Scientists have discovered that a certain sugar molecule helps beneficial microbes claim space in our digestive systems.

Spinach and Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing

We've long suspected that leafy greens were good for digestion and overall health, and a new study suggests a reason why: They promote good gut bacteria. At a moment when yogurt, kombucha and other presumably probiotic foods are flying off shelves, researchers have published new evidence that eating greens might have a huge impact on our stomach microbes.

Vegetables like kale and spinach contain a special sugar molecule called sulfoquinovose, which our beneficial gut bacteria seem to love. And it's good for them: When they eat it, they reproduce more effectively and take up real estate that bad bacteria could potentially occupy. Recent findings have linked unhealthy gut bacteria to a remarkable array of ailments, from obesity and diabetes to anxiety and depression, so there's more incentive than ever to start eating more salad