Your gut is like a forest, full of diverse life that—if kept in check—helps your whole natural system flourish. The problem is, food isn’t as simple as it used to be, and modern cuisine, even modern medicine like antibiotics, can do a real number on the biodiversity in your digestive tract—your beneficial bacteria. In fact, too many meds and eating too much sugar and processed foods can actually suppress this protective gastrointestinal army, so it’s important to bring balance and stability back to your gut for optimal health to avoid diarrhea and diseases. In fact, many of these probiotic-rich foods will actually help you glow on the outside, too. Studies have found probiotics help combat skin problems.
For better gut health, these 5 foods will help!
The Benefit: Kind of like a drinkable yogurt, kefir is a fermented dairy product that contains oligosaccharides, complex carbs, that feed beneficial bacteria. And keeping those tiny microorganisms content will help supercharge your immune system.
#2: Real Sauerkraut
The Benefit: Sauerkraut is really fermented cabbage, a preservation technique that far precedes modern-day refrigeration.
Healthy Tip: For true probiotic muscle, avoid canned sauerkraut, because it’s pasteurized, meaning the healthy bacteria is mostly killed off. Instead, make your own homemade sauerkraut in a crock.
The Benefit: A standby for centuries in Korean culture, this spicy fermented cabbage dish acts like a tonic for your gastrointestinal tract. A 2005 Seoul National University study found it’s so beneficial to the immune system that it helped speed recovery in chickens stricken with the virulent avian flu.
Healthy Tip: Add kimchi to organic mashed potatoes, rice, or salads if the distinctly sour, fizzy fare isn’t appetizing to you on its own.
The Benefit: Artichokes are potent prebiotics, meaning they contain undigestible nutrients that help feed the beneficial bacteria growth within your digestive system. Think of them like a healthy meal for the helpful bacteria in your gut.
Healthy Tip: If artichokes don’t delight your taste buds, try other potent prebiotics like bananas, lentils, and asparagus.
The Benefit: With its naturally fizzy profile, this fermented tea serves as a healthy replacement for carbonated drinks like soda. Mildly tart and effervescent, kombucha is teeming with beneficial bacteria to coat your digestive tract. The fermentation process (kick-started by a translucent, wiggly culture called a “scoby”) also creates healthy B vitamins that can activate energy.