When I was in Cornwall a month ago with my friend Polly, she recommend I read Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-related organ by Guilia Enders. I did just that two weekends ago when in Barcelona and it was fascinating.
It’s a beautiful book, illustrated by the author’s sister Jill Enders, who is a graphic designer who focuses on science communication, and she does a great job of bringing the story of the gut visually to life. Alongside Guilia’s witty and engaging writing style it means you end up sharing the enthusiasm for the secret life of the gut and what it does for us. There are chapters that explain the rise of food allergies and insensitivities, ones that outline the links between the gut, stress and depression and others that explain what goes wrong and what makes us sick. You then descend into the undercover world of microbes and right to the edge of what is known about gut bacteria and what is not. It explains why we may see fermented foods becoming ever more popular, why taking fibre supplements can help the gut and how prebiotics can also help. There is a poo chart (of course) and there’s some tantalising new discoveries about how the gut may have more influence on our mood than we realise.
If you have ever wondered how your stomach connects to your heart and head (not literally but in terms of how the mental and physical interact) then this is a book I’d recommend. It might make you think twice about how you eat, about whether squat toilets are actually the way forward, about not just popping down some antibiotics unless you really have to, and about where those butterflies in your stomach are really coming from before you stand up to do a presentation. I completely understand why this lively and compelling book has become an international bestseller.