The five-second rule seems alive and well. In fact, one Denver doctor suggests we could probably eat the dirt from which we drop our food into. I have long lived by the five-second rule, even eating the occasional piece of toast that fell upside down. Cringe if you must.

The basis for the idea from a doctor who treats allergies, is that we need more exposure to the natural world. In a story published in the Star Tribune, Dr. Meg Lemon says, "I tell people, when they drop food on the floor, please pick it up and eat it." She believes our immune system is getting too much of a free pass. "Get rid of the anti-bacterial soap."

She claims allergies are getting worse as well do more to artificially help our immune system.

Growing up, my father always said a little dirt made you healthier. I was just happy that I didn't have to sweep so much. But maybe he was onto something. And with my little brother and me, there was usually some dirt being dragged into and around the house.

I'm not sure my wife is on board with that approach, as we do keep our floors cleaner than what I grew up with. She is a little more comfortable with the five-second rule than how I grew up.

The article also sites a paper that says, "allergic diseases were prevented by infection in early childhood," implying that younger siblings are less likely to develop certain allergies as they are exposed to germs from their older kin.

I guess, technically, the doctor never, literally said, "Eat dirt." So chalk this up as a misleading headline, if you must. And I usually brush off all the dirt I can before I finish eating what I just dropped on the ground.

Source: "The Dirty Truth," Startribune.com, Sunday, March 31