Dig In! 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Dirt

Photo by: iStockphoto
Prevent Parasites & Pathogens
According to Dr. Sera Young of Cornell University, the most likely of the theories is that eating mud protects the body from pathogens, parasites, ... more 
Photo by: iStockphoto
Prevent Parasites & Pathogens
According to Dr. Sera Young of Cornell University, the most likely of the theories is that eating mud protects the body from pathogens, parasites, and plant toxins. It's suspected to be due to the clay's ability to bind things - perhaps the clay is binding the toxins before they can make you sick. This theory would explain why children and pregnant women are the most common dirt eaters. Clay may even have properties that protect against malaria.
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Wed, Sep 18, 2013 12:59 PM EDT
Do you remember your childhood days, playing in the puddles and making mud pies after a good summer rain? There was always one kid that would actually try to eat the mud pie. (No comment on whether I was that kid or not.) Well instead of making fun of that kid, maybe we should have been imitating him. Turns out eating dirt might be good for your health after all. "Mud cakes," clay mixed with salt and shortening, appeared in the news quite a bit after the Haiti earthquake. Often called "bon bons de terre" (or earthy bons bons), they are baked in the sun then sold dirt cheap (pardon the pun.) Following the earthquake there were headlines like "Haitians So Poor They Resort to Eating Dirt"and "Dirt Poor Haitians Eat Mud Pies." It tugged and pulled at your heartstrings imagining these people so hungry that they're eating the dirt off the ground. While there is truth to the fact that this did happen more due to poverty, that isn't always the case. Many cultures actually eat dirt not to satisfy their hunger, but perhaps as a way of staying healthy. - By Heather Neal



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