Every time we turn around these days there is another book on the market about the gut micro-biome and for good reason. The Standard American Diet, full of processed, refined foods and decades of antibiotic overuse have lead to a gut crisis for millions of people. All you need to do is take a trip to the drug store to see aisles full of antacids, constipation medications and antidiarrheals to realize that many people are living with uncomfortable digestive conditions. In fact, digestive issues account for the most missed days of work. What researchers have learned is that we truly are what we eat. They are slowly learning about the complexities of the microorganisms that live in our guts, how they benefit more than just our digestive health k more importantly, how those microorganisms can negatively impact our health when they are out of balance.
As Chinese medicine practitioners we are thrilled to see all of this research on the gut micro-biome. A healthy digestive system is seen as being the key to good health and longevity.
The latest book we’ve read, “Gut: The Inside Story of our Bodies Most Underrated Organ,” is by a German scientist named Guilia Enders who is getting her doctorate in microbiology at the University of Frankfurt. In German the direct translation of the title was “Our Charming Bowels.” Ms. Enders clearly has a passion for her work and that translates in her desire to educate the lay person about the components of the digestive systems and how it works.
Ms. Enders enthusiastically describes all of the parts of the digestive system, the tissue they are made from and their purpose. She covers everything from how the angle of the stomach allows for fluids to pass through easily where foods fall to the side, allowing time to get broken down to the optimal squatting position to create the best angle for having a bowel movement.
This is a terrific first book for people to read if they do not have a lot of knowledge of the digestive system. Ms. Enders covers the most common digestive aliments and why people may experience them. The book is not meant to be diagnostic or provide solutions to complex digestive issues. However, it does give people a good working knowledge of the digestive system so that if they do suffer from digestive issues, they should feel more confident speaking with their internist or gastroenterologist about them.