Gardening is good for the brain, and microbes in the soil could be the reason why.
Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have found that contact with soil dwelling Mycobacterium vaccae can improve cognitive function and mood.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry Dr Charles Raison says: “What’s remarkable is that this micro-organism seems to know how exactly to signal the brain areas we believe are most important for reducing depressive symptoms…. It’s like it immediately goes on a mainline right up to this one particular area of the brain.”
Access to trees and green spaces has been found to have positive effects on a wide range of conditions including obesity and depression. It’s hoped that further research could find that soil bacteria provides yet another tool in fighting depression.