Nutrition

Gut health book club: 7 books to buy to keep your gut healthy

Anna Hunter 11 August 2017

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Gut health book club: 7 books to buy to keep your gut healthy

Labelling a book about digestive health a ‘page turner’ seems unlikely, but given what we now know about the positive role of prebiotics , probiotics  and gut microbes  in relation to our energy levels, immune system, metabolism and mental health, to name but a few areas enhanced by good gut health, it’s high time we discovered how to maintain a flourishing digestive environment, so to speak. To help you on the path to thriving gut health, we’ve compiled an edit of seven practical and franky fascinating (really) guides to what’s going in your gut, from scientific digestive developments to recipes for low FODMAP cake . Dig in…

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The Clever Guts Diet

Who wrote it? Dr Michael Mosley  of BBC Trust Me I’m a Doctor and  5:2 diet  fame.

What’s the gist? An easily digestible (sorry) no BS guide to what’s going on in your gut, from the effect of antibiotics and alcohol on your microbiome (the mix of bacteria in your gut),  to scientific quirks proving that eating cooked pasta that’s been reheated boosts its levels of  resistant starch , and can halve the amount of calories absorbed from your carb fest. More a manual on modern digestive health with recipes sandwiched in than a ‘diet’, Clever Guts manages that elusive feat of being intellectual while remaining decidedly non preachy and easy to follow. Dip in and dip out, all the while appreciating that your gut has as many neurons as you’ll find in the brain of a cat. You’ll never forget that fact.

Buy online  from £3.85

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Improve Your Digestion

Who wrote it? Patrick Holford, a nutritional therapist and founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. He’s got over 30 books under his belt so is pretty established in this health writing lark.

What’s the gist? This gut guide is quite the tome- chapter summaries help to consolidate learnings, but it’s definitely more textbook than beach read in genre. Once you’ve gotten over the length and potential for attention spans to wander, you’ll find it’s packed with intelligence on any gut related issue that’s ever piqued your interest. Whether you’re suffering from acid reflux, fancy a bit of gut yoga (really) or are just a bit windy and curious as to why, it’s all covered, with snacks and meal plans at the back, along with step-by-step action plans to get your digestive system fighting fit.

Buy online  from £7.99

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The Gut Makeover

Who wrote it? Nutritional therapist Jeanette Hyde.

What’s the gist? A gut health overhaul with a personal touch. Hyde knows the misery of cyclical crash dieting , partnered with chronic stress, only too well, and she draws on her own drive towards better health and nutritional training to set out a four-week microbiome boosting programme to kick start better digestion, with weight loss/maintenance and improved all-round health as a happy side-effect. Along the way she dispels common dieting myths (the current craze for  ketogenic diets  doesn’t go down particularly well), champions eating cheese (roquefort for its probiotic benefits) and encourages you to build relaxation into your mealtimes rather than rushing things into your gob. All sensible stuff.

Buy online  from £6.99

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Gut Reactions

Who wrote it? An academic husband and wife team. Erica and Justin Sonnenburg both have PhDs in microbiology and immunology and work at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

What’s the gist? A stark warning that many species of microbes living in our stomach are becoming extinct- we now have around 1,200 but used to have scores more. It’s not all doom and gloom, however- the Sonnenburgs have come up with such delicate chapters as “Eat, Shit and Live” with extensive information on “changing your microbial identity” for the better. Alongside erudite and shrewd digestive discussion, you’ll find a shopping list of probiotic rich food and drinks , plus recipes such as “brownies for your bacteria” and “muesli for microbes”. It’s geeky, but it’s got the balance of food, fun and facts about right.

Buy online  from £6.49

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The Good Gut Guide

Who wrote it? Skincare guru turned wellbeing entrepreneur  Liz Earle MBE .

What’s the gist? If you’re interested in the link between skin health and the gut in particular, Liz’s skincare nous combined with a holistic approach to taking care of your insides, informed by dietitian expertise, will open up a whole new world of topically applied kefir and medicinal mushrooms. A six week food programme is more of a nutritional shift than a strict diet regime, and family orientated recipes make nourishing your sprogs’ stomachs as well as your own a straightforward exercise. From probiotic face masks to fermenting foods at home , it’s all in here, and the recipes are truly as delicious as they look.

Buy online  from £8

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The Fodmap Friendly Kitchen

Who wrote it? IBS sufferer and She Can’t Eat What?!  blogger Emma Hatcher.

What’s the gist? A low FODMAP diet  prescribed by her doctor changed Emma’s life- after years of enduring digestive pain and discomfort, she was able to eliminate “trigger” foods and greatly improve her quality of life. This recipe book is the fruit of her low FODMAP labour in the kitchen- within it she shares a handy low FODMAP food chart , along with seasonal low FODMAP foods to find in the supermarket and over 100 recipes for busy days and dinner parties alike. If you’ve been advised to follow a low FODMAP diet but are baffled by the seemingly incongruous list of low FODMAP foods, and what to do with them, this the cheery equivalent of a foodie bff holding your hand throughout.

Buy online  from £13.60

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Be Good to Your Gut

Who wrote it? Nutritionist, Psychologies and MATCHES.com columnist and former fashion PR  Eve Kalinik . She knows ALL about your high flying coffee fueled lifestyle, and she’s here to encourage you to put gut health on your agenda.

What’s the gist? Eve is a foodie first and a nutritional therapist second, so you can be sure that the 80 beautifully shot, gut-healthy recipes on offer here will become staples rather than reluctant “diet” dinners. Each page oozes wisdom and insight, mirrored with realistic tips and advice on nurturing your digestive health and getting yourself to a happy, energetic place without depending on a modern cocktail of convenience food and caffeine. You can brunch for days on the likes of mushroom, miso and manchego on sourdough and chocolate chia fudgy pancakes, safe in the knowledge that you’re weaving in the best possible ingredients to reduce both digestive and mental stress, address hormonal imbalances  and even take the edge off allergies .

Pre-order online  from £9.99