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The happy microbiome: how to nourish all of yours - from mouth to gut to vagina

Genetically speaking, we are more microbe than human and, whether on our skin or up our nose, they are essential to our health. Here are simple ways to keep yours thriving.

We feel a strange sense of responsibility, in these #microbiome-aware times, towards the bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoa living in and on us. While we can’t see our tiny brethren, research has revealed their fundamental role in keeping us healthy and happy. Genetically speaking, we are more microbe than human. Even if we only count the microbes that live on our skin, says Adam Friedman, a professor of dermatology at George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, “We have more bacterial genes than we do human genes. Together, we are a superorganism.”

It is nigh on catastrophic, then, that so many typical 21st-century western behaviours – poor diet, obsessing over hygiene, sedentary jobs – are bad for our microbes. But at least now that we know, we can act. We are nothing without our bugs, so here is how to nurture them.

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