Harper: The Snakes by Sadie Jones

The Whole-Body Microbiome: How to Harness Microbes--Inside and Out--for Lifelong Health

In The Whole-Body Microbiome: How to Harness Microbes--Inside and Out--for Lifelong Health, the formidable father-daughter team of scientists B. Brett Finlay (Let Them Eat Dirt) and Jessica M. Finlay explores an invisible world. They analyze the microbes that reside all around and inside our bodies, and they explain how these teeming microbial colonies are essential to a long, active life. Aging healthfully is their focus, and their overarching, inspirational message is one of hope: by nourishing the body's microbiome we can effectively boost its ability to fight disease.

Reviewing expert research on the protective bacteria present on every inch of our skin--as well as the heart, brain, lungs, mouth, immune system, the female reproductive system and the environment--the Finlays prescribe practical measures that can help protect against age-related diseases of the mind and body. We learn, for example, that something as simple as properly brushing teeth boosts the oral microbiome and thereby promotes health throughout the entire body, including protecting against heart disease and even dementia. Encouraging readers to embrace rather than eradicate bacteria on the skin, the authors recommend using regular soap instead of antibacterial soap, because the latter kills off both good and bad microbes.

While there are factors beyond our control that can lead to ill health as we age, it is reassuring to learn that so much is within our power to manage proactively. With its upbeat approach and valuable diet and lifestyle recommendations, The Whole-Body Microbiome will empower readers to invest in the lifelong process of aging well. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer