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Experts stunned by results of 'wild' diet study and its effects on our health — here's what they discovered

Participants lost an average of over 12 pounds — or 16% of their body weight.

Participants lost an average of over 12 pounds — or 16% of their body weight.

Photo Credit: iStock

A group of 26 volunteers set out to prove just how healthy a wild diet can be by living on foraged food for one to three months, Positive News reports.

The Wildbiome Project, a "citizen science" study, was led by Scotland-based foraging expert Monica Wilde. Wilde herself lived on foraged food for all of 2021, and she organized this group to expand on that experiment in the spring of 2023.

Participants' diets included wild greens, mushrooms, pigeon, rabbit, fish, and acorns. They also supplemented their selection with chicken eggs, since it's illegal to eat wild bird eggs in both the U.K. and the U.S., and added a few other items like fruit and seaweed.

Richard Mawby, another foraging expert, was one of the study's participants. Speaking about the acorns that were a staple of his diet, he told Positive News, "Ground into flour, they make great cookies and crackers. I even use them to make porridge."

Mawby reported that he lost roughly 44 pounds in the three months. That was a common theme for participants who started with a high body weight; Positive News reveals that they lost an average of over 12 pounds — or 16% of their body weight.

The foragers also measured their health in other ways. One participant with diabetes, foraging teacher Matthew Rooney, claimed that it took only 10 days to bring his blood sugar under control.

Nutrition science company Zoe also provided tests to monitor the health of beneficial microbes in the participants' guts. The group raised its average score from 52 to 65.

Getting outside more and eating more fruits and veggies is a known way to improve health. Studies have shown health benefits for gardeners, who get more exercise and eat more fiber. Plus, they save money, and they pollute less by not buying produce that has been shipped long-distance.

Foragers can expect many of the same benefits — but Wilde also credits the diversity of a foraged diet for the participants' improved health.

"Even incorporating a few wild foods could be beneficial," she told Positive News, recommending blanched nettle tips in spring as a starting point. "I can't think of a better way to get iron into your system."

"The project was a breath of fresh air," Mawby added.

If you go out foraging, just make sure to get your info about edible species from a reliable source, since some recent AI-generated sources are dangerously unreliable.

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