Since their debut, antibiotics have helped cure a whole plethora of complaints and there is no doubt that they have done much to extend and better human life. However, overuse of these drugs in medicine and modern agriculture has led to problems like the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, a development with poses a worldwide health risk. Below are 5 ways to reduce antibiotic exposure.
1. Explore Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurvedic medicine is a system of healing long practiced in India, but it continues to gain popularity in the West. Science is beginning to study and validate the claims that many of the herbs used in Ayuvedic practice have antimicrobial properties that may be used alternatively to treat certain bacterial conditions. Researchers at Viromed Labs recently showed that Ayurvedic herbs can help eliminate the bacteria which leads to acne. More testing is needed, however, for these herbs to be incorporated into Western medicine.
2. Avoid Antibiotics in the Diet
Limiting antibiotic exposure in the diet is incredibly important. Antibiotic residues are present in many foods, the biggest culprits being meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. This is because conventionally raised chickens, cows and other farm animals require antibiotics to avoid infections in overcrowded conditions. Of concern, too, is the fact that conventionally raised cows receive the Bovine Growth Hormone, which makes them more vulnerable to infection. This increases the likelihood that they will be treated with antibiotics which will be passed on to the consumer in the milk. Avoiding these products will reduce the risk of exposure.
3. Make Other Dietary Changes
A diet which is based upon fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains is full of fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and other plant-based phytochemicals that strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of developing an illness or disease in the first place. Meat, eggs and dairy are perfectly fine, but make sure to purchase organic or naturally raised, pastured products to avoid the ingestion of the antibiotic residues discussed earlier.
4. Practice a Healthy Lifestyle
Another way to reduce exposure to antiobiotics to is lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent infections and reduce the need for medication in the first place. A regular fitness schedule, nutritionally balanced meals, regular sleep and good hydration can all go a long way to keeping the immune system strong and allowing the body to use its own natural defenses to fight pathogens like bacteria. Practicing stress reduction techniques will support strong immunity and make the need for antibiotics less likely.
5. Open a Discussion with a Doctor
If a visit to a clinic becomes necessary and the doctor wants to treat the infection with antibiotics, this is good cue to open a discussion. Do not be afraid to ask if the medication the doctor is prescribing is for a specific bacterial infection, or if it is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that targets a wide array of bacteria. Ask about alternatives to this, such as a less potent medication or the possibility of letting the infection run its course naturally.
Antibiotics are not going away anytime soon, and there are certainly situations where the use of antibiotics is medically appropriate. However, avoiding overexposure in the diet, practicing a healthy lifestyle and exploring alternatives are all good ways to avoid the use of antibiotics in the first place.
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