The Good Gut – A Book Review

The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health is a great book about the micro-organisms that live inside us all. We don’t often give them much thought, or we rather think them yucky and unhygienic, but this book explains just how vital they are to our health and how to maintain a healthy “micro-biota” which can protect us against obesity, anxiety and auto-immune disease.

We live in an age of unprecedented wealth, access to healthcare and medical technology. However, obesity rates are climbing and incidence of auto-immune diseases are on the rise, leading to pain, misery and a huge cost to the tax-payer. Clearly we, as a society, are doing something wrong.

The Gut Micro-Biota

This book explains why the micro-organisms that live inside us likely play a large role in the correct functioning of the human body and how in western society, our neglect of this aspect of health has lead to a plethora of health problems.

We’ve evolved alongside microbes for millennia, and while there are certainly harmful species out there, there are many more on which our bodies depend. Losing these microbes through excessive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, overly sterile environments and poor nutrition has an impact on our digestive health, but on our immune systems and even our mental state.

We’ve previously talked about ways to get your children to make good food choices, and building a deeper understanding of how the human body works can really help up to refine our approach to, not only our own, but also our children’s nutrition. This book provides scientifically backed knowledge of how the human body works. It also contains concrete tips to improve your family’s long term health.

Advice From the Book

Some concrete tips include:

  • Being more aware of the impact of antibiotics, and restricting their use to when it’s really needed.
  • Eating a range of foods that provide pro-biotic and pre-biotic benefits, such as Kefir, Yoghurt, Honey that super charge and protect your internal micro-biota.
  • Giving your child a head-start in life through breast feeding and having a vaginal birth instead of a c-section.
  • Exposing your children to microbes in a safe way by playing in the dirt in the garden, owning pets, or visiting an organic farm.

Also, did you know, your gut contains neurons? This means that microbes in your intestinal-tract affect your mental state. There’s research to suggest that an out-of-balance micro-biota could affect your perception of risk and cause you to have anxiety.

In Summary

This book went quite deep on the topic of biology and how the human body works. This might not be for the casual reader looking for some quick tips. However, for me, I found the journey of learning about an area of my health which I had previously given little attention to was a worthwhile investment. The information in this book has helped me make better food decisions for myself and for my family. For those who have little time for reading there is an excellent audio version of this book which could be more easily digested (pun intended).

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