A few weeks ago I was the sickest I’ve been in years.
In fact, I haven’t really had so much as a sniffle for at least five years and this flu & sinus infection hit me like a ton of bricks. Yep, I had both.
I could barely get out of bed. The first doctor told me to just go home and rest, but the second visit to an urgent care Physician’s Assistant a few days later told me that I needed an antibiotic for the sinus infection. After six days of misery I gave in and took the antibiotic. It worked wonders and I woke up feeling like a new person the day after I started it. I’m very grateful for modern medicine and the fact that I have access to it. But like many things in life, there are trade-offs.
Antibiotics get a really bad rap for being overused, and rightfully so. They can harm the good bacteria in your gut.
Overuse of antibiotics and taking them when you don’t necessarily need them can be extremely harmful to your gut flora, which is the microbiome of bacteria in your digestive system that affects almost every system in your body. But, antibiotics can be very useful when needed and I’m so grateful to the Physician’s Assistant who told me I needed one.
Now that the antibiotic killed the bacteria causing my sinus infection, it also likely killed a lot of my good gut bacteria, too. I want to share these important tips with you to help you recover from taking an antibiotic if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
How To Recover From Antibiotics With Probiotics
It’s even more important to take care of your gut flora during and after a round of antibiotics by:
1) Eliminating any added or excess sugar from foods. The “bad” bacteria thrive on sugar in your gut so it’s important not to feed it any excess sugar, and
2) taking extra probiotics, both in supplement form and in naturally fermented foods.
Each day while on an antibiotic and for one week after be sure to include:
- 2-3 doses of a probiotic supplements per day (I use USANA Health Sciences)
- 1 kombucha tea per day
If you’re new to kombucha, it’s a fermented tea that is naturally rich in probiotics and has a yummy sour zing to it. Try a mango or berry flavored one if you’re new. I personally love the ginger or exotic flavored ones.
- 1/2 – 1 cup of fermented veggies each day
I really like the Wildbrine brand, they make salsas, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi & lots of other yummy fermented foods, you can find them at most natural grocery stores in the refrigerated section. Canned sauerkraut does not contain probiotics, look for a naturally fermented/refrigerated one.
Probiotics need what we call prebiotics to thrive. Prebiotics are a nondigestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines, which is mainly fiber. Things like fibrous veggies (e.g. artichokes, garlic, onions, asparagus), oats, bananas, legumes, and any fiber labeled inulin are natural prebiotics.
- All other foods consumed should be very low sugar foods, and no excess or added sugar of any kind as sugar promotes the overgrowth of bad bacteria. This is not the week for chocolate cake and ice cream, and also be mindful of added sugars in all foods you eat.
- Yogurt and kefir also contain natural probiotics and can be a good source of probiotics if you tolerate dairy, just be sure to always choose the unsweetened/low sugar varieties. And since dairy can contain extra pesticides and hormones, look for organic when you can, too.
Oh, and for inquiring minds, yes, beer and wine and fermented. But they don’t count 🙂 The sulfates, other ingredients, storage process and alcohol kill off most of the probiotics.
I hope this helps you feel better if you find yourself on antibiotics. Again, it’s always important to take care of your gut flora and incorporate probiotics into your eating habits, it’s just extra important while taking an antibiotic.