Gut Feeling Crummy After Antibiotics? Repopulate Your Good Bacteria with These Key Gut-Healing Foods
Spring might be on its way, but flu season isn't over quite yet. Many people might be rushing to get into their doctor's office, looking for a cure for their symptoms before the warm weather is here.
Antibiotics are sometimes the prescription doctors give to patients as a remedy for their cold or flu symptoms. While you may get some relief, there are two things wrong with this cold- and flu-fighting tactic:
- The common cold and flu are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial infections, so in this case they aren't necessary and don't need to be taken.
- Antibiotics work by affecting the bacteria in your body, causing a reverse impact on your immune system, which is what helps to keep your body healthy. And since 60-80% of your immune system is located in the gut, the condition of the gut is not something you want to mess with. So in the cases where you have caught a cold or the flu, focusing on your gut health will help to support your immune system.
Even though they are some of the most prescribed medications in the country, it's no secret that antibiotics can cause damage to our microbiome. In fact, 1 in 4 prescribed antibiotics inhibit the growth of at least one type of healthy gut bacteria that you find in the microbiome.
One out of hundreds of different types of bacteria may not sound like a big deal, but maintaining a balanced microbiome is a delicate feat. It doesn't take much at all to cause a disturbance and throw off the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. Luckily, if you are proactive about healing your gut, it doesn't take much to balance it back out, even when you are sick.
How to Balance Your Gut After (or During) Antibiotics
It may not be realistic to swear off all antibiotics because they can be necessary for certain circumstances. If your situation requires antibiotics in order for you to heal, then listen to your doctor, but know that there are ways to keep your gut healthy while doing so.
Adding these supplements and foods into your diet and daily routine (or doubling up on them if you're ahead of the game and are already taking them) can help to balance your gut.
Include Prebiotics and Probiotics in your Diet
Prebiotics work alongside probiotics to help restore the good bacteria in your gut in order to keep your health in tip-top shape. Prebiotics and probiotics can be incorporated into your diet through supplements or by eating certain probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods:
- Probiotic-rich Foods - greek yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, raw cheese, and miso
- Prebiotic-rich Foods - rye, asparagus, bananas, oats, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, yacon root
While common sense would tell you to down these foods at the same time as antibiotics to cancel them out, that's not how our body works. In order for your body to actually benefit from the prebiotics and repopulate good bacteria, prebiotics should be eaten a few hours either before or after you take your antibiotics. If antibiotics are taken along with prebiotics, the medication will kill the good bacteria immediately instead of allowing your gut to absorb it properly.
Eat Collagen Daily
When the gut has an imbalanced proportion of good to bad bacteria, it can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. When the lining is damaged, bacteria can begin to leak from the intestines, something that is called leaky gut. Collagen, which is a protein made up of amino acids, can help repair the gut lining, preventing leaky gut from happening. Bone broth is a good source of collagen protein, and you can also buy collagen protein supplements.
Eat Foods with Yacon Root Syrup
The yacon root is another prebiotic that can help to improve the number of good bacteria in your gut. Yacon roots are made of sugars called FOS that our gut can't digest, making them an awesome prebiotic and the perfect immunity booster when taking antibiotics. We're big yacon root enthusiasts and use its syrup in our Rowdy Bars for its prebiotic properties and healthy handful of other nutritional benefits.
Eliminate Refined Foods
Prebiotics, probiotics, and collagen will have an easier time healing your gut if you also avoid refined foods and processed sugar. Eating junk food and sugary treats will continue to decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Don't work against your own efforts, instead eat clean whole foods to rebalance the microbiome.
Stay Healthy, Heal Your Gut While on Antibiotics
Being proactive about gut health is always a top health priority, but it’s particularly necessary when you're sick or taking antibiotics. Use these helpful tips to support your body's largest immune system: your gut.
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