While many ailments can be taken care of with natural treatments, sometimes it is necessary to take antibiotics. Whatever the cause, there are things you can do to replenish the good bacteria antibiotics flushes out alongside the bad. Without replenishing the good bacteria, you leave your body susceptible to an overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria and yeasts, such as Candida. Read on to find out how to restore gut health after antibiotics, and avoid the detrimental effects of leaky gut syndrome.
There are 5 main facets of restoring gut health that you want to make sure you include when creating a plan to ensure your inner ecosystem flourishes with beneficial bacteria:
- Avoid sugar – this includes processed sugar and treats. Fruit is OK in moderate amounts.
- Include nutritious foods – primarily you should include broth daily, or at least several times per week. Organ meats and a wide variety of colorful vegetables will also support you on your journey to better gut health.
- Take probiotics – Fermented foods are best, but probiotic supplements can also be helpful to deter opportunistic bacteria and restore gut flora.
- Take prebiotics – Prebiotic foods are important to help feed the bacteria in your gut and help them grow.
- Relax – Rest and relaxation is so important to your gut and overall immune system! Take the chance to rest whenever you can, and sleep regularly!
Here’s some more in-depth information on what you should focus on to heal your gut after taking antibiotics.
1. Avoid Sugar
Sugar negatively affects gut health in several ways. It spikes blood sugar which can create a stress response in the body, lowering your immune system and allowing bad bacteria and yeast to take control.
Sugar also directly feeds yeast, allowing it to grow out of control, puncture holes in your gut, and cause thrush and yeast infections in various locations on your body.
Especially after a course of antibiotics, avoiding sugar for at least some time can help your body settle and promote growth of beneficial bacteria that can help you to ward off opportunistic bacteria.
2. Homemade Broth
Homemade broth is full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals that help to rebuild your gut lining and support the growth of beneficial bacteria. The nutrients in broth help to build up your immune system and keep you strong.
You don’t have to use bone broth to improve your gut health. In fact, a short-simmered broth for just a few hours tends to be much better for your gut lining, digestion, and has a more widely acceptable taste. I love to use chicken feet in my broth, and add fresh pressed garlic shortly before serving.
3. Drink Fresh-Pressed Juices And/Or Homemade Smoothies
Fresh pressed juices and smoothies are a great way to get a large amount of nutrients in a short amount of time. They are energizing and invigorating, and easy to make at home. One of my favorite juice blends for boosting immunity is this carrot ginger turmeric lemon juice. Liquid nutrition is a great way to help your gut heal after antibiotic treatment.
Homemade smoothies are also a great choice. Because you keep all the fiber of the fruits and vegetables in, it serves as a prebiotic, helping to feed beneficial bacteria. But because the food is already broken down so much, it is very easy for your body to assimilate the nutrients.
4. Prebiotics/Resistant Starch
If you’ve never heard of prebiotics and resistant starch before, you’re probably wondering “What in the world?” But chances are you already know what these are, even if not by name.
Prebiotics are simply foods/compounds that help to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut!
Some common prebiotic foods that you may already be aware of include: garlic, onions, bananas, oats, apples and seaweed.
While there are several different types of prebiotic compounds, resistant starch and gut health has a special link. Resistant starch has been shown to have the greatest impact on the microorganisms in our gut.
Resistant starch is the fiber that we are not able to break down, and it is mostly found in foods such as green bananas, green plantains, lentils, oats, and potatoes. These leave over indigestible fibers that the bacteria really like to go to town on, so make sure to have some of these foods daily to leave some fiber for the good guys!
5. Fermented Food
While I have nothing against using probiotics, I wholeheartedly believe that fermented foods are the best way to restore gut flora. For one, the bacteria in probiotic pills are transient, meaning that you have to keep buying probiotic pills forever.
Probiotic pills are also mostly combinations of strains that don’t necessarily have scientifically backed basis.
One probiotic products that I love and use from time to time is Body Biotics. I’ve used Body Biotics with my son from he was 2 years old and credit it to his early success improving his asthma and allergies.
Probiotic foods, on the other hand, are easy to make at home, cost less money, serve as actual food, help reduce sugar cravings, and come with a variety of nutrients depending on the type of fermented food you choose to enjoy!
Here’s a list of the best fermented foods to restore gut flora:
Milk kefir tops the list because it is a fermented beverage that actually has the ability to colonize your gut long-term. After drinking milk kefir daily for 3-6 months, your gut flora changes and the bacteria keep replenishing themselves as long as they receive the appropriate food to aid their growth.
Milk kefir is also very easy to make (find out how here), and helps with several of the side effects of antibiotic use such as indigestion, poor dental health, and diarrhea. Milk kefir is a powerful fighter of Candida albicans!
I much prefer the dairy version, but coconut milk kefir is also tasty and beneficial for those who are allergic to dairy or vegan.
Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and a little goes a long way! Just one tablespoon of raw, fermented sauerkraut has trillions of beneficial bacteria. This is especially great for those who don’t love the sour taste of fermented vegetables, because it’s easy to get a small amount down.
You can eat it by the spoonful or toss it in a salad, it’s all good!
Water kefir is a fizzy fermented beverage that can be flavored in a variety of pleasing ways. It is readily accepted by kids and adults alike, and will give your body a huge rush of beneficial bacteria that help to clear out the bad stuff. You can learn how to make water kefir here.
Beet kvass is a fermented beet drink known for its potent probiotic content. It has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and is a time-honored tonic for cleansing the liver and kidneys. It will help you counteract some of the negative side effects of antibiotics while restoring gut health. Click here to check out my guide about making tasty beet kvass at home.
Relaxation and sleep are so important to healing! When you don’t get enough sleep, your stress response is higher and cortisol running rampant in your system can cause awkward symptoms. It can have a negative impact on your gut health, as well as slow down your ability to heal.
Try to get a good night’s sleep every night, and take regular time for prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, and/or creative projects that make you happy!
If you use bone broth, resistant starch, and fermented food on a regular basis, you’ll be well on your way to restoring a healthy gut after using antibiotics! Avoid sugar and make time for rest and relaxation. Your body and your health will thank you!