The gut plays a larger part in our overall health than we once thought. From the size of your waist to your poop (yeah, we went there) and maybe even your mental health, the bacteria that live inside you are seriously powerful.
Your gut contains an ecosystem of good and bad bacteria, and some of us have more good than bad. A bad diet, lack of sleep, too many antibiotics, stress, and the busy Western lifestyle in general have left us with less diversified populations of good bacteria. One of the easiest and best ways to build that population back up with the good guys is by eating fermented food.
Fermentation is the process of preserving foods — a process that has been used for thousands of years worldwide. When a food goes through fermentation, it breaks down. This introduces good bacteria, increases the nutritional value and digestibility, and ups the flavor. Cultures across the globe have been using fermented foods to help with diarrhea, prevent diseases, and keep societies (and even babies!) healthy for centuries. Win, win, win, right?
So where can you find fermented foods? The regular suspects — sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir — are right in the supermarket, but there are also companies turning everyday basics (think: ketchup) into gut-happy products. When you're shopping, look specifically for the words, "fermented," "cultured," or "probiotics," but for now, check out a few of our favorites.