You took antibiotics or are about to start a dose and you are concerned about your digestion and future health. I get it and I got you. This post will show you the best foods to eat when taking antibiotics and what to do after taking them.
However, antibiotics – oral and topical – aren’t the problem, overuse of them and failure to address what they do to your body is the real issue. I’m not prescribing or recommending against using antibiotics. This plan does NOT replace your doctor or dietitian’s advice and recommendations.
It complements them. It helps you support your body while the medication does the work intended. When you do that, you reduce the likelihood of needing more antibiotics now and in the future. Now that’s better!
Best Foods To Eat When Taking Antibiotics
1. Choose better carbs – depending on how your body responds to the medication(s) you may need starchy carbs to help soothe an irritated stomach. But added sugar isn’t a friend to your immune system, it can keep it from running better.
So, choose carbs in their whole food form – starchy vegetables, whole grains, whole fruit (ready to eat & frozen vs dried, candied, or as juice), beans (smaller may be more easily digested), and non-dairy unsweetened options rather than dairy.
2. Eat less, more often. You may not have an appetite and you may be more sedentary, so it is better to eat less, more often. This will help keep your digestive system from being overwhelmed too which allows the medication to do its work and your body to focus on healing.
3. Eat and drink more…plants. Plants deliver plant nutrients (phytonutrients) like antioxidants which help the body do its clean-up and healing work better. Certain plants – especially greens, lemons, and limes – tend to be more alkaline-forming which promotes digestive health. Aim for a rainbow and enjoy lemons, and limes in your water (see the next point) for better taste too.
4. Drink more… water. Water will move along waste products, including the unwanted bacteria that the antibiotics kill off. Water will also help your body stay hydrated which improves its healing efforts and promotes healthy skin.
Drink it and try to get in potassium-rich foods like avocado, coconut water (makes a great base for smoothies), watermelon, and even potatoes / sweet potato, as potassium escorts water into cells.
5. Drink less… alcohol, dairy & caffeine. Alcohol suppresses the immune system which makes it harder for your medications and nutrition to help you get better. Dairy can be mucous forming which may trap bad bacteria.
Caffeine is a stimulant boost that you may feel you need, but your body really needs rest to recover. Coffee is more acidic so choose tea but note that teas, especially green, on an empty stomach can create nausea especially if the medication is already harsh on your tummy.
6. Get more… sleep. More than you think you need. Including naps. Sleep is the time when your body can make recovery its primary focus, it will help you get better, faster.
7. Supplements? Start to tune up your digestion and immune system while the medications go to work to remove the unwelcome bacteria. Adding a good quality probiotic and glutamine are good choices during antibiotics for most. Consult your practitioner if you take any medications to ensure you don’t take anything that conflicts with your other medications.
You will want to take your probiotic at different times than your antibiotic. You can also consider adding an herbal and a mushroom supplement to help the body with its health. You may want to stop your multi or B vitamin complex if you experience tummy troubles while on the antibiotics
Best Tips Post-Antibiotics
1. Avoid added sugar and alcohol…for 4-6 weeks after your antibiotics and, also, depending on the intensity and duration of your infection, you will want to avoid added sugars and alcohol. This is strict, yes, but your body needs time to heal as well as to restore the beneficial bacteria stores your body needs for a healthy digestive and immune system.
2. Choose smaller amounts of better carbs…after your antibiotics leave your system and until your body’s stores of beneficial bacteria are restored, your body may respond negatively to carbohydrates (gas, bloating, digestive discomfort). Aim for a maximum of one serving per better nutrition pit stop,
3. Tune-Up your digestion….This should be your number one focus right now. You are not what you eat, you are what you digest and absorb – so it needs to run better as soon as possible.
4. Recover & restore better… it is time to resume your activity, especially those that help you sweat as that is another way the body eliminates unwanted waste. You can consider an infrared sauna or wearing a sweatshirt while working out to work up more sweat. But don’t let your activity interfere with your better sleep. Both need to be a priority.
5. Stay underwhelmed – check your amount(s) of food & stress as both will keep you from getting and staying better. Make better quality and quantity choices so that you can both give your body what it needs to run better and avoid overwhelming it with too much or ingredients that can irritate and disrupt those efforts.
6. Detox better – your body needs a variety of nutrients to help its detoxification system work better. Topping the list are magnesium (found in cacao nibs, cashews, some grains, and greens as well as supplements) and glucoraphanin (found in the heads of broccoli).
7. Support your immune system – enjoy a variety of produce – aim for a rainbow – especially mushrooms (like shitakes) and orange foods like sweet potatoes. Herbs and spices (also as herbal teas) pack potent anti-inflammatory nutrients like ginger, turmeric, and elderberry.
8. Reduce exposure to bugs – you don’t need to make your home a bubble, but it is a good idea to practice better behaviors like removing shoes at the door, wiping your dog’s feet if they sleep with you, washing reusable mugs and bags, and keeping your skin hydrated as cracks are an easy entry point for unwanted bugs.
In conclusion, taking antibiotics can disrupt your gut microbiome and compromise your overall health. So, it’s essential to support gut health by making smart dietary choices. The best foods to eat while taking antibiotics include choosing better carbs, more plant-based foods, and plenty of water.
Additionally, you should avoid sugar and alcohol after taking antibiotics, support your digestion, manage stress, and focus on supporting your immune system. While taking supplements with antibiotics may be beneficial, it’s always best to discuss with your medical provider first.
By following these simple steps, you can help to reduce the negative impact that antibiotics can have on your gut health and help the body to recover faster.
Check out my program offerings if you’d like to get a personalized nutrition plan for your specific needs. I’d love to work with you to get you back on the road to feeling your best ever!