Gut microbiome, antibiotics and nutrition
Have you been on antibiotics lately? Are you taking antibiotics at the moment? If the answer is yes, this article might help you keep your microbiome healthy and happy!
Your gut microbiome on antibiotics
In the winter the use of antibiotics may increase, making it even more important to promote the gut microbiome. It plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It helps to break down food, produce vitamins and other nutrients, and last but not least helps support the immune system.
There is no doubt that antibiotics are a powerful tool in modern medicine, they do combat bacterial infections and save lives. However, they can also disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiome, the diverse community of bacteria (around 30 trillion), that lives in our stomach and intestine.
When taking antibiotics, it's important to consume a diet that promotes a healthy gut microbiome. This includes consuming a variety of prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods, as well as avoiding foods that can cause inflammation or negatively impact our gut health.
What can we do?
Here are some specific nutrients and foods to focus on and include in our diet:
Fibre - to promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Foods high in fibre include:
- fruits: berries, apples, and pears
- vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale
- whole grain: quinoa, oats, and barley
- legumes: lentils, chickpeas, and black beans
Probiotics - to help repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria. Foods high in probiotics include: yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods
Glutamine - an amino acid that helps repair the gut lining. Foods high in glutamine include bone broth, grass-fed beef, eggs, and spinach.
Prebiotics - non-digestible carbohydrates which help to support the growth of beneficial bacteria. Prebiotic-rich foods include:
- fruits: bananas, berries, and apples
- vegetables: garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus
- whole grains: oats and barley
- legumes: lentils and chickpeas
- nuts and seeds: almonds and flaxseeds
Of course, to make sure your gut is happy, try to avoid foods that can cause inflammation, such as processed foods, refined sugars, sugary drinks and alcohol.
Stay well-hydrated while taking antibiotics, drinking enough water can help to prevent constipation and other digestive issues (aim for a minimum of 6 to 8 glasses of water per day).
If you have bloating issues, keep in mind that probiotics may not always be the best option, as they can cause an overgrowth of bacteria and gas in some people, leading to more bloating. Prebiotics on the other hand can be tolerated better in some cases.
The bottom line: promoting the gut microbiome through diet when taking antibiotics is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. By consuming a diet rich in probiotics, prebiotics, fibre, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, and avoiding foods that can disrupt the microbiome, such as processed foods, sugary drinks and excessive alcohol consumption, you can help to mitigate the negative effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome.
Some menu ideas to promote gut health
Scrambled eggs with spinach and feta cheese served with a whole-grain or sourdough bread toast.
Grilled chicken breast with a side of mixed greens salad and a small serving of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut.
Baked salmon with a side of roasted vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers) and a serving of quinoa.
Overnight oats with chia seeds, almond milk, and topped with fresh berries, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed.
Vegetable and lentil soup with a side of whole-grain bread and a small serving of yoghurt.
Grilled portobello mushrooms with a side of quinoa and sautéed spinach and garlic.
Smoothie bowl made with banana, spinach, almond milk, and topped with chia seeds, hemp seeds, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Lentil and vegetable soup with a side of whole-grain bread and a small serving of tempeh or miso.
Stuffed bell peppers with a quinoa, black bean, and vegetable filling, served with a side of sautéed kale
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