Safe Foods to Eat While Taking Antibiotics

Safe Foods to Eat While Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics can save lives, relieve symptoms of bacterial infections, and help us recover faster. They destroy both healthy and bad bacteria in your gut while they try to eradicate bacteria in your body system. Antibiotics work by disrupting essential processes or structures in the bacterial cell. This either kills the bacteria or slows down bacterial growth.

Taking antibiotics for just one week can alter the composition of your gut bacteria for up to a year. This fact, together with the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs, is one of the reasons why many doctors will not prescribe antibiotics unless they are certain you have a bacterial infection. Antibiotics do not affect viral infections.

If you’re taking antibiotics, there are foods you can eat to help restore the good bacteria in your stomach and reduce the risk of negative effects.


Foods to Consume While Taking Antibiotics

Taking your medicine with meals may help you avoid feeling unwell, however, some antibiotics, like Penicillin and Fluoxacillin, must be taken on an empty stomach to be fully absorbed. The following foods can help boost your immune system during your antibiotics.

1. Cumin

Cumin has been used for thousands of years as a natural antibiotic. Not only does it taste great, but it also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties that make it widely used all over the world. It can aid in digestion, so if you are having a difficult time with your stomach, it can help provide relief.


2. Turmeric

Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory and can help treat infections right at the source. Eating turmeric is a great opportunity to reinforce your immune system and relieve pain.


3. Honey

Raw honey has many medicinal properties, from soothing skin conditions to soothing sore throats. It has been used to fight infections and treat illnesses for thousands of years. The best part is that it tastes great and can be used at any time, either blended with other foods or enjoyed straight out of the jar. It’s an incredible antibiotic with more uses than you can dream of.


4. Green Leafy Vegetables

Excess consumption of antibiotics can disturb the good bacteria in your body and may even harm Vitamin K levels, creating a deficiency. You can compensate for this loss by consuming foods rich in Vitamin K, like green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, and romaine. Green tea, asparagus, and beef liver are also rich in Vitamin K.


5. Ginger

Ginger can help prevent you from feeling nauseous. Ginger contains powerful antibacterial properties that can ease indigestion and soothe the stomach, all while helping to eliminate any toxins from your body.

Foods to Consume After Taking Antibiotics

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live, good bacteria that can be taken orally to lower the risk of antibiotic-related side effects. They help to rebalance the gut microbiome following antibiotic use. Probiotics such as lactobacilli and saccharomyces are thought to be the most effective. When prescribed antibiotics, many individuals now choose to supplement their natural bacteria with a probiotic supplement. Your local pharmacist may even recommend probiotics when dispensing antibiotics. Do note that probiotics are bacteria, thus they are susceptible to being killed by antibiotics and should be taken a few hours after antibiotics.


2. Prebiotics

Antibiotics often kill healthy intestinal bacteria while attempting to eliminate dangerous bacteria from the body. Prebiotics encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Unlike probiotics, which are live organisms, prebiotics are components of food that are not otherwise easily digested by humans. These food components essentially feed beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics can be found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbohydrates such as fiber and resistant starch. Even foods that aren’t high in fiber, such as chocolate, can act as a prebiotic. Cocoa is high in antioxidant polyphenols, which have prebiotic properties in the gut microbiome. Since these carbs aren’t digestible by your body, it becomes food for the bacteria and other microbes, so they should be consumed after medications.


3. Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, and kimchi are made with a variety of good bacterial species that help to replace gut bacteria that have been harmed by antibiotics. Studies have shown that people who eat more fermented foods have more healthy bacteria like lactobacilli in their intestines and less dangerous bacteria like enterobacteria.


Foods to Avoid While Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics are usually taken with water because many other liquids, like fruit juices or alcohol, can affect how the body absorbs some drugs. After taking an antibiotic, you may need to wait for up to three hours before drinking or eating any of the following:

1. Alcohol

While most medications don’t mix with alcohol, metronidazole’s interaction is different from the rest. Drinking alcohol with this medication is a contraindication. A contraindication is something you should avoid while taking medication because it can cause serious harm.

2. Dairy Products Other Than Yogurt

Dairy products are healthy, but not when coupled with antibiotics. This is because the calcium content of these foods prevents the body from absorbing medications. The exception is yogurt because it contains probiotics.

3. Iron Supplements

Iron can attach to tetracycline antibiotics in the stomach and decrease how much the body can absorb, making them less effective. To avoid this interaction, take iron two hours before or four hours after taking tetracyclines.


Antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed, and always for the entire duration of the doctor’s recommendation. It’s important to remember that just because your symptoms may have subsided doesn’t mean that all of the bacteria in your system have been eradicated, and the remaining bacteria may trigger a relapse of the sickness. Although this list will provide you with a brief overview of how certain foods interact with antibiotics, always consult with a doctor or pharmacist regarding any specific concerns.

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