By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk
I try to avoid taking antibiotics as best as I can. Yet, sometimes antibiotics are lifesaving and necessary. Antibiotics unfortunately do not pick and choose – they take out everything in their path — including the good gut flora your body needs to support long-term health. Here are some tips for what to do during and after a course of antibiotics to help your gut flora flourish again.
Probiotics are beneficial microbes that populate our gut. These good bacteria are crucial for our overall health and wellbeing, so take them seriously and repopulate your gut with these regularly with both food and supplements. When your body gets hit with a dose of antibiotics – supplement with a high-dose probiotic and make it a point to take them as far apart from your antibiotic dose as possible. Look for probiotics that deliver 20-50 billion IU’s per dose and contain a combination of different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Continue taking it for a month or more after finishing the antibiotics.
Take a daily supplement of Saccharomyces Boulardii, a good yeast, to help prevent any overgrowth of bad yeast like Candida after the course of antibiotics. In the Be Well store, you can find this as Mycoflora.
Fermented foods contain plenty of good bacteria for the gut and are generally really well absorbed too. Try sauerkraut (raw!), kimchi, kefir and beet kvass and include it in your daily diet.
Avoid processed foods and anything made with sugar, refined carbs or factory-farmed meat. These foods are just going to further cause inflammation and strain on the body. And stay clear of fruit juice too! Sugar feeds the bad yeast and causes inflammation overall so while it’s certainly not good for us at any point in time it’s especially not helpful while we’re already weakened and fighting a bug.
Bone broth has great healing properties and contains nutrients that help boost immunity and heal damage to the gut lining. It’s rich in minerals too and contains gelatin which helps soothe the intestinal tract.
Feed your good microbes with foods rich in prebiotics. These are foods that contain carbohydrates that are indigestible to us, but can therefore reach the colon and feed the good bacteria living there. Eat plenty of onions, artichokes, garlic, beans, asparagus, sweet potato/yams and plantains.
Rest, slow down and sleep! When we get sick our bodies are telling us it needs a break – we need to put the brakes on and slow things down. Give your body the rest and support it needs to recover. Make sure to get plenty of sleep so that the body gets a chance to regain its strength. Stress causes more inflammation and studies have even found that it impacts our gut flora. I’m sure you can all attest to how we’re more prone to catch a bug when we’re stressed, tired and run down.