Do you understand how healthy soil creates strong immune systems? When you do, you’ll be even more excited about sustainable agriculture.
Knowing what you know about building strong immune systems, would you feed your family chemical-laden unhealthy food on purpose? Of course not! You put a ton of thought and effort into your diet, with the goal of promoting long-term health. Perhaps you eat only organic produce, or you make every effort to avoid GMOs. That’s a great start toward building strong immune systems.
However, it may not be enough. You may be missing an important part of organic diets and farming if you forget about the soil itself. Healthy soil ultimately creates strong immune systems. Yet, the sad truth is that even the most health-conscious among us eat food grown in less than ideal soil.
For years, scientists have aimed for more effective treatments against bacteria and parasites. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be driven out of an environment for good. In trying to wipe out certain problems, we simply put a bandage on them. Once the bandage is ripped off, the issue comes back worse than before. It’s crucial for us to understand what goes into a truly healthy immune system. Studying soil and changing how we farm help us protect ourselves and future generations.
Poor Immune Systems on the Farm
Your immune system uses more energy than any other system within your body. That being said, the immune system is not strictly essential to life. It’s arguably less important in the short-term than your circulatory system, central nervous system, and respiratory system. If stressors in your environment impact your body, the immune system is the first to shut down. Believe it or not, you can survive for a while without full immune system function.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to destroy your immune system when it’s in a less than ideal environment. That’s when serious long-term problems crop up. The perfect example of the perils of failing to build a strong immune system? Just look at hogs and their response to roundworms.
Farmers know it’s important to address these parasites, which lay thousands of eggs every day. These eggs can survive in hostile environments for up to ten years. During this time, birds or other animals may spread them to new hosts. These eggs are hardy. That’s why, following medication-based roundworm treatments, hogs become infected almost immediately. Although the medication kills off the roundworms, hogs promptly ingest unaffected eggs. Unfortunately, they are not capable of combating the problem with their immune systems alone.
Medication’s Impact on Strong Immune Systems
Medication can be an effective short-term solution. However, it can easily backfire. Masking the issue with drugs makes it hard for farmers to choose hogs best-suited to survive roundworms and other issues naturally. There’s a better long-term solution. We can promote reproduction among the healthiest hogs with the most robust immune systems. Ideal immune systems may take generations to achieve, but over time, it’s worth the effort.
Hogs are by no means the only focus in the quest to improve immune system function. We see the same effects in guinea fowl. These birds often have gapeworms in their tracheas. Gapeworms have little impact on healthy guinea fowl. But they can prove deadly for some birds. Although there are no reliable treatments for gapeworm, nature takes care of the problem over time. The birds that naturally stand up to gapeworms reproduce and future generations thrive.
Weston A. Price: Applying Immune System Principals to Humans
The concepts outlined above apply to any animal, including humans. If we rely solely on medication to treat common health issues, we create more problems for future generations.
Until now, the scientific community held little regard for this philosophy. Thankfully, that’s beginning to change. New research shows the value of a more holistic approach to general health and wellbeing. People are less eager just to swallow medication without a second thought these days. Now we understand that conventional medical treatments can cause physical and mental health concerns.
Today’s researchers look to the wisdom of Weston A. Price, a pioneer in the fields of nutrition and dentistry. Price is the famed researcher behind the acclaimed book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.” He traveled the world in hopes of determining which habits made people healthier. After years of research, he concluded that the healthiest people lived in indigenous communities. These individuals boasted straighter backs, stronger teeth, and fewer cavities.
Price’s efforts ultimately led to the creation of holistic dentistry. Holistic dentists don’t stop with just teeth. They consider the patient’s full physical and emotional health when addressing oral health issues. Price believed that stellar health results from the nutritional and physical habits he noted in the indigenous communities he observed.
New pioneers are now building on the work of Price and other researchers to delve into relatively unexplored areas. Gabe Brown presents one of the most compelling arguments. He says the healthiest people consume food from the healthiest soil. Our soil is one of our most essential resources. Brown believes healthy soil comes from the holistic integration of no-till crops and grazing. He also emphasizes species diversity. Most importantly, Brown recommends avoiding synthetic pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers.
Healthy Soil and the Real Meaning of Sustainable Farming
“Sustainable agriculture” is a hot catch-phrase these days. Typically, when people think sustainable, they picture renewable energy. However, sustainable should not refer merely to Mother Nature’s health. The concept should also apply to all beings that inhabit Earth — including humans. We can ensure better health by promoting the healthiest possible soil. When we do, we ultimately address all aspects of sustainability.
Today is an exciting time in the fields of health science and sustainable agriculture. We continue to uncover clues that teach us how to boost long-term health and nutrition. Holistic health experts are discovering that the secret lies in the soil where our food grows. Sustainable agriculture starts from the ground up.
Want to learn more about how healthy soil creates strong immune systems? We’d love to help! Educating today’s farmers is an important part of the Chickadee Hills Homestead mission. Let’s continue this important discussion; get in touch with us today.