“Crazy” Way to Protect Your Mental Edge
When I was growing up, grandmothers were founts of homey wisdom. They had sayings for every occasion. Including when food hit the floor.
Without missing a beat, most grandmothers would pick it up, rinse it off with a little water and go on preparing dinner.
Our grandmothers – many of whom lived through the Great Depression – were just being thrifty. But they were right. Back in their day, everyone was exposed to a lot of dirt and a lot of bacteria.
Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot cleaner. Weekly baths have turned into daily showers. Household cleaners and disinfectants are everywhere. And most of our soaps are now anti-bacterial. As a society, we’ve never been so squeaky clean.
And that may be a big problem when it comes to maintaining a sharp mind.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge recently compared populations in 192 countries. And they discovered the “hygiene hypothesis” may be more far-reaching than anyone suspected.
The hygiene hypothesis links the cleanliness craze to growing rates of breathing problems, environmental sensitivities and other health problems. Basically, it says, we’ve gotten so clean, our immune systems never fully develop. So we get sick more.
Now the Cambridge team has linked the same problem to our brains.
They looked at data on the big differences between rich and poor countries. They found your chances of serious mental decline grow the further you are from exposure to the “friendly microbes” which stimulate immune system development.1
When you’re not exposed to enough of these microbes, your body may not fully develop certain defensive cells. This includes a kind of T-cell that fights inflammation linked to serious mental decline.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you should abandon all cleanliness. But the crazy truth is that living a little “dirtier” may help us hold on to our mental edge. For example:
- Play in the dirt. Get outdoors more often. Get your hands dirty. Garden, hike, enjoy nature… For instance, there are more than 500 National Wildlife Refuges you can visit, and most Americans live within an hour of at least one.
- Open your windows. We’ve made our houses so energy-efficient, we can practically use them for ping bells. They’re insulated, wrapped and supplied with a heated/air-conditioned atmosphere year round. When you can, open up the windows and let real air into your house.
- Get over the anti-bacterial craze. You don’t have to disinfect every surface in your house. And you definitely don’t need to wash with anti-bacterial soap. Studies show that anti-bacterial soap is no more effective than the old-fashioned kind, anyway.
According to the study’s lead author, people with one of the most common causes of mental decline have very similar T-cell profiles as people with immune dysfunctions. As crazy as it sounds, you may be able to cut your risk of memory and thinking trouble… just by being a little “dirtier.”
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Fox, M., et al, “Hygiene and the world distribution of Alzheimer’s Disease,” Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. Aug 11, 2013; eot015.
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