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Top 6 Gut Books And Health Books You Need To Read In 2020

Top 6 Gut Books And Health Books You Need To Read In 2020

Sift through the madness with our curated reading list of the best books on gut health, digestive health books, and books on microbiome wellbeing.

The human digestive tract has become hot currency in the publishing world, and it’s not surprising. According to research by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, 10-15% of people worldwide suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a collection of digestive symptoms with no obvious cause.

6 Best Gut Health Books 2020

Authors are cashing in on the trend with a gut health book or be in health book to solve every conceivable, real, or unsubstantiated gut health ailment that could possibly exist, and it can be hard to distinguish well-researched, evidence-based books by experts from just any health book published by influencers with medical or scientific qualifications.

How to choose a good health book?

To combat the deluge of information, we’ve curated a reading list of the best health books by accredited specialists who’ve dedicated their lives to understanding and solving the mysteries of the human digestive tract and the many daily discomforts that affect it. People are often interested in gut health because of common symptoms can significantly disrupt daily life like:
  • abdominal pain/discomfort
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • flatulence
  • heartburn

That’s why it’s essential for a good health book to provide balanced and unbiased information about one or several gut health topics including, but not limited to, specific and recognised digestive illnesses, how diet and lifestyle can affect digestive health, and the role of the microbiome in maintaining gut health.

Gut health is complex

The digestive tract remains a mysterious organ, and research continues to highlight how poorly understood it is. Take IBS for instance, the symptoms can be bad enough to stay home from work, avoid social occasions, and cut whole food groups out of your diet. Yet, there is no evidence of damage to the gut that can explain it.

Don't buy into the be in health book trend by Jen Theodore.
Trust this gnome, not the marketing, there is no ideal health book

Fortunately, scientists and doctors have started to look outside the gut for explanations. Interest in the gut-brain axis is growing because the gut has its own nervous system that constantly talks with the brain and can sense external stimuli like food and threats. That’s why anxiety can weigh on the digestive tract too.

In addition to that, the gut microbiome - an ecosystem of bacteria that lives in the large intestine - is now recognised as an important feature in gut health, and also digestive disturbances. Food and antibiotics are important factors that can influence its composition. Gut bacteria also communicate with the brain via the enteric nervous system and substances they produce.

And finally, diet and lifestyle are essential factors to take into account when choosing what gut health book is right for you. The food put in your body, eating and sleeping patterns, stress levels, and exercise (or lack of it) can also help determine how well you digest what you eat, proving once again that gut health is about far more than just the gut.

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Best gut book by topic

Topic Book to read Author
The digestive tract Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ Giulia Enders
The gut microbiome Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes Prof Rob Knight
Gut diet book The Doctor’s Kitchen: Supercharge your health with 100 delicious everyday recipes Dr Rupy Aujla
Non-gut problems Healthy Gut, Healthy You Dr Michael Ruscio
Food and diet The Diet Myth: Why the Secret to Health and Weight Loss is Already in Your Gut Prof Tim Spector
Food and symptom diary The Gut Diary Book The Gut Stuff

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ

By Giulia Enders

This book by Giulia Enders is an ode to the eighth wonder of the world: your gut, aptly described as the most underappreciated organ in your body. And she’s spot on the money. As a company specialised in microbiome testing, which requires a stool sample, we have noticed the trademark squirm when we mention the word “poop”.

A gut book should explain why toilets are necessary by Franck V..
A good gut book should explain why toilets are necessary

For that reason (and likely others), most people are woefully unacquainted with the essential functions that enable the ingestion, digestion, and excretion of food. Before delving into gut books, this is an essential read if you want to understand how the gut works. Plus, Giulia Enders happens to be a terrific and funny writer.

Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes

By Prof Rob Knight

Professor Rob Knight is a co-founder of the pioneering American Gut Project, a citizen science project investigating the role of gut bacteria in human health, and the Earth Microbiome Project that seeks to understand how microbes shape the world around us. Who better to write a gut microbiome book bringing you on a guided tour of gut bacteria in health and illness.

