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The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ
- Read in 18 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 11 key ideas
Gut (2015) takes an entertaining yet scientific look at an organ that is just as interesting and important as the brain – the gut. By tracking a piece of cake as it works its way through the digestive system, you’ll come to appreciate the gut for the sophisticated and impressive ecosystem that it is.
Key idea 1 of 11
The gut is a unique and impressive organ – nothing to be ashamed of!
We usually don’t talk about the inner workings of our digestive system. Indeed, many find the topic downright gross. However, the complex functions of the gut are more fascinating than disgusting and, as far as organs go, the gut is extremely underrated. Furthermore, all of us would benefit from knowing a bit more about what happens when we eat.
Most people know nothing about exactly what goes on in our gut, which, in more scientific language, is called the gastrointestinal tract. Yes, we have all flushed away the unpleasant final product that ends up in the toilet, but few of us are familiar with the important work that led to that product.
Of course, there is one part of digestion that we do focus on. That would be the initial part, when we chew up and savor the taste of our food. But we’re only concerned with the rest of the process if there’s a problem like indigestion.
That’s because, once we swallow, the food enters an area of smooth muscle tissue that is outside of our consciousness.
In fact, our digestive system has a nervous system of its very own, allowing our digestive system to independently perform all of its functions. The work it does takes place without the involvement of our conscious mind, which makes the gut a very unique human organ.
Another incredible fact about our gut is the mind-boggling amount of bacteria living inside of it. Our entire digestive system contains up to 100 billion bacteria. This accounts for 99 percent of all microorganisms in our entire body! Of course, these bacteria exit the body, too: there are more bacteria in one gram of excrement than there are people on the planet.
But this is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s part of the important and incredible work the gut does every day. We take it for granted – but what our gut does for our mind and body is something we should be very grateful for.