Kefir, kimchi and kombucha - they're the latest superfoods sweeping every hipster café within a 5km radius, and for good reason. These foods are all probiotic powerhouses, guaranteed to get your gut health back into balance. So what are they exactly? Nutritionist Stephanie Berglin breaks it down for us and explains the benefits of these nutrients.

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Kefir

The special Ks: why kefir, kimchi and kombucha should be on your lips

Kefir (keefir, kephir) is a fermented milk drink that has a similar taste to yoghurt and is full of good bacteria. Don't worry if you're lactose intolerant - kefir's abundance of beneficial bacteria and yeast provide lactase, an enzyme which consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process, so there is very little lactose in kefir.

Kimchi

The special Ks: why kefir, kimchi and kombucha should be on your lips

Kimchi (kimchee, gimchi) is a traditional South Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, such as cabbage, radish and cucumber, that are seasoned with garlic, ginger, chilli and special Korean spices. It can be found at your local Asian supermarket and makes a tasty addition to any salad or main meal.

Kombucha

The special Ks: why kefir, kimchi and kombucha should be on your lips

Kombucha is a fermented (there's that word again) tea that has traditionally been drunk in Asia for thousands of years. It is made from tea, sugar and a scoby, which is a living piece of bacteria and yeast - don't be freaked out; this is what gives kombucha such a gut full of probiotic goodness. It is naturally carbonated and has an awesome tangy aftertaste.

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So... what's so great about them anyway?
All of these foods are fermented and, as a result, teeming with probiotics. Probiotics do wonders for your gut health, as well as overall wellbeing, for a number of reasons.

They help boost your immune system by keeping bad bacteria under control and good bacteria in balance. Probiotics assist with the digestion of food, and can help alleviate digestive discomfort from some foods for some people. Good bacteria have also been linked to healthy blood sugar levels, metabolism and appetite control as well as better mood and skin. If you're experiencing gastrointestinal issues and discomfort or want to strengthen your immune system, try including more of these healthy and probiotic-rich foods into your diet.

If fermented foods aren't really your thing, however, you may want to chat with your health practitioner about a probiotic supplement you could take instead. Look for a probiotic supplement that provides 500 billion colony-forming units (CFU) to supercharge your gut's healthy bacteria and support normal healthy digestive and immune function, especially after a round of antibiotics which can wreak havoc on your gut.

For more articles on gut health, visit bioceuticals.com.au.

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