Sometimes, but not always, both children and adults may need the help of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections - yes, only those caused by bacteria, never viral ones. For the effectiveness of the medicine to be total and not affect any part of the body, it is necessary for the child to have a correct diet. We tell you which foods are best (and why) for a child who is taking antibiotics.
Antibiotics are chemical substances of natural origin, that is, produced by living organisms, although currently their synthetic derivatives are also used. When fighting other bacteria, antibiotics kill them or, at least, prevent their growth.
However, not all antibiotics affect all bacteria equally, Rather, different bacteria have sensitivities to different types of antibiotics, hence different antibiotics and different treatment cycles are used for different infections.
Despite how beneficial they are, antibiotics should be taken only under pediatric supervision, Mainly because their indiscriminate use can cause the appearance of resistant bacteria (the antibiotic is no longer effective against them), but also because they can cause gastrointestinal problems (vomiting, diarrhea, gas, loss of appetite and / or abdominal pain).
During antibiotic treatment it may be beneficial to follow a diet that allows the repopulation of the gastrointestinal tract, since, unfortunately, antibiotics tend to eradicate not only the pathogenic microorganisms that they target but also all the beneficial flora that children have, since their intrauterine stay, in their digestive tract.
- Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that, according to studies carried out in the laboratory, have beneficial properties for the body. These probiotics can be consumed in food, such as some dairy derivatives, or in supplements (chewable tablets, pills, sachets ...).
The main characteristic of these microorganisms is that they reach the gastrointestinal tract alive and, while still alive, they exert this beneficial function or functions. For their part, prebiotics are substances that favor the growth of probiotic microorganisms, either because they serve as food or because they make their stay more favorable. The most studied prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates such as lactulose, although it has recently been observed that polyphenols may also have prebiotic activity.
- Vitamin K
The bacterial population that we have in the gastrointestinal tract includes some bacteria that produce vitamin K. The fact that the antibiotic eradicates these bacteria leaves the organism at a disadvantage, since it lacks the production of vitamin K in situ, which is so important, for example, for blood clotting. The contribution of this vitamin from the diet (green leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or soybeans, for example) is essential until the end of the treatment and reestablish the microbial balance.
Although it may not be convenient to consume too much fiber during treatment with antibiotics, since it can increase gas and other stomach symptoms, this substance favors the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach and intestine, so its contribution, after finishing the treatment , is essential to recover the intestinal flora. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are the most interesting sources of fiber in the children's diet.
- Fermented foods
These foods are ideal sources of beneficial bacteria for the body. At the same time that the antibiotic eliminates the pathogen and these bacteria, fermented foods (yogurts, cheeses, sausages ...) are repopulating the gastrointestinal tract, allowing a faster recovery and alleviating the side effects of antibiotic treatment.
On the contrary, there are certain foods that negatively affect either the absorption of the antibiotic or indirectly the beneficial bacteria found in the stomach and intestine, and that should be avoided during treatment with antibiotics, as well as when finishing it. .
Due to its acidity, this fruit affects the way the body processes the antibiotic, making it less available and, therefore, reducing the effectiveness of the treatment. Although to a lesser extent, all citrus fruits have this problem.
- Excess of calcium and iron
Some studies suggest that an excess of these minerals hinders the action of the antibiotic, so it is better not to consume foods rich in iron and / or calcium while taking the antibiotic. There is no disadvantage in its consumption separate from taking the antibiotic.
Simple sugars are especially essential for bacterial growth, so foods rich in these simple carbohydrates facilitate the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. Consuming foods rich in sugar is undesirable throughout the infectious process.
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