It’s official! It’s 2017! You’ve started on that vision board. You have your Fitbit ready to measure your every move. But have you considered managing your microbiology? More and more, the tiny, non-human make-up of your body has become increasingly interesting to scientists. Microbiology plays an integral role in your life and your body is teeming with them. In this sense the line, the title of the book, “I am large, I contain multitudes,” by poet Walt Whitman is spot on!
The entertaining and engrossing Ed Yong is a writer for the Atlantic. His articles have been featured in National Geographic and Wired magazine. I Contain Multitudes is his latest book where he highlights the importance of the microscopic world (our microbiota) and how they are relevant to every single species on Earth. Talking about dieting we think about cutting out particular foods or exercising more, but have you ever thought about the life of your gut? In all actuality we have as many bacteria in our bodies as we do human parts! You may have noticed a more competitive yogurt and pickle section in the grocery store.
These bacteria and Archaea (essentially single-celled fungi) play vital roles in our lives. They regulate digestion, help ward off diseases and perhaps even affect our behavior. Without these microscopic critters and their symbiotic tendencies, life would cease to exist. Contrary to what you may believe, not all bacteria are bad.
I contain Multitudes is a fascinating read. Not just for scientists, either. It is packed full of amazing information that will make you laugh, intrigued and repulsed depending on where you are in the book. Yong documents the flora and fauna of the planet and our connection to it. He gleans information from former scientists, breathes fresh life and breaks new boundaries. He is as quick-witted as he is knowledgeable. Like any fantastic scientist, his curiosity and child-like wonder of the natural world is incessant. The book would not be the same without his keen eye and his dry sense of humor. It’s a great read to start a New Year, a new you and potentially a new gut!
To discover more about Yong’s topics discussed in this book, and learn just how beneficial that yogurt is for you, check out his NPR interview with Terri Gross here:
Find out more about other foods that help regulate your stomach here: