As a child, did you ever make dirt pies in your backyard with your friends or siblings? Thousands of children enjoy exercising their creativity this way, and as it turns out, their choice of ingredient may have something to it. Cultures around the world have practiced clay-eating or “geophagia” for hundreds of years, and as strange as “eating dirt” may seem to modern societies, certain types of clay have proven health benefits. Keep reading to learn more. |
Evidence of geophagia can be found in tribal/traditional societies everywhere from Native America to Australia, including South America, Greece, some Asian countries and more. The oldest known evidence dates about two million years back, to before humans were officially “human”! The mere fact that the practice originated in so many unconnected cultures speaks to its effectiveness, as it’s been tried, tested, and accepted by not just one people group, but by many.
Health Benefits of Eating Clay
In poor cultures without access to rich sources of certain nutrients, clay was useful for preventing mineral deficiencies, as certain varieties contain dozens of different minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and silica. Without the clay in their diets, poor people ran the risk of malnutrition.
But clay’s usefulness extends beyond its nutritional content. Today, in countries where most people have access to the provisions they need to sustain their health on that basic level, clay is used for its other benefits. One of its primary applications is as a digestive aid and toxin remover. As clay passes through the digestive system, its binding properties help clean damaging heavy metals like mercury and lead, out of your body. It also alkalises the body and helps to relieve digestive difficulties like constipation and indigestion.
Other reported benefits include:
Boosting your immune system Increased energy and alertness Clearer skin Improved tooth and gum health Anti-ageing effects
How to Use Clay in Your Diet
Before you go out digging around ponds and lakes looking for clay deposits, there are some other things to keep in mind. First, not all types of clay are equal: bentonite clay is the best kind for internal use, and kaolin clay is a gentle cosmetic clay that you can use externally to detoxify the skin or relieve inflammation. And secondly, using clay straight from the ground opens you up to the possibility of ingesting parasites or exposing yourself to other toxins or infections.
Luckily, today there are many companies that sell safe, professionally tested clay supplements. Look for them in health food stores or shop online.
Your friends and family might give you strange looks when you tell them you’ve started eating clay…but when you take into account the entirety of history, they just might be the odd ones out!
Have you tried eating clay or know someone who has? Comment and tell me about your experience!
For more natural health tips visit our blog at: http://www.alkalife.com.au/blog
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