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4 things you must do after a course of antibiotics

4 things you must do after a course of antibiotics

Antibiotics are a touchy subject. There is a lot of overuse (you hear all the time about doctors prescribing them straight away, without even being sure what the issue is) and resistance is becoming a real problem.

4 things you must do after a course of antibiotics

Whilst I’d love to say I’d never take them, there are certain situations where antibiotics truly are a modern miracle. In fact, I took them not so long ago when I found out I was host to an unwelcome parasite. The problem with antibiotics, is that as well as killing off the infection, they also kill off all of the good bacteria in our gut.

With diminished good bacterial colonies in the gut, this can significantly reduce your immune system and mess with your hormone balance. But it doesn’t have to be permanent. Here are some steps you can take to help your gut to repair as soon as you’ve finished the course of antibiotics.

1. Eat strict paleo

So perhaps you’re clean eating had lapsed slightly before your antibiotics – but now is the time to get back on the wagon. Ditch anything processed and eat real, whole foods, keeping sugar (from natural sources) and carbohydrates low whilst you’re healing.

2. Eat fermented foods everyday

Have some kombucha, sauerkraut, yoghurt or kimchi ready to go. Fermented foods will help to re-introduce probiotics to your gut – so make sure to mix up your fermented foods and eat them regularly. You can also look at probiotic supplements.

3. You’ve taken care of probiotics – don’t forget prebiotics

Soluble fibre such as that provided from root vegetables and peeled fruit is a great way to feed the good bacteria you need to re-establish.

4. Eat bone broth

Said to be able to resurrect the dead, bone broth is the ideal nourishment after your course of antibiotics. It will help support your liver and digestive system –so make sure you have a big batch ready to go.

What’s your approach to antibiotics? Have you taken many courses?

 

 

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It’s not just about you…

It may be a little strange to think of, but the body you inhabit isn’t strictly your own. In fact, you’re sharing it with approximately 100 trillion bacteria that colonise your gut – your own unique army of micro-organisms. But it’s not as scary as it sounds, as these tiny creatures control your health in a variety of ways. Firstly, they extract energy from food; the greater the diversity of your gut bacteria, the more effectively you are able to digest nutrients. Gut bacteria break down carbohydrates, and prevent them from being stored as fat – hence the reason there is a direct correlation between insufficient gut bacteria and obesity. They also build your immune system, and are directly linked with your emotional health; restoring gut flora has been shown to boost mood and fight depression.

In the right conditions, you can live in harmony with your gut flora and co-exist very happily. Look after them, and in turn, they look after you. But, create a troublesome environment for them (through inflammation, stress, or antibiotic use amongst other things) and they will be compromised, and in turn, so will your health. Here are a few things you may wish to consider in order to care for your gut flora.

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Consider a high quality probiotic

The first (and most obvious) thing you can do to support your healthy gut flora is to supplement with a high quality probiotic. This will help to repopulate your digestive tract with beneficial bacteria. Opt for a probiotic with a number of different strains of bacteria, and consider rotating your supplements over time to maintain greater diversity.

If you’re wondering how our ancestors maintained healthy gut flora long before probiotic supplements hit the shelves (or the shelves were even invented) then consider the point below!

Eat Organic Produce

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors’ gastrointestinal tracts would have been teeming with a huge diversity of bacteria, taken directly from the untouched soil in which their produce grew. They wouldn’t have worried about washing their hands after digging for them, let alone washing the produce itself. Modern day agricultural methods and non-organic farming have seen our soils stripped of this bacteria; unfortunately, conventionally grown plants grow in soil that is virtually sterile. The solution? Buy organic, preferably local – and don’t worry about thoroughly washing scrubbing every vegetable. A bit of dirt will only be beneficial.

Eat Fermented Foods

Fermented foods play a large part in the diet of almost all traditional cultures, and would have further supplemented their gut biomes. Fermented foods like Kombucha, Sauerkraut and Kimchi are rich in beneficial bacteria; and they’re delicious, too. Consider making your own fermented foods, or if you have to buy them, make sure they are unpasteurised so the bacteria remains.

Eat food rich in prebiotics

Just like you, your gut bacteria need to be fed. Feed them the right foods, and they will thrive. Prebiotics are found in foods such as Chicory, Jerusalem Artichoke, Onions, Leeks and Garlic – and they stimulate and nourish the good bacteria in your gut.

Try resistant starch

Much like prebiotics, resistant starch provides optimum fuel for your gut bacteria. Resistant starch is starch that passes through the colon undigested, thus giving the bacteria an excellent food source. Paleo friendly sources of resistant starch include cooked and cooled tubers – especially arrowroot and cassava.

Avoid sugars and high GI Carbohydrates

On the other side of the coin, if you eat a diet high in sugar and other high GI carbohydrates, you are providing optimum fuel for the bad bacteria in your gut (such as Candida). Who knew there were any further reasons to give up the sugar and grains!?

Don’t Stress

Finally, the most important thing you can do to support your gut bacteria is to reduce the inflammation that makes their living environment hellish to live in. Along with a poor diet, stress causes excessive inflammation within the body. Take time to relax, exercise, perhaps meditate – so that your gut bacteria can do the same.

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How Is Your Gut Health?

After the stress and perhaps over indulgences of the festive season – how is your gut health?

Our ancestors were surrounded by dirt – and certainly won’t have washed their hands in antibacterial soap before touching everything! Today, everyone is terrified of germs and dirt. Children aren’t allowed to get dirty – people can’t even make food without wearing those horrible blue plastic gloves – yuck!

