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Kombucha, kraut, kimchi, and kefir are just a few of the foods that boost gut health.

Thanks to a process known as fermentation, which concentrates nutrients, these and other foods contain probiotics good bacteria that play a role in a variety of bodily functions.

Each of us carries approximately one hundred trillion bacteria — a chemical factory in our guts made up of about 500 species weighing 2 to 3 pounds — that help, primarily, to digest food.

Here are nine other ways these good bugs help us thrive:

  1. Prevent or treat diarrhea
  2. Shorten the length of antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  3. Prevent or treat eczema linked to cow’s milk allergy
  4. Lower odds and shorten bouts of bacterial vaginosis
  5. Treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  6. Relieve symptoms of lactose intolerance
  7. Reduce anxiety and depression
  8. Aid in the excretion of excess nutrients and neurotoxins
  9. Undo the damage of antibiotics, stress and nutrient-poor diets on the gut. 

To learn how to choose — and make your own — fermented foods, check “Discover Fermented Foods” in the June 2014 issue of Experience Life.

Tell Us: Have you tried fermented foods? What are your favorites? Leave a comment below or tweet us @ExperienceLife.

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