Bring on the kefir and sauerkraut - they're good for your gut.
Probiotics. Everyone is saying you need them, and guess what? They're right. But before you can figure out what works best for your body, you have to know what exactly probiotics are and the role they play in your health.
Simply put, probiotics are live microorganisms that live in your gut, reports the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). And while a lot of people think that microorganisms - especially the bacteria variety - are harmful to your health, probiotics are actually there to provide health benefits.
But sometimes you need a little help from outside sources in order to secure those benefits, which is why a lot of experts recommend getting an extra hit of probiotics through food. Fermented options - think keffir, sauerkraut, and kimchi - are a great place to start, says the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics, as are these other surprising foods with probiotics.
If that's not enough, your doctor may also suggest a probiotic supplement. But don't go and grab just anything off the pharmacy shelf. Probiotic supplements are not all the same, and they often contain different strains to serve different needs, says naturopathic physician Amy Fasig. Example: What one person gets to battle strep throat is different from what would be prescribed for someone suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, she says.
Clearly, probiotics can help maintain good health in a variety of ways. Here are eight of them.