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Best Foods to Eat After Taking Antibiotics

After taking antibiotics, it is important to restore the 'good bacteria' in your intestines. If you prefer to do that naturally through diet rather than resorting to supplements, you'll be happy to learn that there are plenty of foods that can help restore your intestinal flora. The rest of this article provides a detailed list of some of the best foods to eat after taking antibiotics.

1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt, or yogurt, is probably the most famous probiotic food, and it certainly is one the best foods to eat after taking antibiotics. Milk is transformed into yogurt through a fermentation process that uses live probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In addition, other lactobacilli as well as bifidobacteria are also sometimes added during or after the culturing process.

Best food after antibiotics
Not all yogurts contain probiotic bacteria.

Normally, the probiotic cultures used to make yogurt remain live and active in the final product. However, pasteurization and some other processes designed to prolong yogurt's shelf life may kill off the health promoting probiotic bacteria. In the US, the National Yogurt Association (NYA) has developed a Live & Active Cultures seal to help consumers identify yogurts that contain significant amounts of live and active probiotic bacteria. The seal is voluntary and available to all manufacturers of refrigerated and frozen yogurt whose products contain at least 100 million (108) cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.

If you live in the US and are planning to eat yogurt to restore your intestinal flora after taking antibiotics, it is best to choose products with the Live & Active Cultures seal. Without the seal, there is no unbiased validation of the amount of live cultures present in the yogurt.

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented in its own juice by various lactic acid bacteria. According to a study published in the December 2007 issue of Applies and Environmental Microbiology, raw sauerkraut can contain more than 13 different species of probiotic bacteria. Each batch of sauerkraut you eat may contain different proportions of different strains of gut-friendly bacteria, which in turn can help you diversify your intestinal flora.

However, not all sauerkraut is equal when it comes to restoring good bacteria after taking antibiotics. In many cases, commercial canned and jarred sauerkraut have been heat-treated and pasteurized, destroying the beneficial bacteria. Fortunately, some health food stores are bringing back this extraordinary health-promoting food. But before you buy a batch of sauerkraut with the intention of eating it as part of your post-antibiotic diet, make sure that it is labeled 'raw' or 'unpasteurized'. Or, consider making gut-friendly sauerkraut at home — it is a simple and inexpensive way to get to enjoy one of the best foods you can eat after taking antibiotics

3. Garlic

Garlic, another good food to eat after a course of antibiotics, is a great source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that help probiotic bacteria grow and flourish in the digestive system. You can think of prebiotics as "food" for probiotics.

Recommendations as to the ideal amount of prebiotics in the diet vary substantially, but in most cases, the recommendations range from 4 to 8 grams (0.14—0.28 oz) for supporting general digestive health, to 15 grams (0.53 oz) or more for those with digestive disorders. A serving of three large garlic cloves provides about 2 grams of prebiotics.

Tip: To make a super healthy Greek-style dip that contains both probiotic bacteria and prebiotic carbohydrates that feed these 'friendly' bacteria, mix probiotic yogurt with minced raw garlic. Add finely chopped cucumber if you like.

4. Jerusalem Artichokes

Unlike garlic, Jerusalem artichokes – also known as sunchokes – are not a particularly famous food. Nevertheless, these earthy tubers are packed full of nutritional benefits. In addition to providing plenty of B vitamins and immune-boosting vitamin C, Jerusalem artichokes are loaded with inulin, a prebiotic fiber that has been shown to stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria.

Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten raw or cooked, and they make a great gut health promoting addition to soups and salads alike. See Health Benefits of Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) for more information about these nutritious tubers.

Prebiotic Foods

5. Almonds

In an in vitro study funded by the Almond Board of California, a group of scientists found that finely ground almonds significantly increased the levels of certain beneficial gut bacteria. The almond preparation was found to lose its prebiotic effect its fat content was removed, suggesting that the probiotic bacteria only use the lipids in almonds for growth.

But there's also another reason why almonds make it to this list of the best foods to eat after antibiotics: A 2010 study found that almonds can help fight off viral infections such as the common cold and flu. After taking antibiotics, you are more prone to new infections as a result of a weakened immune system.

The researchers responsible for this almond study found that naturally occurring chemicals found in almond skins improved the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses and to boost the body's ability to prevent viruses from replicating. Even after the almonds had been digested in the gut, there was still an increase in the body's ability to fight viruses.


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