What to Eat When on Antibiotics
During the winter months, it’s not uncommon to go through a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics are an essential medicine in killing bacterial infections but unfortunately do come with some unpleasant side effects. Antibiotics kill all the bad bacteria in your body – but sometimes also the good bacteria. We have many natural and important bacteria that live in our gut and these good bacteria take a big hit when we take antibiotics.
You can help prevent negative side effects and reduce the damage done to your gut by eating the right foods during and after your treatment.
We’re always told to take probiotics during and after antibiotic treatment – and rightly so. Antibiotic use can often cause diarrhea and stomach upsets in a lot of people, but probiotics are live bacteria that help restore some of the healthy bacteria and prevent diarrhea. Studies have shown that taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment reduced the chance of diarrhea by more than 50%.
It is important to remember though that probiotics must not be taken together with antibiotics. If you take them together you’re essentially killing the antibiotics. Taking them a few hours apart ensures that the antibiotics have done their job and then the probiotics can get to work.
Probiotics come in pill form. It is recommended to find a pill with many different types of probiotics rather than just one strain. Eating fermented foods is also extremely healthy as they contain natural probiotics but consuming enough of it to get a high enough dose (around 5 billion) might be difficult so it is recommended to do both.
Examples of fermented foods include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi. They contain healthy bacteria called Lactobacilli which are essential in restoring our gut and the healthy bacteria, and preventing diarrhea associated with antibiotic use.
Increase your Vitamin K
It is recommended to supplement with vitamin K when taking antibiotics for extended periods of time. The bacteria in our body is partly responsible for the production of vitamin K and by taking antibiotics for too long it could harm the production, leading to deficiency. You may want to consider increasing your intake of foods high in vitamin K such as leafy greens, green tea and asparagus.
Eat foods which are high in fiber
Eating lots of high fiber food can be helpful in restoring the good bacteria in your gut. This is because fiber stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. However, it is recommended to do so after antibiotic treatment. Eating too much fiber during treatment can slow down the time it takes for medicines to be absorbed.
Easier said than done perhaps, but when we’re stressed the hormone cortisol is released and this prevents our digestive system working as well and absorbing the probiotics.
What foods to avoid?
Sugar is a breeding ground for bacteria and as such as the last thing we want to consume when fighting a bacterial infection. This also means cutting back on other foods that turn into sugar when broken down like foods containing white flour.
Other foods we should stay away from during antibiotic treatment include grape juice, citrus fruits and anything else acidic in order to ensure that the antibiotics are being absorbed properly.
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