We are well in the midst of the winter bug and germ season which means the majority of us have already had to battle a virus or two. If viruses develop into more complicated cases, including certain infections, you may have to take a course of antibiotics.
Remember, you WILL NOT be prescribed antibiotics for a simple virus alone. It’s understandable that when you’re sick, or when someone you’re caring for is sick, all you want is a medicine that will make everything better. However, when it comes to viruses like those that cause colds or flu, antibiotic medicines don’t work. In fact, taking antibiotics to try and treat viral illnesses can have long-term negative effects.
When needed, antibiotics are amazing medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. The trouble is, antibiotics sweep through all the bacteria in their path, even the friendly ones that help you digest your food and protect your intestinal membranes. So following a course of antibiotics you will need to take measures to restore your gut to a healthy state as quickly as possible.
What is gut health?
Everyone’s gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. Among other things, these microorganisms promote normal digestive function, and are responsible for approximately 80 percent of our body’s immune response, and helps to regulate our metabolism.
Recent research has shown that a healthy gut is crucial to overall health, and that an unhealthy gut can contribute to a wide range of medical conditions including diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
How to improve your gut health
If you have taken a course of antibiotics and want to take steps to help restore you gut health, you can do the following:
- Eat whole foods and avoid packaged or processed foods, which are high in unwanted food additives and preservatives that disrupt the healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Instead of vegetable or fruit juice, consider increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Eat enough fiber and include whole grains and legumes in your diet.
- Include probiotic-rich foods such as plain yoghurt
- Adding fermented foods such as kefir (unsweetened), sauerkraut, or kimchi can be helpful to maintain a healthy gut.
- Eat a balance of seafoods and lean poultry, and less red meat each week.
- Add a range of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, and consider choosing certain organic produce.
- Reduce and manage stress.