Even if it is, we're still not adding it to our food pyramid! Yuck!
New research studying geophagy, the act of eating earthly substances such as soil or clay, has found that it may be good for the stomach.
People all over the world have been eating dirt for thousands of years and even now in the 21st century, it has been observed on all 7 continents.
A new study published in the June issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology has attempted to find WHY people eat dirt or the benefit dirt has for our body by studying a database of more than 480 cultural accounts of geophagy.
Hypothesis' included extreme hunger, nutritional value, or protection earth offers the stomach. It seems the most likely reason was actually to protect the stomach from gastrointestinal stress!
The data showed it most likely did not cause any stomach issues because the type of clay people usually eat is not only boiled, but comes from deep in the ground, where pathogens and parasites are unlikely to contaminate it.
While more research is needed, the team agreed the data they collected pointed overwhelmingly toward the ingestion of dirt as a means to protect the stomach from bacteria, writing:
"With these data, it is clear that geophagy is a widespread behavior in humans … that occurs during both vulnerable life stages and when facing ecological conditions that require protection."
So does this mean we don't have to spend money on Pepto-Bismol anymore? LOLz! JK, we'll splurge when it comes to alleviating stomach pain and stick to the pink stuff!
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: benefit, continents, geophagy, nutrition, pain, protection, research, stomach, study, world