More than 500 kinds of bacteria live in your gut; not only do they aid in digestion, there’s also evidence they help strengthen your immune system. One way to maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut is to eat healthy food sources of probiotics, a type of bacteria similar to the good bacteria in your body. One 2010 study concluded that school children who drank a probiotic yogurt drink were 19 percent less likely to get sick with colds and strep throat.
Probiotics can be found in:
- Yogurt with live active cultures, Kefir
- Kimchi and sauerkraut (unpasteurized)
- Miso and other soy products
- Soft cheeses
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved any health claims for probiotics, noting that little is known about their long-term safety. However, it is a growing market in the U.S. and a promising area of research. The FDA also recommends speaking with a healthcare provider before beginning probiotic supplements.