*This article was originally featured on Yoga Today.
We can’t discuss all things gut health without mentioning antibiotics.
We’ve all taken them for different reasons across the board for skin conditions, yeast infections, sinus infections, UTIs, bronchitis, etc. Sometimes, they are totally necessary to kill off big bacteria that we might not be able to fight on our own. However, I feel safe saying and generally speaking, antibiotics are overprescribed. I know when I was a little girl, I took at least one full round of antibiotics per cold and flu season.
So what do they even do?
Antibiotics kill all the bacteria that we have in our system, and hopefully those that are making us sick. However, they can’t determine between the bad bacteria and the good bacteria which we know we need, so they wipe out all of it, just incase. This means, when we lose the bugs making us sick, we also lose all the bugs keeping us well.
Our bodies are made up of more bacteria than human cells, and it is important to keep the ratio of good to bad bacteria in balance, because let’s be real, there will always be some bad. You can learn exactly how to support your gut here. This healthy gut keeps us well and decreases the likelihood that we catch an infection to begin with. However, sometimes life happens. A huge life stressor weakens our immune systems. Perhaps your child starts attending a new school, or you just touch the wrong door handle and you catch something. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes you have to take that antibiotic now to get you to a point where you can actually stop fighting and start recovering.
If we don’t take the proper steps to encourage those healthy bacteria to grow and stick around in our gut after taking a round of antibiotics, we risk developing something more serious or having the infection come right back.
So here is a general guide to helping those good bacteria thrive in that beautiful gut of yours:
1. Eat fermented foods.
This includes kefir, miso, sauerkraut, cultured coconut yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, apple cider vinegar and beet kvass. All of these fermented foods will help repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Don’t skimp on quality here. We want the good, live stuff!
2. Consider taking a probiotic.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help restore the balance of the gut microbiome. They promote overall gut health, help with digestion, as well as support both the immune system and brain. When choosing a probiotic, try to get one with a few different strains of bacteria. The more variety of probiotics in our system, the abler we are to keep the bad bacteria out. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are common, good strains of bacteria that are readily available in most health food stores. S. boulardii, a beneficial yeast, is especially useful during antibiotic treatment. Since it is a yeast rather than a bacteria strain, the antibiotics can’t kill it. It’s very important to not skimp on quality here. You want to get what you are actually paying for. There is a big difference in the quality of supplements on a shelf at a store, as opposed to in a doctor’s office. Doctors have access to medical-grade supplements, that are more powerful than others. If you have an awesome doctor, turn to them for information. If not, I also have some of my favorites featured on my website here.
3. Eat foods rich in prebiotics.
Probiotics are incredibly powerful, but they won’t actually stick around if they aren’t fed properly. Make sure to include foods high in prebiotics when recovering (and really always!) to support those healthy bugs. These foods include: onion, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens, garlic, etc.
4. Look into L-glutamine.
L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining. This amino acid plays a critical role in healthy digestion and brain function and protects against mucosal breakdown in the gut. For me personally, this supplement has been a game-changer. You will find this amino acid in a lot of intestinal support supplements. This is one of my favorites.
5. Drink bone broth.
There is a reason why your grandma feeds you chicken soup whenever you get sick. Bone broth is loaded with minerals and vitamins. It also contains gelatin, which absorbs water and helps strengthen the mucus layer of the colon which keeps gut microbes away from the intestinal barrier. Glutamine, an amino acid found in bone broth, helps maintain the integrity of the gut mucosa and intestinal barrier.
6. Support your liver.
The liver has to process all supplements and medications that enter our system, so antibiotics can take a serious toll. Here are a few natural ways to support your liver (along with eating a clean diet):
Try taking milk thistle. Milk thistle is an herbal supplement that detoxifies the liver and has been used as a natural treatment for liver disorders.
Drink beet juice. Beets are packed with iron, calcium, betaine, B vitamins and antioxidants. They improve liver function by thinning the bile, making for easier flow.
Add in dandelion greens. They help to detoxify the liver and promote increased bile production. Personally, I love dandelion tea!
1. Refined foods (sugar and simple carbohydrates).
Bad gut bacteria thrive off of these bad foods. Your gut needs all of the help that it can get, so keep away from anything that could damage it. Replace these with fresh, unprocessed foods.
2. Gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and sugar.
These foods are commonly inflammatory and tend to poke holes in the gut lining, leading to weakening of the immune system. Many people have sensitivities or negative reactions to these foods without even knowing it. Additionally, these foods tend to be genetically modified, so staying away from them is always a safe bet.
Gastrointestinal function is influenced by stress. Stress can cause changes in mucosal permeability and barrier function, visceral sensitivity and mucosal blood flow among others. So first and foremost, don’t stress about having to take the antibiotic. Sometimes, it happens! I’ll never forget a time when I picked up a rare skin infection that you get when in a dirty hot tub, but I hadn’t been in a hot tub in years. It was super scary and weird, and I had to surrender. So I took the antibiotic and followed the guide above. Also, this is the perfect excuse to slow things down a little bit and make some more time for self-care.
This guide was put together to help you stay healthy after taking a round of antibiotics. This does not serve as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting a new program and/or supplement. And always, listen to your body! You know it best.
*The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
*This article was originally featured + written for Yoga Lifestyles.
Collagen is a serious buzzword in the wellness world today. You may have heard about collagen being injected to achieve plump lips and supple skin, but did you know you can enjoy the benefits without the needles? In fact, you can ingest collagen! You can find them easily packaged in ready-to-use powder. People put it in everything from smoothies to pancakes to protein bars.
So, what actually is collagen and what are the benefits of taking collagen?
Simply put, collagen is a protein. It’s actually the most abundant protein in our bodies, and most of your body can experience collagen benefits such as your muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, connective tissues, digestive system and tendons. It’s what helps give our skin strength and buoyancy, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, it helps kind of hold everything in the body together.
Top 5 Health Benefits of Collagen
Collagen makes you younger from the inside out by hydrating skin, reducing wrinkles and cellulite
Collagen is an essential component of the dermis layer of skin. It’s what provides that body and bounce. As we get older, our collagen protein decreases leaving us with looser skin and more wrinkles. Supplementation with collagen has been shown to increase skin flexibility, skin hydration, and reduce the depth of wrinkles.
It can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Improving your skin’s elasticity helps plump up that thin skin and reduces dimpling. This is why you will find collagen protein benefits in face and beauty products everywhere, but these molecules are often too big to be absorbed through the skin, so take it orally! Check out our delicious recipes featuring collagen health.
Collagen builds strong, healthy hair, nails, and teeth
The growth of hair follicles is dependent on the collagen matrix in the skin. Without adequate collagen, the total number and thickness of hair follicles can be reduced – queue hair thinning as we get older. Collagen is also an essential component of our nails, teeth and hair. So if your nails are super short and brittle, low collagen could be to blame.
Collagen enhances gut health
If you need to know anything about gut health, it’s that you want to increase the good bugs (bacteria), decrease the bad bugs and keep everything where it should be (i.e. no food particles passing into the bloodstream). This is where collagen comes in. Collagen benefits you by helping to build the connective tissue of the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract, therefore helping prevent any particles from going where they shouldn’t.
Glutamine, an amino acid in collagen, helps prevent inflammation in the gut lining. Collagen peptides benefits the gastrointestinal tract pull in water and attract acid molecules, helping break down and move food through the system. Suffer from a disease like leaky gut, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis? Add a collagen supplement to your routine to receive collagen powder benefits as well as the benefits of collagen protein. Did you you can also take collagen for IBS?
Collagen helps reduce joint pain
Reducing joint pain is among the many benefits of taking collagen. Collagen is found all over the body, but it concentrates both where joints meet and in the connective tissue binding us together. The primary amino acid in collagen is glycine. The body requires at least 10 grams per day for basic metabolic processes and maintenance – if everything is running smoothly.
If you struggle with a disease that disrupts glycine synthesis, like rheumatoid arthritis, exercise a lot, or are recovering from an injury, your body needs more. Increase your collagen intake, and lose your creaky joints.
Collagen helps you sleep better
Glycine, the amino acid mentioned above, supports healthy inflammation response and promotes deeper, more restorative sleep. Studies have shown that glycine affects neurotransmitters in a way that promotes better quality sleep. So almond butter energy bars are actually a good idea after dinner.