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So many factors in our modern lifestyle are stacked against maintaining good gut flora. The antibiotics given out by so many doctors kill off most bacteria (good as well as bad). Stress hormones also do a good job of killing of gut flora. It’s probably therefore little wonder that so many of us don’t have good gut health.

Having good gut health promotes a good immune system, which is why some people never seem to catch the germs going around the office. Healthy gut bacteria is also essential in proper, good digestion. Healthy gut flora enable you to properly absorb the nutrients in the food you’re eating (after all, we are what we absorb, rather than what we eat)

Whilst yoghurts with live cultures have become extremely popular as a method of improving gut health, they don’t appear to be the best solution, given that many people don’t tolerate dairy – and of course the pasteurisation has an significant impact on the amount of live culture left in the finished product. A lot of these yoghurts also have a lot of sugar added.

One of the better options to improve your gut health is taking probiotic supplements. When you compare the ingredients, you’ll notice huge variations between the different brands. For this reason, I like Primal Flora, as it’s been created with an ancestral diet in mind.
Primal Flora
What do you do to improve your gut health? Do you take probiotics? Please share, in the comments below!

Why You Need To Stop Buying Ground Beef minced mince-min

Why You Need To Stop Buying Ground Beef

So many recipes call for ground beef (or mince meat, depending on where you’re from). It’s on sale in every supermarket and butcher, but what exactly is in it – and should you buy it?

What Actually Is It?

The point of mince meat, is to use all of the bits of the animal that can’t be used elsewhere. Commercially produced ground beef will typically contain parts from hundreds of different carcasses. This product is also a good way to make use of old dairy cattle, and other animals that wouldn’t be used for the popular cuts of meat. A pack of ground beef could contain all sorts of different parts of thousands of cows, yet the ingredients will still say “100% beef”.

Why You Need To Stop Buying Ground Beef minced mince-min

The E. Coli Risk

The other significant problem with ground beef, is the health risk.

E. Coli can get into the food chain when the dirty exterior (and particularly any faeces) come into contact with the inside of the meat – the bits that go into the mince.

In a small scale operation cross contamination like this is unlikely, but in a large processing plant, where workers are under pressure to turn around as many animals as possible, the risk is far higher. The way ground meat is made, means any bacteria that has accumulate on the surface of the meat will rapidly permeate through the whole product.

Where so many animal parts are present in one product, the risk is obviously greatly increased. To mitigate the risk, the meat is often vacuumed, washed with hot water and lactic acid, but these measures do not guarantee safety.

What’s The Solution?

For me, the solution is making my own ground beef. I have bought an old fashioned, hand operated mincer, that clamps to my kitchen counter. This means I can buy my own grass-fed organic beef, from my trusted butcher. This way I know exactly what my minced meat contains, I can make it fresh when I need it, and won’t need to store it, which will help the bacteria risk.

Do you make your own ground meat? I’d love to hear your thoughts on minced meat, and whether you’re happy to buy it, or make your own.

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Should You Take Probiotics?

Probiotics are constantly being advertised, but what are they, exactly? And if you follow a good, healthy Paleo diet, should you consider taking them?

Probiotics are, for the most part, live organisms such as bacteria that people consume in order to gain several health benefits. But how is this possible? After all, people often take antibiotics to deal with bacteria inside their bodies that are causing problems. Well, the thing is that there is a distinction to be made between good bacteria and bad bacteria. In normal circumstances, the body has a pretty good balance between the two so the bad bacteria cannot do any damage. However, there are situations such as being ill where this balance is lost. Therefore, taking probiotic supplements allows you to regain the balance and prevent a lot of further medical complications.

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There are many different kinds of bacteria found in probiotics supplements and they all come with various health benefits. One of the most common genera is lactobacillus, which contains over 50 species of bacteria used in probiotics. These species can also be found in yoghurt and are usually effective at preventing certain infections as well as diarrhoea and skin disorders.

The genus of bacteria that makes up for almost 90% of all good bacteria found in the human body is bifidobacteria, which contains around 30 different species. They are immediately present in our bodies since birth and can help with various problems such as dental cavities, abdominal pains, bloating and bowel problems.

There are four other major bacteria genera found in the body: saccharomyces boulardii, streptococcus thermophilus, enterococcus faecium and leuconostoc. Each of them contains various species that have a positive effect on the human body, in one way or another.

For the most part, the healthy benefits that come from taking probiotic supplements impact two major areas: our digestive tract and our immune system. They affect our digestive tract because, as mentioned previously, they restore the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria which can shift due to stress, bad diet, lack of sleep, drug usage etc. Their goal is to not let the bad bacteria grow in large amounts as this can lead to problems, but they also do not eliminate it completely since our bodies do have certain uses for it. Probiotics also help by eliminating toxins, chemicals and other harmful substances from our digestive tract while also helping absorb nutrients and delivering them to the cells that require them.

Probiotic supplements also have an impact on our immune system. They do not necessarily make it stronger, but by keeping the balance they ensure that the immune system is operating at maximum efficiency. Whenever this does not happen we are prone to being attacked by germs and this can lead to bad medical complications in some people. Allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders and infections are common results of this problem.

Therefore, taking probiotic supplements can have quite a positive effect on our bodies. However, they require the same care and attention as normal supplements, making sure that the brand is reputable (i.e. Paleo compliant) and that you take the recommended dosage.

Do you take any type of Probiotic alongside following the Paleo diet? And if so, which brand do you use?