If you haven’t noticed, probiotic-packed foods are likely taking over your local grocery store (lookin’ at you, kombucha), and gut health is having a major moment. You can thank all of the buzz surrounding your microbiome for that—the natural ecosystem of bacteria in and on your body (with trillions of them residing in your gut).
Obviously, there are harmful bacteria—you know, the kind that cause infections and disease. But scientists are starting to discover that the good bugs in your body, also known as probiotics, play a crucial role in your health.
Research shows that probiotic foods and supplements may improve your immune function, mood, digestive system, and even your skin. Another possible perk creating lots of buzz: Early studies have linked probiotics to weight loss—but will glugging kombucha and loading up on yogurt really drop the number on your scale?
How are probiotics related to your weight?
Probiotics are notorious for their ability to improve your gut health, which actually plays a huge part in the rest of your body’s systems. “Gut health is a significant determinant of one’s metabolism and likelihood of gaining weight,” says Nancy Rahnama, MD, a bariatric physician in California. “The gut is where all of the body’s nutrients, micronutrients and minerals are absorbed. Therefore, if there is impairment in the gut, the body will likely be deficient in key nutrients that are necessary for an optimal metabolism.”