Why the 5 second rule is good for your immune system

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 27 March 2018

Have you ever dropped a piece of food on the floor, shrugged your shoulders, and then picked it up and ate it anyway? I know I have. Not usually in front of other people though.

Here are 3 reasons why eating a little dirt is not really that bad for us and surprise, it might actually be good for us!

  1. Exposure to dirt increases our exposure to different microbes.
  2. Our health depends on maintaining a robust and diverse community of microbes in our gut.
  3. If the immune system is deprived of microbial exposure, it remains sloppy and immature,  and ultimately unable to fight off diseases properly.

Never before have children grown up so clean. Phrases like, “Don’t play in the mud!” or “Don’t touch that, it’s dirty!” have become second nature. Hand sanitizer is present everywhere you turn in schools, it can be found easily in mom's purse,  and it's even hanging off of children's backpacks.

We need to unlearn the thought that dirt is bad.

By preventing babies and children from following their innate impulse to get dirty, we shield them from the microbial exposure that is essential for the development of a healthy immune system.

Now I would love to hear from you! What do you think about the idea of letting kids get dirty to benefit their immune system? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday.

One Reply to “Why the 5 second rule is good for your immune system”


I am total agreement with did and as a child did eat dirt and mud pies. lol

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