Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ by Giulia Enders

You read that title right; the gut is an organ. Gut by Guilia Enders is an inside look at the human digestive system. Learn what makes us go #2 and how bacteria can either help or hurt us. Figure out how and why certain foods make some of us sick and the role a vaginal birth plays in establishing a baby’s immune system.

There’s a lot to unpack in the gut.

Three sections break down the complexities of the digestive system into bite-sized pieces:

  • Gut Feeling
  • The Nervous System of the Gut
  • The World of Microbes

Some common ailments are discussed that provide answers to awkward dilemmas like diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, and food allergies.

The creative and playful illustrations are done by Jill Enders. They are adorable and helpful. You’ll even find a doodle depicting the different types of poop to help you determine if you’re in the healthy zone.

Get ready to learn a lot more than you ever wanted to know about how your body turns food into energy and gets rid of what’s left.

This book is written for the average person to digest; there’s not too much fancy jargon and it doesn’t require a degree in science. It’s accessible, but still provides a lot of valuable information.

Gut takes a subject that is typically ignored or labeled as inappropriate for dinner table talk. Really, the digestive system should be the top topic at the dinner table! There are no topics too sensitive (including poop) for this author. She is clinical, yet relatable. She keeps it light, yet informative.

I really liked that this book was split into three parts. Enders was able to focus on one thing at a time and dig deep into each before moving on.

I think there are a few ideas in here that people want to know about, but are too embarrassed to ask about. Even at the doctor’s office, it can be weird to inquire about solutions to gastrointestinal distress. This is a means to get answers and advice from the privacy of your own home. And if privacy isn’t an issue, feel free to read this unabashedly on a public park bench. We all have to digest food, right?

The health issues discussed here are pretty common. There’s something everyone can relate to. Be aware that this book doesn’t replace a direct discussion with your healthcare provider, but it’s a place to start understanding how your own body works. It can start the conversation that needs to happen in deeper detail.

The most interesting part was the connection between the gut and the brain. I knew there was some new research showing the correlations between what we eat and how it affects mental illness and emotional states. This was fascinating and I’m really glad researchers are putting more time into this. Imagine the benefits to quality of life if we can help patients manage mental illness with food.

Enders has an excellent writing voice. Her writing is smart and friendly. She adds a few jokes to keep the mood light.

Overall, Gut is a must-read for every person with a gut!

Want more Guilia Enders? Check out her TED Talk here.

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