Antibiotics are a kind of medicines given to the patients that are used to fight bacteria; they are given to either kill the bacteria or to stop them from reproducing inside the body. In many of the cases, taking these antibiotics can result in bringing many side effects which include:

  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Improper digestion
  • Pain in abdomen

Surely these side effects are uncomfortable and make us feel troubled but these symptoms start disappearing quickly with the passage of time. Though doctors recommend antibiotics only in case there is no other better treatment available for your cure, but in case you start taking the right kind of food with these antibiotics, then you can witness some relief in the side-affects caused die to eating of these antibiotics.

By choosing to eat the right kind of food, you can prevent the troubling side effects and can have early healing as well. No doubt antibiotics are useful in killing disease-causing bacteria but these antibiotics also stop the growth of healthy bacteria as well that are useful to lead a healthy life. Consuming antibiotics can majorly affect the amounts and types of bacteria within the gut microbiota and over dosage of antibiotics result in antibiotic resistance, which in turn makes them less effective for killing disease-causing bacteria. Only right kind of food can help in lowering the side-effects of these antibiotics which are referred by your doctor. Beneath we are discussing the right kind of food which you should eat in case you are taking antibiotics. Also, there are some kinds of food items which you must strictly avoid in case you are getting antibiotic treatment.

Changes in the body while Antibiotic consumption

A person taking bacteria antibiotics already has bacteria and other microorganisms inside his/her body and in the medical terms, these organisms are together being referred to as the gut microbiome. Since antibiotics are given to fight bacteria and they can upset the balance of bacteria in the microbiome which are helpful in making the digestive system function properly and even your immune system will defend against the viral infection. By taking antibiotics, the gut microbiota get changes which can result in antibiotic-related diarrhea, especially among the children.

But when we are taking antibiotics, they can upset the bacterial balance and a person taking these drugs start witnessing its side effects as well which include nausea or diarrhea. One can start taking probiotics and prebiotics at the time of consuming these antibiotics which can help in restoring the balancing of bacteria in the gut, even these probiotics can be taken after the completion of antibiotics treatment as well allowing the body to heal quickly.


Probiotics are the kind of live microorganisms which are also referred as healthy bacteria and you must start taking probiotics with your antibiotics. Probiotics are helpful in lowering the side effects of antibiotics up to some extent and gives you some relief as well. Though there are many confusing research regarding the probiotics and antibiotics, but still according to many studies, it has being revealed that taking probiotics is safe and it is helpful in preventing the side effects like diarrhea which occur while taking antibiotics. Though the antibiotics can kill the benefits of bacteria present in the probiotics, so it is recommended to take probiotics after two a few hours gap post taking antibiotics.

Even after completing the treatment for antibiotics, you can still continue taking probiotics which will help to restore balance in the microbiome and will help you to heal faster.


Another food items which you can include is the ones that contain Prebiotics. Prebiotics are food items that have beneficial bacteria present inside them that live in the gut microbiome. Taking these prebiotics before and consuming antibiotics will help in making a balance back to the gut. Some of the items that have low levels of prebiotics include:

  • onions
  • garlic
  • bananas
  • chicory root

Also the manufacturers add prebiotics in some of the food items including:

  • yogurt
  • infant formula
  • cereals
  • bread

Also these prebiotics are included in the items with food labels as:

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
  • Oigofructose (OF)
  • chicory fiber
  • inulin etc

Since most of the prebiotics are dietary fibers, so it is advised to consume them in smaller quantities. In case a person takes large quantities of these food items then they may start witnessing gas or bloating which can complicate the case. Anyone who is planning to add these prebiotics in their diet must start with small quantity so that it gives enough time to the gut to adapt.

Red wine also contains antioxidant polyphenols that are difficult for the human cells to digest it, but they are digested gut bacteria. Also one study revealed that taking red wine polyphenol extracts for some days can promote the growth of healthy Bifidobacteria in the intestines and are also helpful in reducing the blood pressure and blood cholesterol level.

Fermented foods

Fermented food items have good amount of beneficial bacteria which can be included especially when you are taking antibiotics. All kind of fermented foods have microorganisms, but in case we heat of filter some of them, it might kill the beneficial bacteria present inside them. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or pickles in jars that are stored at room temperature don’t have live cultures present inside them. Also the microorganisms are unable to survive any kind of baking processes so hence they are not present in the baked items like sourdough bread. Some of the kinds of fermented foods which you can include are mentioned below:

  • Kimchi
  • yogurt
  • Salami
  • Cheese
  • fresh, sour dill pickles

Fermented food items have healthy bacteria present inside them including Lactobacilli which are helpful in restoring the damage to the microbiota that are caused mainly due to taking antibiotics. Yogurt is one such example of this kind of food which is helpful in reducing the risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea and must be included in your diet plan.

