When many people think of bacteria, they think of bad germs, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray. However, there are lots of good bacteria that your body needs in order to thrive and fight diseases. It’s always great to find organizations with resources like the Digestive Center for more assistance in this area. You want to make sure that you’re actively feeding the good bacteria on a consistent basis. Here are five ways that you can make that happen.

1. Incorporate fiber into your diet

breads

Fiber is essential for overall health. When fiber is in your body, Your body works to move it through the digestive system. This will help you to properly eliminate. There are certain types of bacteria that are found in your gut that will feed off of fiber. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to incorporate different types of fiber into every meal. Beans are a great source. For breakfast, add black beans to your morning omelet. If you love sandwiches for lunchtime meals, choose whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Whole grains are known to pack on the fiber. Broccoli is also an excellent source of fiber. Steam a side of broccoli to enjoy at dinnertime.

2. Lower your sugar intake

apples

Even though cakes, candies and ice cream are everywhere, it’s important to remember that sugar is really bad for the body. If you must indulge, you can enjoy sweets on an occasional basis. Try not to have sweets more than once a day. If you limit it even more, go for it. Sugar has the ability to kill the good bacteria and support the bad bacteria. Instead, opt for low-glycemic fruit options like berries for a sweet treat. Try to wean yourself off of needing sugar in your morning coffee or tea.

3. Try fermented foods

If you’ve ever had surgery, the doctors typically tell you to eat yogurt because of the number of probiotics inside. Probiotics are excellent for helping the body to heal at a faster rate. Many probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and tempeh. If you don’t currently eat any of these foods, start small. Be open-minded. You can also drink kombucha. It’s an incredible fermented, fizzy drink that is an excellent replacement for sodas, which are high in sugar.

4. Partake in polyphenols

Polyphenols are excellent for lowering stress levels, inflammation and more. Interestingly enough, polyphenols get processed by the good bacteria in the colon. Knowing this, it’s a great idea to consume certain treats in smaller doses. You can enjoy a glass of red wine, a small piece of dark chocolate or grapes to get your dosage of polyphenols. On a daily basis, consume green tea, almonds and onions in order to get your fair share of polyphenols.

5. Try a plant-based diet

There are tons of documentaries that support the adoption of a plant-based diet. Plant-based foods are excellent for good bacteria because they provide fiber and decrease the chances of disease development. If you can’t part ways with meat just yet, start by doing a plant-based diet for two or three days a week.