How The ‘Farm Effect’ Keeps Kids From Getting Sick
My children are almost never sick. They usually end up at the doctor’s office because they hurt themselves.
My wife and I have taught them the value of cleanliness and good personal hygiene, but we don’t rush them to the house every time they get their hands dirty.
I have embraced the same philosophy about high immunity with the kids as we do the livestock on the farm.
I believe if you work to keep the immune system strong, then when it encounters something foreign it can “learn from it” and recognize it in the future.
The Farm Effect
This philosophy is a radical departure from today’s germophobic society. Most people are using more antibacterial soaps, detergents and hand sanitizers than ever before. Society warns children not to get dirty and not to touch anything “filthy” — all in the name of trying to keep them healthy.
But researchers have observed the so-called “farm effect” — the low incidence of allergies and asthma in kids raised on farms — in central Europe for a long time.
In fact, Dr. Mark Holbreich teamed up with European colleagues to learn more about why Amish children have such low rates of allergies and asthma.
The going theory is this early exposure to the diverse potential allergens and pathogens on a farm trains the immune system to recognize them, but not overreact to the harmless ones.
So it turns out that science may agree with my philosophy.
It’s always good to have some research to back up your own convictions, but I think it’s pretty obvious if you look at it simplistically.
Amish kids are working on the farm at a young age. They are eating a lot of farm food and not nearly as much processed foods. Many of them are drinking raw milk as soon they are weaned from mom.
Contrast that with a child in front of the television or game system with very little biological diversity in a small backyard, and it can be tough to test your immune system as thoroughly as someone on a homestead farm who is introduced to all the little microbes (good and bad) that can be found there.
My advice: Let your kids play outside instead of trying to keep them as clean and sterile as possible and they’ll likely stimulate their immune system in ways that only nature can accomplish.
Here’s some tips to keep their immune system running at a high level:
1) Reduce sugar/fructose intake.
2) Eat off the farm — plenty of unprocessed pure foods.
3) Consume lots of good bacteria such as sauerkraut, kefir and other fermented foods.
4) Get plenty of sleep.
If you work on these four areas it can really give your children’s health a boost.
So take your kids outside and let them get dirty. If you don’t live on a homestead farm, then go visit one, or take them camping, hiking — something. It’ll do their immune system some good and their soul, too!
Do you agree or disagree with the farm effect? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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