The benefits of a healthy gut, filled with wildly populating strains of friendly bacteria, seem to know no bounds. From fighting allergies to properly utilizing nutrients from your food, a well-balanced personal ecosystem is key for optimal health. And it seems to be a major player in strength and conditioning as well.
Researchers from the National Taiwan Sport University recently examined the link between exercise performance and varying levels of intestinal flora and fauna. In a test of endurance, animals with healthy levels of gut microbes (which, in this case, means the most microbes) showed off the best endurance, while the animals with the fewest strains of healthy bacteria performed the worst.
You can boost your own bacteria levels by eating an unprocessed diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables (broccoli and berries are particularly good for the gut) and fermented foods such a yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut. For probiotic supplements, make sure your daily dose has one billion to five billion colony-forming units (CFUs).