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Good Bacteria May Hold Key to Madonna’s Health

The secret to Madonna’s staying power may be surprisingly simple: gardening.

What the pop star does involves no trowel or soil. Thanks to dishes of fermented soy beans, millet and brown rice prepared by her personal chef, Mayumi Nishimura, Madonna practices a form of inner horticulture — cultivating her intestinal flora in a burgeoning alternative approach to health.

Studies of the trillions of bacteria living on and in the body suggest the Material Girl, 53, may be onto something. By eating foods rich in fiber and laced with so-called good bacteria, she may be encouraging helpful microbes to flourish in her bowel, aiding in food digestion and vitamin extraction and possibly staving off diseases from asthma to colon cancer.

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