Wonder why the new fermented food craze for items such as kombucha and kimchi is even good for you? It’s all about microbiome health. “Microbiome” may sound like the setting of a sci-fi flick, but it actually refers to the trillions of bacteria that live in your digestive tract, which play a critical role in the function of your immune system and risk of disease. A diverse microbiome, with lots of “good” bacteria species, is essential for good health. But new research suggests that the relatively limited selection of plant and animal foods that we eat today, compared to 50 years ago, has made our microbiomes less diverse and less resilient, therefore making us more prone to disease. A plant-heavy diet of whole foods is ground zero for developing a balanced microbiome. Fermented, plant- based foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, are especially helpful, since they’ve been found to improve intestinal health and immune function, in addition to a host of other health benefits. The probiotic-rich kombucha drink, meanwhile, is flying off store shelves.