If you have ever felt less anxious, less stressed, and generally happier after spending some time in your garden, there is a scientific reason for this. The Mycobacterium vaccae, which are present in healthy soil, has been proven to alter brain chemistry in the same way that antidepressants do. That is because this bacteria activates the release of serotonin in the brain, also known as the “happiness hormone.” Working in the garden, or even walking through the woods, can provide you with enough of a dose to lift your mood! This is a very stressful time for many people, but, fortunately, we have the natural world around us ready to help pick us up when we need some relief. Read on to learn more about how you can benefit from this healthy soil, and what nutrients can help both plants and people.
How You Can Use Soil To Boost Your Mood
There are plenty of ways for you to reap the benefits of healthy soil and Mycobacterium vaccae. If you are a gardener, or if you have been considering taking it up, now is a perfect time to invest time into your garden. You can plant flowers to improve the appearance of your home, or you can plant a variety of vegetables. Alternatively, if you have a nature trail or forest near you, you can walk a path for a half hour or hour once a day to not only enjoy the fresh air and the break from being inside but to absorb the positive influence of the healthy soil. You will come back inside, feeling less anxious, more relaxed, and generally happier.
How Serotonin Can Improve Mental Performance
Serotonin is also a hormone that plays a part in our ability to focus and learn. A 2010 study found that mice exposed to M. vaccae were able to navigate a maze twice as fast as their bacteria-free counterparts. The brains of mice are simpler than humans, but they work on similar principles. These studies show that mammals can learn better with the help of soil-borne bacteria. This means that taking some time to garden will not only improve your mood but keep your mind sharp and focused on any task.
The 18 Nutrients Necessary for Healthy Soil and Plant Growth
The bacteria and fungi present in the soil help to break down organic matter and solubilize nutrients into plant-usable forms. The plants then attract and signal microbes to deliver nutrients by secreting compounds. Soil contains about 18 macronutrients and micronutrients, which help to support plant health, as well as human health! The healthier the soil is, the healthier the soil bacteria will be. To function at its best, your soil requires the following nutrients:
- Micronutrients: manganese, zinc, copper, iron, boron, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, molybdenum, calcium, chlorine, and silicon.
- Macronutrients: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
- And, of course: oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.
This April is the perfect time to start digging and preparing your gardens for the upcoming planting season. You will not only give yourself an appealing garden for summer, but you will relieve stress and boost your happiness daily with the help of naturally produced soil serotonin.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!