When you are prescribed antibiotics, you might be concerned about how it will affect your diet. However, taking antibiotics as prescribed is an important part of your treatment. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria; they do not target viruses or other microorganisms. Therefore, eating a healthy and balanced diet while taking antibiotics is essential to ensure they are effective and that side effects are minimized. In general, almost all foods can be consumed with or without worries when taking antibiotics. However, there are some food items and drinks that should be avoided during this period because they could react adversely with the antibiotic intake or vice versa. To make things easier for you, we’ve listed those foods and drinks below:
Alcohol is not recommended during the course of antibiotic treatment, as it may reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic. According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, alcohol consumption significantly decreases the blood concentration of antibiotics by 20%, which may increase the risk of bacterial resistance. When you take antibiotics, your gut bacteria is reduced, but alcohol consumption may further decrease the presence of bacteria in the gut, which usually help to metabolize the medicine. This can lead to reduced effectiveness of the antibiotics, which may be harmful in the long run, since it may increase the risk of recurrence of the infection.
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are packed with fibre, which is a great source of nutrients. However, they are also rich in naturally occurring oligosaccharides that can have a laxative effect. These oligosaccharides are broken down in the large intestine and can cause diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is one of the most common side effects of antibiotics and is due to the destruction of beneficial gut bacteria. While oligosaccharides can be completely eliminated by proper cooking, consuming them in their raw form can lead to diarrhoea, especially when taking antibiotics, as the antibiotic action disrupts the beneficial bacteria, leaving only harmful bacteria intact.
The white and yolk of the eggs are high in protein and are a great source of important nutrients for the body. However, eggs and their derivatives, such as mayonnaise, are rich in an amino acid called tyramine, which can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure and may lead to the development of headaches. Oral antibiotics and chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, can lower the levels of tyramine in the body, which can lead to headaches if consumed while taking antibiotics.
Unfortunately, dairy products are not recommended while taking antibiotics, since they have the ability to reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic and cause diarrhoea as well. Dairy products have a high concentration of Lactobacillus bacteria, which may help with weight loss, improve the immune system and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, antibiotics have been found to target the Lactobacillus bacteria, which can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics and lead to the onset of diarrhoea and other adverse effects.
Nuts and nut-based products
Nuts and nut-based products, such as peanut butter, almonds, peanuts and cashews, are great sources of healthy fats and valuable nutrients. Unfortunately, when taken in large doses, antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics by up to 50%. Dairy products and nuts are rich in folic acid, which is a vitamin B complex that helps to metabolize the antibiotics and improve their effectiveness. However, the high amount of folic acid in nuts can interact with the antibiotics and reduce their effectiveness, which may be harmful in the long run.
Soy is an excellent source of protein, dietary fibre and other important nutrients. However, there is conflicting evidence regarding whether soy can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics since there are limited studies. However, soy is also rich in folic acid, as is nuts, which can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics. Moreover, soy isoflavones may affect the metabolism of estrogen, which is often used to treat the symptoms of menopause.
Overall, there are only a few foods that you should note while taking antibiotics. Alcohol, dairy products and soy products may be fine to consume, but beans and legumes, eggs and nuts should be avoided. Most people can eat the same foods and follow the same lifestyle as before. However, there are a few things that you should be aware of. You should avoid strenuous exercise, alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as these may increase your heart rate, which may reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics. You should also make sure you are drinking plenty of water and get plenty of rest. In order to reduce the risk of side effects, it is important to finish the antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.