Nowadays, our demanding schedules include more doctor visits, tests, and prescriptions to keep up with our overworked and high-stress lifestyles.
As a society, we are used to instant gratification and are eager for a quick fix, it’s not surprising that antibiotics are one of the more commonly prescribed medicines during these colder months.
So common, that it is estimated that 4 out of 5 Americans are prescribed antibiotics each year. While they are effective at clearing up bacterial infections…A) We don’t always have a bacterial infection going on, and B) antibiotics are extremely damaging to your gut.
So even though you may begin to feel better, your intestinal tract is suffering from some pretty major consequences.
What Do Antibiotics Do to Your Body?
There are 100 trillion microorganisms that line your intestinal tract and are responsible for proper digestion, immunity, and mental health.
In fact, 60-80% of your immune system is located in your gut, and 90% of your neurotransmitters are produced there. (What’s a neurotransmitter? They help to regulate mood – example: serotonin – AKA the happy hormone. If you are not properly producing serotonin, you will feel bouts of depression.)
Anyway, maintaining a proper balance of bacteria and other microorganisms is crucial to the wellbeing of each of these areas.
Taking antibiotics is kind of like setting off an atomic bomb in your gut. Because antibiotics are not able to differentiate between good bacteria (probiotics) and the bad bacteria that are responsible for your infection, they will go in there and wipe everything out. This significantly disrupts that beautiful balance you (hopefully) had and leaves you susceptible to the overgrowth of harmful organisms (e.g. candida), a weakened immune system, digestion problems, leaky gut, and a handful of other complications.
How to Heal Your Gut After Taking Antibiotics
Don’t worry, you can restore your gut health after taking antibiotics and also be better prepared for any future decisions regarding the use of them.
1. Avoid Processed and Packaged Foods
...and limit the consumption of foods high in sugar, trans fat, additives, and preservatives.
Your gut will be especially susceptible to the harmful effects of these foods at this time. Instead, focus on eating healthy and repairing the damage with anti-inflammatory foods, such as organic blueberries, turmeric, or green tea that is high in nutrients and antioxidants to benefit the gut.
2. Recreate That Delicate Bacterial Balance
...by replenishing the probiotics and prebiotics (which promote the growth of probiotics) in your gut. You can do this by consuming cultured foods or supplements.
The following foods are rich in probiotics: kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, raw cheese, apple cider vinegar, tempeh, live cultured yogurt, miso, natto, and brine-cured olives. You can also take a probiotic supplement to naturally boost the good probiotics in your system. Ora Organic makes a high-quality plant-based pre-and-probiotic capsule or powder that contains 20 billion probiotics.
3. Try a Natural Antibiotic Instead
Did you know raw garlic contains allicin which is a powerful antifungal, antibiotic, and antiviral?
Oil of oregano is also a good choice because it contains antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Make an Educated Decision
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than half of all antibiotics used in this country are unnecessarily prescribed. It is important to note that antibiotics are ONLY effective against bacterial infections (e.g. strep throat, some pneumonia and sinus infections) and NOT viral infections (e.g. the common cold, most coughs, and the flu).
So, be picky with your prescriptions and how you treat your body afterward, your gut will thank you!