Gut health is garnering quite a lot of attention these days, and the hype isn’t dying down any time soon. Scientists are finally starting to understand how your microbiome, or the vast variety of bacteria that live within your gut—and entire body—can impact your health. You might assume that bacteria is always harmful, but your body actually depends on some of these microorganisms to function at its best.
Basically, your intestines have more bacterial cells than human cells, and they contain both “good” and “bad” bacteria. These good-for-you bacteria, known as probiotics, live in your gut and help prevent “bad bacteria” from setting up shop, which can impact everything from your immune system to your bowel movements to your skin, explains Jerome Garden, M.D., the director of the Physicians Laser and Dermatology Institute in Chicago.
You can get probiotics from supplements, but you can also take them in naturally through fermented foods like yogurt, olives, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and wine, explains Abbey Sharp, R.D., founder of Abbey’s Kitchen. Each of these foods contains their own unique strains of bacteria. Here, six ways these beneficial bugs might do your body good.