There are certain foods that can serve as alternatives or supplements to antibiotics.
Antibiotic drugs have several unpleasant and detrimental side effects such as resistance, anemia, yeast overgrowth and a lot more. Because of these adverse reactions, even doctors try to avoid prescribing antibiotics as much as possible. They try to make sure that the benefits far outweigh the risks before resorting to antibiotic therapy.
Depending on your case and specific needs, your doctor may or may not prescribe antibiotic therapy to treat your infection. Viral infections are usually self-limiting so antibiotics or antiviral medications are not routinely recommended. Some doctors would only tend to recommend natural methods of fighting infections by enhancing your resistance or promoting fast elimination of disease-causing microbes.
Actually, there are foods that can serve as natural antibiotic alternatives without the adverse reactions associated with antibiotic therapy. Among the most popular and proven to be effective against some forms of infection are fruits and certain fermented foods. What these foods are and why they can act as antibiotic alternatives, is the focus of this article.
Because of their vitamin C content, fruits are recommended to help ward off or fight infection. Otherwise known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is one of the considered big 4 in fighting infections naturally. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential in growth, development and repair of tissues. Therefore it is a very important substance in the process of wound healing. This vitamin also helps in strengthening your immune system thereby increasing your resistance to infection. Moreover, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, blocking some of the damaging effects of free radicals which are part of the metabolic by-products of our body as a result of exposure to harmful substances.
The antibiotic action of vitamin C was first studied by Dr. Fred Klenner in Reidsville, North Carolina during the early 30’s. He used to administer intravenous vitamin C to his patients with virus and bacterial infections, and even those with toxic snakebites. However, although his patient records had manifested surprising successes, some had doubts and even considered him to be a quack. Still, it was believed that he treated 60 cases of infantile polio during an epidemic in North Carolina.
Dr. Robert Cathcart on the other hand who holds a clinic in Los Altos, California, has been using high doses of vitamin C for years to improve the health condition of his AIDS patients.
Vitamin C is also prescribed by many doctors for their patients with infections and wounds to strengthen resistance and promote healing and tissue repair. Instead of prescribing cold preparations and expectorant medications, some doctors would only recommend increased intake of fluids and vitamin C for patients suffering from colds and cough.
Fruits that are rich in vitamin C content include orange and other citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, pineapple, plum, strawberry, mango, papaya, honeydew, and watermelon.
Also due to the rich vitamin C content of many vegetables, these foods can serve as natural antibiotic alternatives as well. Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, potato, spinach, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes are all rich sources of vitamin C.
Probiotics are not really similar to antibiotics in terms of action. Whereas antibiotics act to kill or destroy the harmful disease – causing microorganisms, probiotics serve to promote the growth of friendly bacteria that fight against the invading dangerous microbes.
Probiotics include drinks or yoghurts which are produced using health-friendly bacterial species. These are commonly given to increase the population of useful bacterial flora which is usually decreased by frequent or extensive use of antibiotics and other factors.
These foods are prepared in combination with microorganisms, mostly bacteria. They can also be considered as probiotics as these foods serve to re-introduce friendly microorganisms into your digestive tract. Fermented foods and probiotics are helpful even as supplements to antibiotic therapy so that while the disease – causing microorganisms are being fought by antibiotics, you do not develop other infections due to decreased useful bacterial flora brought about by antibiotic treatment.
Points to consider
Always consult your doctor first before resorting to any alternative treatment, as your infection may be serious.
Prevention is always better than cure, so make sure that vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables comprise the major portion of your regular diet.
To ensure that you get the right amount of nutrients from vegetables, it is better to eat them raw, blanched, or slightly cooked. As much as possible, go for organically grown fruits and vegetables too.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotic therapy, make sure that you adhere to it and to increase fluid intake and consumption of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. You may also take ascorbic acid preparations to supplement your diet.