- Research shows that gut health is critical to our overall well-being and that it influences physical, mental, and emotional health.
- While there’s a lot of conflicting information about gut health available online, experts agree that a whole-food, plant-based diet is beneficial for gut health.
- A whole-food, plant-based diet doesn’t just improve gut health - it can also prevent and treat chronic disease.
There’s no doubt about it, research shows that gut health is critical to our well-being.
The gut, which is often referred to as the “second brain,” doesn’t just influence our physical health, it also plays a key role in mental and emotional health.
If you’re new to gut health, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of information out there.
Knowing which advice to listen to can be tricky but this blog post lists the best gut health books to help you on your healing journey.
Whether you want to improve your overall health or address a specific gastrointestinal problem like irritable bowel syndrome, a registered dietitian nutritionist can help.
1. Love Your Gut by Dr. Megan Rossi
Dr. Megan Rossi is a practicing registered dietitian, founder of The Gut Health Doctor, and leading Research Fellow at King’s College London.
She has a mission to inspire and transform people’s gut health using the latest available science.
Love Your Gut aims to cut through the noise to help you determine exactly what your gut needs to thrive. It includes 11 interactive questionnaires to help you determine how healthy your gut is.
It also provides information to help you craft a personalized action plan to manage IBS, bloating, constipation, heartburn, SIBO and stress, using evidence-based nutrition strategies, yoga, sleep hygiene, bowel massage, and more.
Finally, it provides 50 plant-forward recipes to get you started on your journey to better gut health.
2. The Second Brain by Dr. Michael D. Gershon
Dr. Michael D. Gershon has been called the “father of neurogastroenterology” because of his research on how the brain controls the behavior of the gastrointestinal tract and the development of the enteric nervous system (the nervous system found in the gut).
The Second Brain provides a groundbreaking investigation into the enteric nervous system.
It explores the relationship between the nerve cells in our gut and the brain in our head. It provides an understanding of different gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.
For people whose symptoms were previously dismissed as “all in your head,” The Second Brain provides some much-needed insight and validation into the origins of their symptoms.
3. The Good Gut by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg
Dr. Justin and Dr. Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in studying the relationship between our bodies and the gut microbiota.
They argue that the microbiota is a key determinant of our overall health and that the human body is a composite organism of microbial and human parts.
The Good Gut explores the concept of a “mass extinction event” that our gut microbiota is currently facing due to changes in diet, overuse of antibiotics, and over-sterilization of our environment.
The book offers a plan for improving your gut health and provides actionable advice on nourishing your gut microbiota.
It includes delicious recipes and an easy-to-follow menu plan to get you started with caring for your gut microbes.
4. The Mind-Gut Connection by Dr. Emeran Mayer
Dr. Emeran Mayer is a world-renowned gastroenterologist and neuroscientist.
Throughout his career, he has studied how the digestive and nervous systems work together in health and disease.
His current research looks at the role of interactions between the gut microbiota and the brain.
The Mind-Gut Connection explores the connection between our brain and our gut.
It reviews how our gut microbiota communicates with our brain, how different factors early in our life affect the gut-brain connection, the best diet for our brain and our gut, and how to interpret the signals your body sends you.
5. Fiber Fueled by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz
Dr. Bulsiewicz is board-certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology.
As an expert in digestive diseases and gut health, he believes in getting to the root cause of problems so that they can be addressed and even prevented.
The core of his philosophy is “lifestyle medicine,” an approach that uses food, exercise, and other lifestyle elements to help you gain control over your gut health.
Fiber Fueled provides a step-by-step methodology for transforming your health by optimizing your gut microbiome.
With over 600 references supporting its recommendations, Fiber Fueled provides a blueprint for getting you on the road to better health.
The 28-day jumpstart program includes menus, recipes, and essential advice for improving your gut health through diet and lifestyle changes.
6. How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger
Dr. Greger is a physician who has been recognized internationally for speaking on several public health topics.
He specializes in nutrition and is the author of several New York Times best-sellers.
How Not to Die paves the way for understanding how to age well, without pain or chronic illness.
The book examines the top 15 causes of death in America while reviewing how nutrition and lifestyle interventions can protect against these causes of death.
How Not to Die focuses on preventing chronic illness by eating a whole food, plant-based diet that includes the Daily Dozen, a checklist of foods we should eat daily.
While it doesn’t focus on gut health specifically, research shows that a plant-based diet can help improve gut health.
7. The Whole Foods Diet by Dr. John Mackey
John Mackey is the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market.
His co-authors, Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD, specialize in nutrition and lifestyle medicine.
The Whole Foods Diet aims to highlight the benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Mackey says, “When it comes to our health, it’s the overall dietary pattern that makes all the difference.”
In other words, we don’t need to nitpick specific foods but rather focus on what our diet looks like as a whole.
The Whole Foods Diet is broken down into three parts.
Part one reviews the science behind a whole food, plant-based diet. Part two provides guidance for navigating everyday food choices and customizing the diet for your individual needs.
Part three provides four weeks of delicious, nutritious recipes.
Like How Not to Die, The Whole Foods Diet does not focus on gut health specifically, but its recommendations align with what research demonstrates can improve gut health.
8. Undo It! by Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Anne Ornish
Dr. Dean Ornish is a physician and researcher who is well-known for promoting a plant-based diet and lifestyle changes to treat and prevent heart disease.
His lifestyle medicine program for reversing chronic disease is based on over forty years of research.
UnDo It! provides an overview of what the Ornish lifestyle program does, why it works, and how to implement it yourself.
It promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet and recommendations about exercise and stress management.
The book contains recipes, meal plans, tips for stocking your kitchen, exercises, advice for stress reduction, and inspiring patient stories.
9. The Proof is in the Plants by Simon Hill
Simon Hill is a physiotherapist and nutritionist whose goal is to make health and nutrition information simple and accessible.
The Proof is in the Plants is a heavily researched book that promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet.
The first part of the book explores why we are so confused about what to eat and highlights the importance of understanding these sources of confusion.
The second part of the book explores the science behind what to eat to prevent chronic disease, while the third part of the book provides information to help you confidently transition to plant-based eating.
There are a lot of books that claim to promote gut health, so it can be hard to know where to start.
The books reviewed in this blog post can provide a starting point for your gut health journey.
These books promote a whole food, plant-based diet to nourish your microbiota and improve your gut and overall health.
How a Dietitian Can Help
If you’re considering following a plant-based diet to improve your gut health but aren’t sure where to start, consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist.
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