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Eating Clay – The Good and The Bad

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In an interview, “Divergent” actress Shailene Woodley shared an uncanny conversation with an African taxi driver from whom she learned the benefits of eating clay, especially to pregnant women. She revealed that clay is great for your body and flushes out the heavy metals from your body. She told David Letterman,

“(Clay) is one of the best things you can put in your body. One of my friends was making a clay toothpaste that you swallow instead of spit out. But I first heard about the benefits of eating clay from a taxi driver. He was African and was saying that, where he’s from, the women eat clay when they’re pregnant. Seriously—ask your taxi drivers where they are from and about their customs. You will learn a lot. So, I've discovered that clay is great for you because your body doesn’t absorb it, and it apparently provides a negative charge, so it bonds to negative isotopes. And, this is crazy: it also helps clean heavy metals out of your body.”

Clay is no longer for your face as part of your daily skin care routine. It is now a part of some people’s diet. While many of us associate clay with art class and our the teacher constantly reminds her students not to put anything in their mouth, this edible clay is apparently centuries old health and beauty fad in Africa.

The Good

Eating clay is a practice of some indigenous cultures because they have no access to certain nutrients essential for their diet. Clay has iron and minerals in it that our body requires daily. The following are the main benefits of eating clay:

1. The body does not absorb it

One of the benefits of clay is the fact that the body cannot absorb it. If you are looking an effective way to start a diet, try ingesting a dose of clay each day. Unlike other diet regimens such as protein-based or plant-based diets, eating clay makes you feel full, but it just passes through the body.

2. It detoxifies your insides

According to Kotz, Treichel, and Townsend, authors of textbook Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity, in certain cultures, clay is eaten to relieve stomach pains as it absorbs excess gastric acid as well as potentially harmful bacteria and their toxins. It absorbs or bonds with the negatively-charged toxins or heavy metals in your body and will be flushed out of your system. It improves your digestive tract when ingested by removing the toxins. Even when you apply clay externally, it removes infections and toxins from your pores.

3. It has therapeutic capabilities

Rich in earth’s minerals and natural ingredients, clay is believed to have medicinal properties. According to Dr. Michele Berman, a physician that runs Celebrity Diagnosis, one certain type of clay called kaolin is used to cure diarrhea. As it flushes out the toxins, it cleanses the liver and colon. Dr. Berman also added that kaolin clay “can interfere with the absorption of some drugs, such as the heart medicine digoxin, and antibiotics clindamycin, and lincomycin”. Clay is also hailed to do wonders on your skin – making it clearer and smoother.

4. It strengthens the immune system

While clay bonds remove the toxins out of the system, it helps with the absorption of nutrients needed by the body to stay healthy. Moreover, clay acts as a catalyst that hastens chemical reactions that occur in the body. As a result, it releases energy quickly needed by the body to function. This is backed up by researchers from Howard hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) who claimed that clay assisted on the assembly of the fatty acids that evolved to the first living organism.

The Bad

Some people believed that eating clay may also pose some harm. Clay absorbs metal in your system and it may absorb iron, which is essential to one’s health. Therefore, people with anemia should consult experts first before joining the bandwagon. Eating clay in small amounts may not have an instant effect, but binging clay could cause constipation and other complications.

Today, personal testimonials and scientific studies are making more people aware of the benefits of eating clay. Although the benefits outweigh the risks, it is important to seek expert advice before starting any health and beauty regimen.