Did you know that your gut microbiome can weigh as much as five pounds and consists of around 100 trillion bacterial organisms? In fact, they form a unique and complex ecosystem inside every human being! On top of that, it has been scientifically proven that most of them are very beneficial to your overall health.
Now, if you are suffering from a bacterial infection, your doctor will most likely give you a prescription for an antibiotic. A course of antibiotics is an extremely effective treatment, but it comes at a high cost. Aside from getting rid of the harmful bacteria that caused the infection, it will wipe out the good bacteria as well.
Consequently, you might have to deal with the symptoms of dysbiosis – the disruption of your gut flora. The short-term symptoms can range from weight gain to yeast infections, but the long-term ones are far more serious. In the most severe cases, dysbiosis might result in diabetes or even cancer.
Luckily, if done right, restoring your gut health is relatively simple! More often than not, making small but well-thought-out changes to your diet is all you need to do. To prove it, we came up with a comprehensive guide on taking care of your personal microbiome after you are done with taking antibiotics. Take a look!
Start Taking A Probiotic Supplement
Dietary supplements have become really popular in recent years. And when it comes to improving your gut flora, probiotics are probably the most effective out of them all. But what are probiotics, and how do they work?
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and yeasts that are naturally found in the gut and many different foods, such as kefir and yogurt. What they do is keep your body healthy by helping prevent the growth of harmful microbes.
There are many high-quality probiotic supplements you can choose from, such as Primal Harvest Probiotics. Such supplements usually come in the form of small, white capsules. Taking one capsule a day combined with a balanced diet and exercise should bring your gut microbiota back to a healthy state in no time!
Don’t Forget About Prebiotics
Now that you know what probiotics are, it’s time to introduce you to prebiotics! Though they might seem and sound like the same thing, there is a significant difference between the two.
While probiotics are live gut bacteria, prebiotics are the foods that promote their growth and activity. You can find them in plants and milk, both of which are a huge part of many people’s diets. Consequently, you might be consuming a lot of prebiotics already without even realizing it!
Now, you can probably tell that increasing your daily intake of prebiotic foods will be pretty beneficial if you have just finished taking antibiotics. So, if possible, consider eating more garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, and oats. They are considered to be the best prebiotic foods!
Have A Diverse And Balanced Diet
Consuming a variety of different foods is really beneficial to your health. Firstly, it provides your body with all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to do its job. Secondly, and most importantly, it helps the bacterial species in your gut thrive! But where should you begin if you are trying to change your diet for the better? Let’s start with the basics!
When preparing your meals, keep in mind that they should consist of foods that are rich in fiber and protein. Fiber boosts the functioning of your digestive system, while protein is an integral part of all human cells. As such, your body needs it to repair cells and make new ones.
Next, try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar, such as pastries and chocolate milk. They can trigger gut inflammation and indigestion that can result in bloating and diarrhea. Developing such symptoms while you are trying to improve the state of your gut flora would be pretty counterproductive, don’t you think?
Eat More Fermented Foods
Fermentation is a complicated process during which bacteria and yeasts break down sugars in order to obtain the energy they need to survive. Thanks to the numerous chemical changes caused by these microbes, fermentation is commonly used to produce alcoholic beverages and various foods.
But why exactly are such foods beneficial to your gut health? Well, they contain large numbers of good bacteria that can be found in your intestines! As a result, eating fermented foods gives your digestive system the gut bacteria necessary to get over the effects of taking antibiotics.
There are many different foods that you can choose from, but the most popular ones are yogurt, kefir, and pickles. Since they are very cheap and can be bought at every supermarket, incorporating them into your diet should be relatively easy!
Stop Smoking And Minimize Drinking
If you really want to take care of your gut flora, it would be best to stop smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption. You might not be fully aware of it, but both of these things have a huge negative impact on your intestines.
Smoking has harmful effects on basically every part of your digestive system. Consequently, smokers tend to suffer from heartburn and peptic ulcers more often than nonsmokers. To make things worse, smoking makes treating those conditions much more complicated than it should be.
And when it comes to alcohol, excessive consumption can cause gut inflammation. It might not seem like a big deal, but aside from lowering the diversity among your good gut bacteria, long-term inflammation increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and dementia.
Read Up On Stress Management Techniques
Stress can affect the pace at which food moves through your body. So, if you are always stressed out, it can cause either diarrhea or constipation. Bear in mind that both of these conditions can lead to the further disruption of your gut flora. Luckily, there are many effective strategies for reducing stress!
Many experts recommend keeping in touch with your friends and loved ones, engaging in regular physical exercise, and getting an adequate amount of sleep every night. Others suggest taking up yoga or trying out different meditation techniques.
However, if you find dealing with stress and anxiety nearly impossible, you might want to look into booking an appointment with a psychotherapist. They will be able to give you professional advice tailored to your specific needs.
How Long Will It Take?
Since everyone has a unique microbiome in their gut, there is no definitive answer to that question. Many doctors say that two months is usually enough for most bacteria to return to normal levels. When it comes to the recent research though, it suggests that it might take up to six months or even more to make a full recovery.
To sum up, taking a course of antibiotics can disrupt your gut microbiome and bring about many unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea or bloating. Fortunately, provided that you commit to leading a healthy lifestyle, most of them are bound to go away in just a few months!
On top of that, you can effectively boost that recovery process! All you need to do is incorporate lots of prebiotics and fermented foods into your diet, as well as take probiotic supplements.
It might seem pretty overwhelming now, but taking great care of your gut flora is way easier than it looks! If you still feel lost or confused, there are many resources out there that can help you understand how dysbiosis works and what treatment options you can potentially go for. Remember that seeing your local dietician or gastroenterologist is always a viable option as well!