In this book, he works with award-winning journalist Brendan Buhler to explain how your gut bacteria are involved in all aspects of your health, from allergies to chronic diseases, like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and even heart disease He also teaches about the microbiome in Coursera’s free access course: Gut Check: Exploring Your Gut Microbiome.

The Doctor’s Kitchen: Supercharge Your Health With 100 Delicious Everyday Recipes

By Dr Rupy Aujla

Dr Rupy Aujla runs one of our favourite podcasts, The Doctor’s Kitchen, where he brings on health experts from all backgrounds and delves into the facts on lifestyle for health. And he also cooks for his guests. That’s because Rupy Aujla isn’t just an NHS doctor, he’s pioneering Culinary Medicine in the UK too.

Trust a health book that tells you to get in the kitchen by Rustic Vegan.
Trust a health book that tells you to get in the kitchen

This isn’t just a heal your gut book, it’s a practical and delicious invitation to cook at home for yourself, your family, and your friends - something we actively support too. In this healthy gut diet book, Dr Aujla doesn’t just proclaim recipes, he explains exactly why and how different foods impact your body and boost your health with fiber, prebiotics, and antioxidants.

Healthy Gut, Healthy You: Personalized Plan To Transform Your Health

By Dr Michael Ruscio

Dr Michael Ruscio is a practitioner and clinical researcher specialised in alternative therapies in health and medicine. He’s dedicated his life to the human gut and the ramifications gut health has for the whole body. From probiotics and SIBO to immune health and hypothyroidism, Dr Ruscio has explored the lesser known effects of gut health on illness.

This healing your gut book helps you create a personalised plan to address many common ailments and issues without any insane diets or supplements. Basically, this is a self-help guide to take control of your health with science-backed strategies that won’t induce anxiety at the supermarket or dinner.

The Diet Myth: Why The Secret To Health And Weight Loss Is Already In Your Gut

Prof Tim Spector

A gut diet book should encourage sensible eating, not diets by Thought Catalog.
A gut diet book should encourage sensible eating, not diets

Whether you’re a diet skeptic or a chronic dieter, you’ll appreciate the balanced advice of Professor Tim Spector, better known to some as Britain’s leading scientific advocate of gut microbiome health. He started out as an epidemiologist and is now the director of the TwinsUK Register and founder of the British Gut Project.

In his book, The Diet Myth, Tim Spector brings no-nonsense arguments against junk food and processed food, but he doesn’t stop there. If you want a medical scientist’s take on low-fat diets and fad diets, this book is for you. It’s not about quick fixes, it’s about bringing a pinch of common sense to food with due consideration for your biology and gut microbes.

The Gut Diary: Food And Symptom Tracker

By The Gut Stuff

The Mac Twins are DJs-turned-gut-health advocates who organise swinging gut dinner clubs and awesome events where experts explain the latest in digestive health to the masses. Their calling to become champions of gut health started with Prof Tim Spector (yes, that’s right) who invited them to participate in a twins study on microbiome health.

Instead of a heal your gut book, try a food diary by Essentialiving.
Instead of a generic heal your gut book, try a food diary

Now they’ve created a beautiful gut diary to track your food and symptoms that’s particularly useful should you consult a doctor or nutritionist about any digestive problems. Whether you’re looking for a leaky gut syndrome book (even though leaky gut isn’t actually a medical thing) or just a food diary, this might be the book for you.


In short, there is no one best of health book, and don’t believe the blurb if you find one. After all, there’s a reason people dedicate their lives to medical science and are still baffled by the inner workings of the body.

Instead, opt for general education on the gut and the microbiome first, and then broaden your horizons. This is especially important if you want to find actionable daily ways of enhancing your health and digestive tract. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your body.

Leigh Stewart
Leigh Stewart Head of Atlas Biomed content, trained chef and avid fermenter of edible bacteria.
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