Natural Ways To Restore A Healthy Microbiome After Antibiotics
Why are we concerned about our intestinal flora?
Over the past decade, researchers have begun to pay more attention to the role of microorganisms living in the gut. Recent research has highlighted the importance of our intestinal microbiome and its role in regulating many aspects of our health including our mental health, metabolism, and immune function. As we begin to realize how essential this flora is to our health, it becomes apparent that there may be unintended consequences of antibiotics on our intestinal flora that could have long term effects.
Effects of antibiotics
When we take antibiotics to fight a disease-causing bacteria, the friendly bacteria in our gut is also impacted. This is why doctors do not want to prescribe antibiotics for every minor cold; unnecessary use of antibiotics can lead to other health problems including indigestion, gassiness, weight gain, even depression. When antibiotics are needed to treat a disease, it is critical to take the entire dose recommended by the doctor, because skipping pills can lead to highly dangerous antibiotic-resistant diseases. In these situations, it is also necessary to take steps to restore a healthy microbiome following treatment.
Prebiotics are foods that stimulate the growth of healthy microorganisms in the intestine. These foods are generally high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and complex starches that humans cannot digest, but are great foods for friendly flora. While you can purchase prebiotic supplements at most health food stores, many normal foods are good sources of prebiotic nutrients. Bananas, whole grains, beans, onions, garlic, and most green vegetables provide great substrate for a healthy micro biome.
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Probiotics are the microorganisms that go into a healthy intestinal flora. Following a course of antibiotics, a good probiotic supplement can help to restore the microbiome, but some of the best sources of probiotics are cultured and fermented foods.