The gut seems to be the next hot topic, with prebiotics, probiotics, and gut health as innocuous as talk about the weather. And for good reason: the gut is responsible, in part, for our metabolism, our brain and its functions, and even our dental health. It’s no surprise, then, that several books have recently come out explaining the gut and its function in our bodies. Giulia Enders, a young medical student from Germany, recently published Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ.
At 258 pages, with an additional few pages of resources and acknowledgements, Gut is a well-researched and digestible (no pun intended) book packed with information on what the gut is, how it functions, why gut health is necessary, and how bad things happen to good guts (think bacteria like E. coli). The book is well-written and, best of all, easy to read, which makes it understandable to those who don’t have a biology background. In part two, “The Nervous System of the Gut,” Enders takes readers on a journey through our bodies, from a piece of cake entering our mouth to leaving our large intestine. A word of caution: this is not a book for those who are squeamish about what really goes on inside our bodies, but the cute and colorful illustrations that accompany most chapters are well-worth a look. Jill Enders, Giulia’s older sister, created the illustrations to match her sister’s explanations. What has resulted is a fun read for those who don’t mind “poop talk.”
For those struggling with digestive woes like constipation or vomiting, Enders offers explanations and solutions for combating the problems. This is collected in a way that is encouraging, with easy tips to eat more fiber, stress less, and drink water. As a whole, the book is laid out in a way that makes turning to any one topic simple. Parts one and two focus on “Gut Feeling” and “The World of Microbes.” If your interest lies in anatomy, part one is filled with both creative drawings and comprehensive explanations; if you’re fascinated by the immune system, part three offers explanations of why we get sick. Additionally, a section on gut health and its connection to the brain is particularly interesting.
While engaging, Gut does, at times, come across as dull, and not for lack of enthusiasm. Enders is ecstatic about the gut throughout the book, but personal information and anecdotes are missing from making this a can’t-put-down read. Still, if you’re looking for clues at to why allergies happen, why gluten and lactose intolerance seem to be increasing, how babies fed formula are affected later in life, and why you’re (still) constipated, pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed. With drawings as cute as these–even intestines look cute!–there’s something here for everyone.