Fermented soy beans and seaweed every second day: Madonna's chef on the intestinal 'gardening' that helps singer look so good at 53
19:39 GMT, 15 May 2012
The reason Madonna can still call herself a Material Girl may be down to the goings on in her gut.
That the energetic pop queen is still rocking stadiums and flexing enviable abs at 53 is in part thanks to a macrobiotic diet that encourages the growth of bacteria in her bowel which staves off illness and keeps her insides in tip-top condition.
Helped by her personal chef, Mayumi Nishimura, Madonna eats a combination of whole grains, vegetables and seaweed with miso, soy and tempeh that help nurture her intestinal flora.
Still going: Madonna's longevity may be thanks to her strict macrobiotic diet that encourages a healthy constitution in which bacteria can flourish
This type of friendly bacteria is known to aid food digestion, vitamin extraction and help ward off all types of diseases.
One doctor who approves of the singer's regime is David Topping, chief food-nutrition researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Adelaide.
He told Vancouver Sun: 'This diet that Madonna is following is very sensible. The bacteria that live inside you are fulfilling very important functions.'
Scientists and nutritionists frequently refer to caring for the microbes in the bowel as an exercise in 'gardening'.
Good for the gut: Madonna's diet includes a combination of whole grains, miso and seaweed and excludes dairy, meat and coffee
As the singer consumes her daily diet of healthy edibles, she is effectively planting the flowers that will let other flowers flourish and ensuring that 'weeds' do not grow as bacteria feeds off parts of her bowel.
Ingesting this friendly intestinal bacteria, known as probiotics, has long been hailed as a way to support a healthy immune system and some studies have even linked bowl-dwelling bacteria to autism and obesity.
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Food companies like Danone have jumped on the probiotic bandwagon in the past with products such as Activia yoghurt but when it comes to Madonna's diet no meat, dairy or coffee is allowed.
Ms Nishimura, 55, told the Vancouver Sun: 'We eat food processed as little as possible.'
The chef, who used to cook for cancer patients, is now responsible for looking after one of the world's most famous bodies and takes on the challenge from sourcing ingredients to crafting the meals.
A few of the star's favourite dishes, she told the Sun, are seaweed in miso soup; hijiki seaweed served with carrots and onions and seasoned with soy sauce; and cooked oats for breakfast.
And of course the macrobiotic advocate practices what she preaches.
'When you cut out animal products, white sugar and coffee for 10 days you start to feel the difference,' she said. 'When I first began this diet, I remember how my head became clearer, I woke up earlier and felt so fresh in the morning that I didn’t want to stay in bed.'
Madonna attested to the benefits of eating her daily quota of bacteria-inducing foods in her chef's cook book of 2010.
'I feel better than I did 20 years ago,' the loyal client wrote in the preface. 'I am very grateful to you for this.'