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In Search of the Perfect Gut Microbiome with a Tribe of Tanzanian Hunter-Gatherers

It might sound strange to say that humans have forgotten what human-food is, but many scientists believe this is the case. For thousands of years, the environment in which humans lived evolved at a glacial pace—our nutrition and culture changed slowly, and our bodies adapted to it at a matching tempo. More recently, however, our “habitats” have seen massive leaps in technological advancement, and our bodies have not been able to adapt fast enough to these changes, which risks our microbial systems falling out of sync.

Things like packaged long-life foods, super-sanitised water supplies, breast feeding being replaced by powdered formula milk, and an increase in C-section births have meant that the microbes living in and on our bodies are perhaps not as well adjusted to the world we live in. Jeff Leach, founder of the Human Food Project, believes that lots of our modern-world diseases point to a discordance with the ancient microbial world. He explains that “the biological reality that we are vessels to a vast microbial ecosystem is radically altering our basic understanding of medicine, nutrition, public health and the scientific foundation of what makes us sick.”

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