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Basil plant in a pot Credit: Wikipedia

There is a simple and easy way to improve your skin microbiome and immune system, even if you live in the city - it's indoor gardening. A new study found that just 1 month of urban indoor gardening improves the skin microbiome (community of bacteria, viruses, fungi) and boosts the immune system.

What appeared to be critical for the skin and immune system health benefits was using a good quality soil, one with lots of microbes in it, such as a compost based soil.  Avoid peat based soil, which is commonly available, because it is not rich microbially. The researchers found that growing plants in the peat based soil did not have any health benefits.

The study used flower or planter boxes filled with soil, and 7 kinds of plants (lettuce, white mustard, radish, garlic, ginger, pea, and fava bean) were planted into them. A grow lightbulb was used in a lamp because the study started in winter. Fertilizer sticks were used in the peat based soil group, while nutrients came from the compost in the rich soil group.

The participants in the study were instructed to monitor, water, harvest, and then consume the produce. That's it.

Bottom line: Set some plants on a sunny windowsill or buy grow lights for some indoor plants. Make sure the soil is a rich soil (compost based) and not peat-based. Enjoy!

From Science Daily: Urban gardening may improve human health: Microbial exposure boosts immune system

A one-month indoor gardening period increased the bacterial diversity of the skin and was associated with higher levels of anti-inflammatory molecules in the blood demonstrated a collaborative study between the University of Helsinki, Natural Resources Institute Finland and Tampere University. ...continue reading "Growing Some Plants Indoors Benefits Skin and Immune System"