One phrase that buzzed around the healthy living world in 2016 was “gut health.” Everyone was talking about the importance of gut health, and what to eat to improve it. But what does that term even mean? Having good gut health essentially translates to good digestion, and it’s more important to overall wellbeing than most people realize. If your regular diet sometimes leaves you feeling less than stellar, then consider adding some fermented foods to your diet. Health Benefits Of Fermented Food Good digestion has a much higher function than simply making you feel good (although that’s certainly important!). Certain factors, like consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and inflammatory foods, can damage the gastrointestinal lining. When this happens, the body becomes unable to properly digest food and these particles can permeate the lining, resulting in what’s called a “leaky gut.” Having a leaky gut can cause a number of health problems, from gaining weight to damaging the immune system. When it comes to having a healthy gut, fermented foods reign supreme. The essential benefit of fermented foods lies in their probiotic content. Eating foods that contain a high level of probiotics, or “good” bacteria, help to improve digestion. By introducing these bacteria into your stomach, you are able to more easily digest food, have regular bowel movements, and prevent “leaky gut.” Ways To Enjoy Fermented Foods So what are some fermented foods that you should incorporate into your diet? For many people, yogurt is a familiar food and excellent start. But be aware of the type of yogurt that you’re choosing. Many grocery store yogurts contain a lot of excess sugar, which can cause leaky gut rather than preventing it. Choose plain yogurt to ensure that you’re not counteracting the good you’re doing for your stomach with tons of sugar. Fermented cabbage and other vegetables are also easy to add into your diet. Many cultures feature these foods prominently, whether it’s sauerkraut in Germany or kimchi in Korea. If you’re interested in expanding your palate and culinary repertoire, these veggies will do the trick. Too busy to experiment with out-of-the-box foods? Grab a bottle of kombucha instead. This fermented tea has been shown not only to improve digestion, but also to provide immune support and increase energy. The next time you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon, trade in your second cup of coffee for a glass of kombucha instead. By trading in processed foods that increase inflammation for fermented foods instead, you can naturally heal your gut and improve digestion.