Foods to Eat & Foods to Avoid When Taking Antibiotics

Foods to Eat & Foods to Avoid When Taking Antibiotics Thumbnail

Last updated on August 11th, 2023 at 08:11 pm

Antibiotics can save lives, relieve symptoms of bacterial infections, and help us recover faster. They destroy healthy and harmful bacteria in your gut while trying to eradicate bacteria in your body system. Antibiotics work by disrupting essential processes or structures in the bacterial cell. This either kills the bacteria or slows down bacterial growth. Furthermore, we will tackle more about what are the Foods To Avoid When Taking Antibiotics.

Antibiotics do not affect viral infections. Taking antibiotics for just one week can alter the composition of your gut bacteria for up to a year. This fact, together with the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs, is one of the reasons why many doctors will not prescribe antibiotics unless they are confident you have a bacterial infection.

If you're taking antibiotics, there are foods you can eat to help restore the good bacteria in your stomach and reduce the risk of adverse effects.

Foods To Avoid When Taking Antibiotics-Antibiotics

Foods To Consume While Taking Antibiotics

Taking your medicine with meals may help you avoid feeling unwell. However, some antibiotics, like Penicillin and Fluoxacillin, must be taken on an empty stomach to absorb fully. The following foods can help boost your immune system during your antibiotics.

1. Cumin

Cumin has been used for thousands of years as a natural antibiotic. Not only does it taste great, but it also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties that make it widely used worldwide. It can aid digestion, so if you are having a difficult time with your stomach, it can help provide relief.

Foods To Avoid When Taking Antibiotics-cumin

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory and can help treat infections at the source. Eating turmeric is an excellent opportunity to reinforce your immune system and relieve pain.

Foods To Avoid When Taking Antibiotics-Turmeric

3. Honey

Raw honey has many medicinal properties, from soothing skin conditions to soothing sore throats. It has been used to fight infections and treat illnesses for thousands of years. The best part is that it tastes great and can be used anytime, blended with other foods, or enjoyed straight out of the jar.  It's an excellent antibiotic with more uses than you can dream of.


4. Green Leafy Vegetables

Excess consumption of antibiotics can disturb the good bacteria in your body and may even harm Vitamin K levels, creating a deficiency. You can compensate for this loss by consuming foods rich in Vitamin K, like green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, and romaine. Green tea, asparagus, and beef liver are also rich in Vitamin K.


5. Ginger

Ginger can help prevent you from feeling nauseous. It contains powerful antibacterial properties that can ease indigestion and soothe the stomach while helping to eliminate toxins from your body.

Foods To Consume After Taking Antibiotics

  • Probiotics

Probiotics lower the risk of antibiotic-related side effects. They help to rebalance the gut microbiome following antibiotic use. The most effective probiotics are lactobacilli and Saccharomyces. Many individuals now choose to supplement their natural bacteria with a probiotic supplement when prescribed antibiotics. Your local pharmacist may even recommend probiotics when dispensing antibiotics. Do note that probiotics are bacteria. Thus they are susceptible to being killed by antibiotics and should be taken a few hours after antibiotics.

probiotics-dictionary-word Antibiotics

  • Prebiotics

Antibiotics often kill healthy intestinal bacteria while attempting to eliminate dangerous bacteria from the body. Prebiotics encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Unlike probiotics, which are live organisms, prebiotics are components of food that humans do not otherwise easily digest. These food components essentially feed beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics can be found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbohydrates such as fiber and resistant starch. Even foods that aren't high in fiber, such as chocolate, can act as a prebiotic. Cocoa is high in antioxidant polyphenols, which have prebiotic properties in the gut microbiome.  The body doesn't digest carbs which become food for bacteria and other microbes. Therefore, consume them after medications.


  • Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, and kimchi are made with various suitable bacterial species that help replace gut bacteria that antibiotics have harmed. Studies have shown that people who eat more fermented foods have more healthy bacteria like lactobacilli in their intestines and less dangerous bacteria like enterobacteria.


Foods To Avoid While Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics are usually taken with water because many other liquids, like fruit juices or alcohol. This can affect how the body absorbs some drugs. After taking an antibiotic, you may need to wait for up to three hours before drinking or eating. Here are the foods to avoid while taking antibiotics:

1. Alcohol

While most medications don't mix with alcohol, metronidazole's interaction differs from the rest. Drinking alcohol with this medication is a contraindication. It would help if you avoided contraindications while taking medicines because they can cause serious harm.

2. Dairy Products Other Than Yogurt

Dairy products are healthy, but not when coupled with antibiotics. This is because the calcium content of these foods prevents the body from absorbing medications. The exception is yogurt because it contains probiotics.

3. Iron Supplements

Iron can attach to tetracycline antibiotics in the stomach and decrease how much the body can absorb, making them less effective. To avoid this interaction, take iron two hours before or four hours after taking tetracyclines.


Antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed and always for the entire duration of the doctor's recommendation. Remember, subsided symptoms don't mean eradication of bacteria. Also, the remaining bacteria may trigger a relapse of the sickness. Although this list will provide a brief overview of how certain foods interact with antibiotics, always consult a doctor or pharmacist regarding any specific concerns.

Good health starts with good food! Learn how you can naturally heal your body from the inside out. Click here for more information.

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