Could gardening relieve your depression?
Would you be surprised to learn the answer is yes?
We’ve talked before about those happy chemicals produced in our gut by the microbes we ingest as probiotics. We know they play an important role in keeping our gut healthy and increasing our overall vitality. Now researchers are discovering other ways we can trigger our natural production of those happy chemicals AND that they can keep depression at bay.
All you have to do is get your fingers dirty!
Gardening is a hobby many of us already enjoy. If you’ve ever wanted to create and nurture a garden of your own, or you’ve fallen out of sync with your soil, now is the time to rediscover your love of growing your own delicious harvest of happiness.
This is how it works.
The probiotics in our gut influence two important neurotransmitters that boost our immune system and keep us happy:
- Serotonin – a happy chemical, and natural antidepressant
- Dopamine – triggers a state of bliss or mild euphoria
Getting your hands dirty puts you in contact with probiotics like Mycobacterium vaccae. This particular probiotic triggers the release of serotonin in our nervous system and produces an antidepressant effect while it boosts our immune system. The act of harvesting the fruits and vegetables of our labor activates the reward center of our brain releasing dopamine. These increases in our body’s natural antidepressants lift our mood and relieve depression.
New research is even showing us dirt is good for us! In fact, “dirt deficiency” in childhood is suspected to contribute to such illnesses as allergies, asthma and mental disorders. Being separated from the naturally occurring probiotics in our soil is actually keeping us from being our most healthy.
Growing up on a farm I was not dirt deficient. There were plenty of opportunities to work and play in the dirt. Many of today’s children are isolated from the experience of getting good and dirty. Imagine never having made a mud pie!
As an adult, I stick to growing herbs and vegetables in pots and plots in my neighbourhood. This still allows me to ‘play in dirt’ which is good for my mental, emotional, and physical health. I do go the extra step be sure my potting mix is organic and my dirt is enriched with mushroom soil and still contains the beneficial probiotics so I enjoy the natural mood boosting affects even without having a lot of acreage.
Ensuring your soil is organic and not contaminated with glyphosate based herbicides, present in products such as Roundup, is an important part of realizing the maximum benefits of gardening. These chemicals have done permanent damage to our soils, the crops we grow, and the animals we raise. Once in our bodies these powerful antibiotics destroy our normal microbes (probiotics) just as they destroy the microbes in our soils. They are also a chelating agent that removes minerals from our soils and vegetation, meaning there are less nutrients in the foods we eat. (See our article on the missing nutrients in your food.)
Don’t be fooled. The manufacturers of these chemicals will dispute researchers’ claims about the damage their products do. However, science is providing more and more evidence to support their negative effects on our food supply and our health.
Unfortunately, most of the population is regularly exposed to these chemicals just by getting dressed in the morning! Much of the cotton used in clothing manufacturing is grown with soil treated with glyphosate based chemicals which transfer into our bodies through our skin. (I’ve often wondered if these garments can be washed free of the chemical and if their presence may explain why there is so much intestinal trouble in society these days.)
The removal of the serotonin and dopamine making organisms in from the soils that produce our food and nourish our animals affects our entire food chain. This may account for why we psychiatrist are seeing so much anxiety and depression these days, all the happiness has been leeched from our food!
Are there solutions?
At best we can take probiotics daily to offset the disruption in our gut due to the unfortunate presence of glyphosate in our food supply. This problem is too large in scope to discuss in full, but know we are in big trouble while the rest of the world is rejecting what we are accepting. All of the genetically modified foods, (GMOs) are associated with glyphosate. Their genes can alter our genes after we consume GMO foods. Again, other countries do not allow GMO foods into their food supply.
I can think of no better time in human history than now to consider ways to safely produce food. I encourage you to discuss the conclusions found in Health Impact News with those you care about. Until the next time, I wish you conscious living!
For more information please read – “Is Glyphosate Responsible for your Health Problems?”, By John P. Thomas