Let them eat dirt! Our obsession with hygiene is jeopardizing our children’s health

By Eleanor Steafal


It’s a nerve-wrecking time to be a parent. Every week, mothers are chastised with the seemingly endless list of chronic childhood illnesses their little ones might contract, from autoimmune diseases like eczema or asthma to nut allergies, dairy intolerances, to behavioral disorders such as ADHD.

But what if we could prevent early-onset health issues simply by making our kids roll around in the dirt?  In her new book Healthy Food, Healthy Gut, Happy Child, Dr Maya Shetreat-Klein advocates a lifestyle centered around contact with the microbes present in soil.

“Parents today are keeping their children away from the things that are critical to their health,” says Dr Shetreat-Klein, a pediatric neurologist and mother-of-three from New York. “We are sanitizing their lives with cleaning products, pesticides and antibiotics.”

Recent research from the journal Occupational Environmental shows that children exposed to bleach actually have more, not fewer infections – including a 20 per cent higher risk of coming down with the flu, she points out.

“Microbes, fresh food from healthy soil, time spent in nature, can improve our children’s health immeasurably. No drug can do what being in the forest can.”

Read more here.

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