I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Recommended for those who would like to know more about how their bodies work, but are afraid of biological/medical jargon. Written by a young woman in medical school, this work explains things in lay-person’s terms and is very accessible.
A pretty good section on our reliance on gut bacteria to mentor our immune system and help us to process our food. She explains very clearly why too much cleanliness is not necessarily a good thing. (Did you know that the whole “cleanliness is next to godliness” idea was part of the campaign to stop the spread of tuberculosis? That our society’s disparagement of public spitting dates from this epidemic?)
I guess I was expecting too much of the book however—I know that the gut & the skin develop from the same embryonic layer and that there are quite a few links now between gut problems and skin rashes. I was hoping for a more detailed discussion, but it occupied only a few sentences in the book.
Also, I continue to search for something that will explain the connection between gut bacteria and food intolerances/sensitivities and suggest useful methods to cope with such things. This was mentioned in passing, but no “how to help yourself” guide. Rats!
A good, basic explanation of how the digestive system works.