When you have unwanted bacteria in your system, you typically need to use an antibiotic. Antibiotics prevent bacterial cells from developing walls, weaken them, and kill them off. The trouble is that they can do that to all of your bacteria, including the good stuff you want. Remember that some areas of your body, like your gut and vagina, rely on certain healthy bacteria to stay balanced. When you take an antibiotic, it can wipe those out, eliminating the first infection but putting you at risk for others. It seems like a lose-lose, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways you can beat the system, and re-build those healthy bacteria after using an antibiotic. Eating the right foods, and taking some other steps, can help. Here is what you should eat and do after taking antibiotics.
Probiotics are, naturally, a great friend after taking antibiotics. It is important, however, to take them after treatment as antibiotics can kill your probiotics if introduced to the system at the same time.
If you’re unsure about dosage, this is a helpful measurement: do one month of probiotics for every week of antibiotics taken. That should get your gut bacteria back to where it needs to be.
Yogurt introduces live probiotic cultures into your gut. It also helps round out your diet to be full of protein and calcium—and a wholesome diet is important to restoring gut bacteria.
Eat pickled foods
Pickled, fermented, and unpasteurized vegetables also give your gut some much-needed live probiotic cultures. Just a quarter of a cup of the stuff a day—whether you go with beets, pickles, carrots, or whatever you like in brine—should do the trick.
Grab a Kombucha
Kombucha gives you those healthy live cultures, but in a drink that’s portable, refreshing, and tasty. Kombucha is also hydrating, and all of your organs need to be properly hydrated in order for your bacteria to rebalance.
Grab prebiotic foods
Good bacteria feed on prebiotics. Some prebiotic foods include bananas, onions, and garlic. Add these to your diet to help your good bacteria grow.
Try bone broth
If you need another reason to eat soup, do it for your gut. Certain elements of bone broth help restore the lining of your stomach, which can be damaged by antibiotics.
Try chicken broth
If bone broth isn’t your thing, try chicken broth. The collagen acts as a prebiotic, helping to feed those good bacteria.
Avoid processed foods
The chemicals in processed foods tend to kill off good bacteria. When you’re healthy, your gut can handle it but when your system is already down, stay away from the stuff.
Try stewed apples
Cooking apples releases the pectin in them, which helps grow good bacteria. Try making baked or boiled apples.
Get more insoluble fiber
Insoluble fiber helps rebuild your gut microbiome. Sweet potatoes, beans, and whole grains are great sources of the stuff.
But eat fiber after treatment
Just go easy on the fiber until after antibiotic treatment is complete. Fiber can slow the absorption of medicine, making antibiotics less effective.
Try red wine extract
Red wine extract contains the antioxidants polyphenols, which good bacteria like to eat.
Avoid grapefruit on antibiotics
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can, unfortunately, hinder your body’s ability to process medication. Stay away from this citrus fruit until treatment is complete.
And avoid calcium supplements on antibiotics
Calcium supplements, as well as foods supplemented with calcium, have also been found to slow the absorption of medication.