Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for treating infections caused by harmful bacteria. When used correctly, they are very effective at killing off the harmful bacteria causing an infection, but at the same time, they can wipe out some of the beneficial bacteria too.
So, what can you do to help give your gut bacteria some TLC?
Eat more plant-based foods
Dr Sammie Gill, gastroenterology dietitian and research manager at Symprove told The Times:
“Focus on plant-based diet diversity (wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit and veg) to help to support your gut microbiome back to its pre-antibiotic state. Importantly, plant-based foods are packed with different types of dietary fibre and phytochemicals (polyphenols), which act as substrates (“food”) for gut microbes. Ensure plenty of naturally occurring prebiotics found in foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke and bananas to help nourish specific microbial communities with known health benefits (eg bifidobacteria).”
Why not get started with some of these healthy, plant-based recipes from Deliciously Ella?
Red Cabbage, Apple & Ginger Sauerkraut
Buckwheat Crunch Chocolate Berry Bowls
Take a supplement
“Antibiotics can negatively affect the gut microbiome, which has an essential role in the metabolism of nutrients, immunity, digestion, and skin health to name just a few. Antibiotics are non-selective and while they have a crucial role in killing harmful bacteria, they can also harm the “good” bacteria of our microbiome.” Says Dr Chris George, GP, in The Times.
“There are numerous ways to support a healthy gut microbiome. Taking a food supplement or probiotic alongside antibiotics may reduce negative side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, indigestion, low energy levels and dysbiosis (imbalance of the gut microbiome). It may also maintain a healthy gut microbiome during the treatment course and replenish the gut with beneficial bacteria afterwards. Make sure you complete the course of antibiotics — not doing so can increase the risk of antibiotic resistance.”
To find out more about how Symprove could support you, check out our Symprove Explained. Or call our friendly Customer Experience Team on 01252 413600.
How else can I look after my gut?
Get outside in nature
In a blog post on the benefits of nature for the gut Dietitian Laura Tilt shares “Most of us have the instinctive sense that spending time outdoors can have a positive effect on our state of mind. But evidence suggests the benefits of natural environments reach beyond the brain, right down into the gut.”
Set yourself the challenge of brining more nature into your life by taking your activity outdoors, whether that be for a gentle walk, run, or yoga session, or simply by eating your breakfast in the garden.
“We know that each of your gut microbes, and there are trillions, have their own body clock so try and be consistent with your sleeping patterns i.e., going to bed and waking up at a similar time. Make sure your room is cool at night, it will mimic the drop in body temperature and encourage a good night’s sleep. And if possible, avoid screen time before bed, read a book, dim the lights, and do some deep breathing exercises.” Shares Dr Sammie Gill.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a few minutes of deep breathing can help you to feel calmer. That’s because deep breathing can switch on the parasympathetic nervous system - the opposite of the fight or flight response. Try box breathing where you breathe in for four seconds, hold for four, breathe out for four and hold for four. Practice this for 1-2 minutes, really focussing on your breath. Laura Tilt shares her tips for managing the impact of stress on your gut here.