English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips > 新闻选读

Why eating dirt can be good for you... and act as a shield for your stomach

[ 2011-06-07 12:32]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009




 Dining on dirt, or geophagy, is common among many cultures and has been reported in almost every country in the world.

Parents who have watched in horror as their young children stuff a handful of mud into their mouths while playing in the garden can relax.

For research suggests that eating mud or clay could actually be good for the stomach.

Dining on dirt, or geophagy, is common among many cultures and has been reported in almost every country in the world.

Now more than 480 cultural accounts of the practice — by missionaries, plantation doctors and explorers — have been analysed by researchers at Cornell University in New York.

While no one is suggesting that mud should be the new fad diet, the study, in The Quarterly Review of Biology, found the most plausible explanation for geophagy could be that earth acts as a shield against ingested parasites and plant toxins.

People may also crave dirt because it provides nutrients they lack such as iron, zinc, or calcium, the research found.

Dr Sera Young, who led the study, said the first written account of human geophagy comes from Hippocrates more than 2,000 years ago.

The researchers said: "We hope this paper stimulates more research.

"More importantly, we hope readers agree it is time to stop regarding geophagy as a bizarre, non-adaptive gustatory mistake.

"With these data, it is clear that geophagy is a widespread behaviour in humans that occurs during both vulnerable life stages and when facing ecological conditions that require protection. "

"We found that it was pregnant women and young children who are eating clay, those who are the most vulnerable to infectious diseases," Young said. "It was occurring where the pathogen density was higher, in warm, moist climates."

In studies on rabbits and rats, researchers found that clay in the intestines can act as a barrier, stopping the entrance of viruses and bacteria. It has also been shown that it can help increase nutrient absorption, which is important during early pregnancy and the childhood years for growth.

That isn't actually a new idea: Clay has been used as a stomach soother, including in the antidiarrheal medicine Kaopectate, whose name comes from the clay kaolinite. The drug's manufacturers stopped using the clay in the medicine because of contamination issues with lead.








(中国日报网英语点津 Helen )