What to Eat Before, During, and After Taking Antibiotics
We are usually prescribed antibiotics to fight off infection, however, they often come with some negative side effects. Many people will find themselves with a weakened gut because the antibiotics go after your good gut bacteria in addition to going after the infection. Overuse of antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance, lowering your tolerance to the medicine.
Despite the risks, sometimes antibiotics are necessary so here are a few things you can do to help combat potential negative side effects.
Adding prebiotics to your diet can help feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut to help restore balance. Foods high in prebiotics include garlic, chicory root, onions, and bananas. It may also be helpful to add a Resistant Starch Prebiotic Fiber Blend to your morning smoothie or room-temperature water.
Taking probiotics each morning has also been shown to help prevent diarrhea after taking antibiotics. The most commonly studied for antibiotic-associated diarrhea are Lactobacillus rhamnosus-based and Saccharomyces boulardii-based probiotics.
Foods High in Vitamin K
Antibiotics can also kill the vitamin K-producing bacteria in the gut. Our bodies need vitamin K to help blood clot. Consider upping your intake of leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, parsley, and mustard greens.
Many fermented foods contain Lactobacilli, a critical element of digestion. Foods such as yogurt, miso, tempeh, and kimchi contain the live and active cultures needed to help improve digestion.
Foods to Avoid
There are also some foods that you should always avoid when taking antibiotics.
- Grapefruit: This fruit and its juice contain compounds that can keep the body from properly absorbing antibiotics.
- Foods High in Calcium: Foods supplemented with calcium may also affect antibiotic absorption. Yogurt is not included in this group.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can create additional problems in the gut and should be avoided entirely.
- Spicy Foods: Even if you eat spicy foods frequently, it’s best practice to avoid spicy foods altogether when taking antibiotics because they irritate your digestive system.
- Sugar: Foods high in sugar can increase the chances of feeding candida organisms.
Be sure to check your prescription to be sure you're taking your antibiotic correctly! Common issues include taking too much, or taking with or without food (this varies from medication to medication).