fluctuating levels can lead to mood swings; and low levels can lead to perpetual mood disorders. Additionally, apart from playing a vital role in serotonin synthesis, the soil-borne bacteria can also help a great deal in reducing levels of anxiety and stimulating the growth of brain-neurons- Reason enough to believe that eating dirt will make your kids smarter.
The research has been given a shot in the arm (open appreciation) by Kidsafe NSW Playground Advisory Unit program manager Kate Fraser, who feels that new avenues of child-engagement and play-ways can open up, from the scientific perspective. According to Fraser, children need creativity and challenges, to keep themselves engaged. The playground should be made safer but with space for controlled risks to exploit the potential of playing and ‘absorbing’.
While there are associated hazards of kids playing around potting mix, the positive potential needs to be tapped.
The study has been published in the November 2010 issue of Kidsafe NSW's playgrounds newsletter.
So, after reading the news snippet, though weird it sounded at first, I have mustered the guts to let my children out in the open, with no reins pulling them, when soiled with dirt, because as they say “Eating dirt makes your kids smarter”, and well the Mother ‘wiser’.
Photo Courtesy : topnews.in