Digging In: Soil Microbes and Our Health

Sink your hands into moist loam, feel the granules massage your fingertips, the heft of soil press against your skin. Lift a palmful to your nose and inhale the sweet, earthy scent, squeeze it into a ball, and then watch it crumble back apart. There’s something so satisfying and primal about the sensory experience of soil. Why is that?

A good part of my love affair with gardening is how it makes me feel. That’s why I was excited when I read research that offers some explanations for how dirt can lift my mood, and how contact with soil can treat anxiety, depression, and a host of inflammatory diseases.

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