Vitamin K

Antibiotics are surely useful in fighting all types of bacteria and they even kill those bacteria as well that are useful for our body. Some kind of bacteria that produces vitamin K is useful in making the blood clot. To lower the side-effects of antibiotics, you must include:

  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Parsley
  • Mustard greens
  • Sprouts etc in your diet chart in case you are taking antibiotics


Fibers are useful to increase the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut but people must avoid taking high-fiber foods at the time of taking antibiotics, as it will affect absorption power of eth medicine. But in case you have completed antibiotics treatment, then you can start eating food items that are rich in fiber so that it can help in restoring the beneficial bacteria and also improve your digestion process. Some of the kinds of food items that are rich in fiber and can be included in your diet chart include:

  • artichokes
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • lentils
  • nuts
  • peas
  • whole grains

High-fiber foods such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, fruits etc are helpful in promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut but they should be taken after completing the treatment of antibiotics as taking them together with antibiotics will lower the antibiotic absorption process and will increase your healing time.

Foods that you must avoid along with taking antibiotics

The above-mentioned food items are good for your health and even if you are taking antibiotics, you can eat them. However, there are some kinds of food items that affect the effectiveness of antibiotics and let you experience more troubling consequences or symptoms. Some of the food items like grapefruits and grapefruit juice can hinder the body from breaking down and absorbing the antibiotics in a correct way. Also according to many researches, food items that include higher dosage of calcium like orange juices etc can affect the absorption ability of some antibiotics and must be avoided in case you are taking any antibiotics. It is best to avoid taking grapefruit and high calcium intake foods along with taking antibiotics as these will complicate the situation and will affect the absorption capabilities of antibiotics as well.

Also one study conducted on few healthy men who drink grapefruit juice with taking antibiotic erythromycin revealed that they all have higher amount of the antibiotic present in their blood as compared to men who drink water with antibiotics.

Also the food that has calcium inside them sometimes hampers the antibiotic absorption and the foods supplemented with calcium lower the absorption process of various kinds of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and gatifloxacin. The food that has higher dosage of calcium must be avoided in case you are taking antibiotics.

You must avoid taking Alcohol with antibiotics

Certainly, alcohol interferes with the medication and hampers its efficiency as well. It makes sense to avoid consuming alcohol till the time you are taking any kind of medication, also consuming alcohol while taking antibiotics will worsen the side effects rather than improving your condition.

Also, your doctor will recommend not to take antibiotics and alcohol together in case you are taking any of the below-mentioned antibiotics:
  • Metronidazole which is given the doctors to dental infections, vaginal infections, leg ulcers etc.
  • Tinidazole is useful in curing dental infections, vaginal infections, infected leg ulcers and it also clears the bacteria named Helicobacter pylori from the gut.
While taking alcohol along with one of the above-mentioned antibiotics, people can experience some serious reaction and even the symptoms get worsen:

  • Nausea
  • Pain in abdominal area
  • hot flashes
  • Irregularity in heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

People must avoid taking alcohol for at least 48 hours even if they have completed the course of metronidazole and for after 72 hours in case they were taking tinidazole.


It is important to maintain a healthy balance in the gut microbiome post completing a course of antibiotics which is prescribed by your doctor. People can lower the side-effects of antibiotics by taking the right kind of food items and start taking probiotics, prebiotics and other food items that are useful for their health. Probiotics and prebiotics also help in lowering the side effects of antibiotics. However, there are some kinds of food items that interfere with antibiotics and make them less effective, which means longer healing time. So these kinds of food items must be avoided in case you want quicker recovery.

Antibiotics are certainly important as they are helpful in curing the growth of bacterial infection. However, they have attached side-effects as well which include diarrhea, liver disease and most importantly changes in the gut microbiota as well. You need to include probiotics during and after completing antibiotics course so that you can get ease in your symptoms like diarrhea and maintain your gut microbiota in a healthy way. Also consuming high-fiber foods, fermented foods and other kinds of prebiotic foods post completing the antibiotics will help in re-establishing a healthy gut microbiota.

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Last Update: May 7, 2020