As a mom of six, I have to tell you that this latest research makes me feel a whole lot better! I mean, c'mon – how many times have you looked at your kids after they've been playing outside – or even inside in various parts of your home – and looked at their hands and faces and gasped?
Kids are notorious for not only FINDING the dirtiest part of your home, but for apparently rolling in it!
In this day of pocket-sized hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, germ-killing air fresheners, dish soap, bar soaps, floor cleaners and even rug deodorizers, it sometimes seems that we are attempting to raise our kids as a modern-day ‘boy in the bubble.'
I don't know about you, but I don't have time to kill every germ in and around my home. And, despite that fact, I raised very healthy kiddos.
This is why I found the following article soooo interesting (and reassuring).
American researchers suggest, contrary to assumptions based on earlier studies, ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments in childhood contribute to higher levels of inflammation, which in turn increase the risk of wide ranging diseases in adulthood. Inflammation occurs when the body is fighting infection or injury.
Lead study author Thomas McDade, says exposure to infectious microbes early on in life offers protection from cardiovascular diseases that could lead to death in adulthood.
According to the research, to guide the development of inflammatory systems, a higher level of exposure to common everyday bacteria and microbes is required.
Using data from a longitudinal study of Filipinos that tracked participants in utero through age 22, the researchers examined C-reactive protein production i. e. a protein whose levels rise as a result of inflammation, and which is a risk factor for heart disease. In comparison with western countries, the Filipinos have a higher level of infectious diseases in early childhood.
McDade says, blood tests showed C-reactive protein to be at least 80 percent lower for study participants in the Philippines in young adulthood, relative to their American counterparts.
In conclusion, the study recommends letting children play in the mud and get a daily dose of germs and bacteria, which could help protect them from heart disease later in life.
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photo credit: stevendepolo Muddy Black Converse Sneakers Corduroy Pants Muddy Hike Hodenpyl Woods Park EGR April 28, 2013 15 (license)