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Smooth Moves

Benefits of ProbioticsYour gut (stomach, intestine, and colon) plays host to more than 100 trillion bacteria. Don’t panic! It’s completely normal! Our bodies actually need certain types of “good” bacteria, known as probiotics, to keep our digestive systems healthy. Normal bacteria also fight the “bad” bacteria that can creep into our systems and wreak digestive disaster.

We always want the good guys to outnumber the bad guys. But, bad bacteria are sneaky. They slip in when we’re stressed; tired; sick; or surviving on a diet high in sugar, fat and processed foods. They can cause constipation, diarrhea or just a general feeling of discomfort.

Get the Good Stuff

Digestive health starts with helping your good bacteria not just survive, but also thrive. Nurture these microscopic disease fighters by eating more fresh fruits and veggies, adding fiber to your diet and drinking more water. Some good — and tasty — sources of fiber include chia seeds, flax seeds, prunes, dates, oatmeal, lentils, broccoli and artichokes.

Several foods contain probiotics that mimic those found naturally in your gut. Try yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi and kombucha. Supplements are definitely an option, but check with your doctor before taking them to make sure they don’t cause side effects or interfere with any medications you currently take.

If you really want to give your good bacteria some fighting power, cut back on soda, coffee and processed foods.