Taking probiotics after antibiotics may help support your digestion and reduce side effects, including diarrhea. Eating high fiber and prebiotic foods may also help.

Antibiotics are a powerful line of defense against bacterial infections. However, they can sometimes cause side effects, such as diarrhea and liver damage.

Some foods can reduce these side effects, while others may make them worse. This article explains what you should and shouldn’t eat during and after antibiotics.

Antibiotics are a type of medication used to treat bacterial infections. They work by stopping the infection or preventing it from spreading.

There are many different types of antibiotics. Some are broad-spectrum, meaning they act on a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. Others are designed to kill certain species of bacteria.

That said, antibiotics can come with some side effects, including negatively affecting your gut microbiome.

There are a number of changes you can make to your diet both while you are taking antibiotics and after.

1. Take probiotics

Taking antibiotics can alter the gut microbiota, which can lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea, especially in children. That’s where probiotics may be able to help.

Should you eat probiotics while taking antibiotics?

However, research shows that taking probiotics while or after you’re taking antibiotics can help preserve the bacterial diversity of your gut. It also seems to reduce the amount of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) in your gut, which can help offset antibiotic resistance.

How long after antibiotics should you take probiotics?

However, given that probiotics are usually bacteria themselves, they can also be killed by antibiotics if taken together. So if you’re taking these simultaneously, some doctors recommend waiting 4-6 hours after taking a dose of an antibiotic before taking probiotics.


Taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment can reduce the risk of diarrhea, although the two should be taken a few hours apart. Probiotics can also help restore the gut bacteria after antibiotics

2. Eat fermented foods

Certain foods can also help restore the gut microbiota after damage caused by antibiotics.

Fermented foods are produced by microbes and include yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi, among others.

They contain a number of healthy bacterial species, such as Lactobacilli, which can help restore the gut microbiota to a healthy state after antibiotics.

Therefore, eating fermented foods may help improve gut health after taking antibiotics.


Fermented foods contain healthy bacteria, including Lactobacilli, which can help restore damage to the microbiota caused by antibiotics. Yogurt may also reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea

3. Eat high fiber foods

Fiber can’t be digested by your body, but it can be digested by your gut bacteria, which helps stimulate their growth.

As a result, high fiber foods may help restore healthy gut bacteria after a course of antibiotics. In fact, research from 2022 found that consuming soluble fiber daily may help reduce ARGs in your gut.

That said, it’s best to eat high fiber foods after you finish your antibiotic course because fiber can reduce antibiotic absorption.


High fiber foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables can help the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. There’s no need to avoid these healthy, nutrient-rich foods while taking antibiotics. Just time your consumption to a few hours before or after taking antibiotics.

4. Eat prebiotic foods

Unlike probiotics, which are live microbes, prebiotics are foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

However, other foods are not high in fiber but act as prebiotics by helping the growth of healthy bacteria like Bifidobacteria.

For example, red wine contains antioxidant polyphenols, which are not digested by human cells but are digested by gut bacteria.

Similarly, cocoa contains antioxidant polyphenols that have beneficial prebiotic effects on the gut microbiota.

Thus, eating prebiotic foods after antibiotics may help the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that have been damaged by antibiotics.


Prebiotics are foods that help the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and may help restore the gut microbiota after taking antibiotics.

While many foods are beneficial during and after antibiotics, some should be avoided.

For example, you should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice because this can prevent the body from breaking down medications properly.

Research shows that grapefruit juice can also affect the effectiveness of some antibiotics.

Foods supplemented with calcium, such as calcium-fortified orange juice, t antibiotic absorption.

It could be that only foods that are supplemented with high doses of calcium should be avoided when taking antibiotics.


Both grapefruit and calcium-fortified foods may affect how some antibiotics are absorbed in the body. It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about what foods or supplements to avoid while you’re taking antibiotics.

Antibiotics are important when you have a bacterial infection.

However, they can sometimes cause side effects, including diarrhea, liver disease, and changes to the gut microbiota.

Taking probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics can help reduce the risk of diarrhea and restore your gut microbiota to a healthy state.

What’s more, eating high fiber foods, fermented foods, and prebiotic foods after taking antibiotics may also help reestablish a healthy gut microbiota.

However, it is best to avoid grapefruit and calcium-fortified foods while taking certain antibiotics, as these can affect the absorption of antibiotics. Ask your doctor whether this applies to the specific antibiotic they have prescribed to you.