The author of an unexpected German bestseller on how to love your gut has had her work translated into English – and is set to teach new millions in the Western world that we’re all pooing wrong.
Speaking to The Guardian, microbiologist and newfound publishing sensation Giulia Enders explained the first basic error we all make in the West is to poo while sitting down.
Squatting, it seems, is the natural way to relieve yourself because it “opens the hatch” of the bowels, whereas sitting or standing shuts off the pipe. Enders said: “1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles. We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms.”
Enders also explains in the book how humans in fact have two sphincters, an inner and an outer, and that listening to what they’re telling us could be one of the easiest ways to avoid constipation.
While we can control the outer sphincter, the inner one is automatic – an evolutionary development that responds to other stimuli to decide whether we are in a “safe” place to take a loo break. Ignoring your inner sphincter, say if you are worried someone might hear you poo, can cause it to stop functioning properly.
Enders’ book also includes more controversial passages on the link between psychological wellbeing and a healthy gut – she speculates, for instance, upon the fate of a man she met who had terrible breath and killed himself, wondering whether the two were linked.
But it also includes little gems on the gut in general, including that the oft-discarded appendix is in fact full of useful bacteria and that eating well increases the amount of a naturally-occurring painkiller in our spit.
Enders’ book in translation, Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ, with illustrations by her sister Jill, is available in the UK and online from 24 May.
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