Erin Schumacher, Guest Writer
Most of us have taken antibiotics at some point in our lives. We take these powerful drugs because we are told by our healthcare professionals that we must. After all, who would want to risk a serious bacterial infection when it could be easily avoided? Antibiotics are great at what they do; they kill bacteria. Unfortunately, they are unable to discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria.
There are over 100 trillion good bacteria in our bodies that play a vital role in our overall health and well-being, particularly to immune function and digestion.
Many of these bacteria are destroyed by antibiotic treatments and therefore must be quickly replenished. The best way to do this is by consuming probiotics, which contain live bacteria that will repopulate the gut.
If you neglect to help replenish the good bacteria after a course of antibiotics, you are risking reinfection, as your immune system will be compromised. The best practice is to begin taking probiotics while taking antibiotics; however, you should wait at least a few hours after your dose of antibiotics to take a dose of probiotics.
Probiotic Foods and Supplements
One: Yogurt –
One of the best probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Look for brands made from goat milk that has been infused with extra forms of probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat’s milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifidus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Be sure to read the ingredients list, as not all yogurts are made equally. Many popular brands are filled with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors.
Two: Kefir –
Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat milk and fermented grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. Look for a good, organic version at your local health food shop.
Three: Sauerkraut –
Made from fermented cabbage (as well as other vegetables), sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but also aids in reducing allergy symptoms.
Four: Microalgae (Spirulina and Chlorella) –
These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract.
Five: Miso Soup –
Miso is one the main-stays of Japanese traditional medicine, and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup, full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.
Six: Kombucha Tea –
This is a form of fermented tea high in healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your wellbeing and maybe even help you lose weight. Look for it in your grocery store, health food store, or you can even make your own!
There are also many probiotic supplements on the market now; however be sure to buy a reputable brand. Some of these supplements are worthless as they contain no live bacteria. Be sure to check the label for the number of live cultures. You also want to make sure the product contains no fillers like Magnesium Stearate and Steric Acid.
Many of us no longer want to jump on the antibiotic bandwagon each time we get a sore throat or infection. These apprehensions are well-founded considering the more recent occurrences of Candida and fungal infections that are thought to be caused by antibiotics, and the fact that diseases seem to be getting smarter each day.
However, there may be times when taking antibiotics is necessary; however, the majority of the time they are used without sufficient cause and end up doing much more damage than good. Most bacterial infections can be healed naturally.
So the next time you get a chest cold, instead of running to the doctor, first attempt curing your infection with these powerful, natural probiotics that also promote overall health and well being:
One: Manuka honey (UMF 15+ or higher)
Manuka honey keeps some bacteria from being able to attach themselves to tissue. It also hampers bacteria from forming biofilms, which bacteria use as protection from antibiotics.
Two: Garlics and Onions
Both of these foods have been used over the centuries for their antibiotic properties. Garlic has a compound named “allicin” that has both antibacterial and antifungal effects, and has shown in studies to reduce staphylococcus albus.
Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic that helps prevent bacteria from attaching to our cell’s walls.
Echinacea is a flower/herbal immunity booster. For starters, try it in the form of a tea. Stay clear of teas that include citric acid, which may inhibit the medicinal properties.
Five: Colloidal silver
Colloidal silver is a tasteless liquid can be taken in place of an antibiotic, and is especially helpful for upper respiratory ailments. If you want to take this instead of an antibiotic, you need to begin at the onset of an illness and take the max dosage without skipping a dose. Colloidal silver will kill both good and bad bacterium — which means you need to keep adding disease fighting good bacteria to your diet.
Six: Oregano Oil
Oregano oil shows antibacterial and antifungal effects. According to the book “Healing Foods”, the active ingredients thymol and carvacrol in oil of oregano have shown to inhibit the growth of two bacteria often associated with skin infections: pseudomonas aeruginosa and staphylococcus aureus.
You don’t have to worry about natural antibiotics killing the good bacteria in your gut as they, unlike prescription antibiotics, are able to target only the bad bacteria. You can use these natural remedies any time you get sick, as a preventive measure, without any worry of negative side-effects.
About the Author
Erin Schumacher is a health and nutrition theorist and healer, and shares her love of yoga and self-healing with her students and personal coaching clientele. Please visit her excellent website at www.ErinSchumacher.net.