Research is exploding on all the things that probiotics, a.k.a. good bacteria, can do for your body: They may boost immunity, improve digestive health, treat mental illness, and help with weight loss. How do you get in on the action? With a few simple dietary tweaks.
Photography by Getty
| Credit: Photography by Getty

1. Eat more kimchi

And sauerkraut and miso and yogurt. Fermented food isn't just trendy—fermentation crop-dusts your gut with probiotics and may strengthen your body's defense against illnesses and infections.

Related Recipe: Kimchi Chicken Sandwich

2. Pile on the greens and grains

Choose whole grains and plenty of fruits and veg to get at least 25 grams of fiber daily. It's the fiber in these foods that fuels the good bacteria and keeps them thriving, says Martica Heaner, Ph.D., an adjunct associate professor of nutrition at Hunter College in New York City.

3. Scan the supermarket

Have you seen cereal or chocolate with probiotic on the label? Processed treats are not the most gut-friendly, but if you're going to grab a snack, might as well pick one with good-for-you bacteria. Just be sure it also has a few grams of fiber and no added sugar, says Mary Gocke, RDN, the director of nutrition at the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. "If you're eating a probiotic-rich food that has sugar in it, you're feeding the bad bacteria," says Gocke. "Sugar taxes your gut and immune system. Any food that lists sugar within the first three ingredients is too high in it."