Antibiotics are, arguably, the most important invention of the last one hundred years, and have allowed us to overcome all sorts of nasty diseases that would otherwise have killed us off by the time we turned 40. The invention of antibiotics has raised life expectancies, improved our overall quality of life, and removed the fear of a slow and painful death from every minor cut and scrape.
We all take these wonderful drugs for granted, and, why shouldn’t we? Antibiotics have been around for as long as we can remember, and they’ll always be around to save us from the horrors of the microscopic world. Right? Well, unfortunately, this may not be the case for much longer.
One of the biggest problems facing human health today is the looming threat of antibiotic resistance. Overuse of antibiotics over the last few decades has led to the emergence of resistant strains of bacteria. These “superbugs” (the most famous of which is MRSA) are completely impervious to conventional treatment, and what was once considered a minor infection could easily develop into something life threatening.
With the bacterial apocalypse almost upon us, is there anything we can do to save ourselves from the horrors that await us? Is there any way to protect ourselves from the impending doom that lies ahead?
Actually, There Is!
By taking steps to strengthen your immune system, you can reduce your chances of needing antibiotics in the future. What’s more, this is way easier to do than you probably imagine. Before modern antibiotics, people used natural remedies and medicinal plants to keep their bodies healthy and fend off infection. Giving your immunity a boost and preventing illness is as easy as including more of these foods in your diet, and the best news is that you probably already have most of them in your kitchen.
So, don’t go rushing out to stock up on end-of-the-world supplies just yet; that underground bunker can wait for now. It’s time to raid the kitchen pantry and fill up on medicinal foods, so you can be ahead of the game when the antibiotics stop working once and for all.
Garlic tops this list, as one of nature’s most powerful and delicious antibiotics. This sharp-tasting bulb has been used to treat internal and external infections and illnesses for over seven thousand years, and with good reason. Garlic is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It can fend off gut parasites and worms, benefit digestion, and promote a healthy gut microflora, and it is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Widely considered to be something of a “cure-all,” garlic can be used to treat infections, improve heart health, alleviate arthritis, treat coughs and colds, combat allergies, and boost your immune system.
It really is one of the best things you can eat to benefit every aspect of your health and to keep yourself fighting fit and free from infection. Here’s the catch, though—the full, awesome potential of garlic is only unleashed when it’s eaten raw, which is widely agreed to be the worst way to enjoy the stuff. Never fear, though—if you want to enjoy the antibacterial benefits of this plant without inflicting stinky garlic breath on everyone you meet, you can always take supplements, instead of eating raw cloves.
Another powerful natural antibiotic is ginger, which has a long history of being used as a treatment for a wide range of stomach problems. Ginger is another natural remedy that has been around for millennia, and it is thought to contain chemicals that reduce nausea and inflammation. It has many medicinal benefits and is a well-established treatment for nausea, flatulence, menstrual cramps, stomach upsets, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. It is thought that ginger can help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease, and it can reduce the risk of obesity.
Ginger is so powerful in its antibacterial properties that it has even had some success in fighting resistant strains of bacteria―there’s hope for the human race, after all.
There are all sorts of ways to harness the healing powers of ginger, and the simplest is to slice it up and pour hot water over it for a delicious ginger tea. Add a little honey for more flavor (and increased health benefits, but we’ll get to that in a moment). You can add it to a stir-fry, bake with it, sprinkle ground ginger on oatmeal, or, if you’re not a fan of the taste, take supplements.
The antimicrobial properties of honey have been known for thousands of years, and it is still used today as a treatment for a wide range of ailments. Honey is anti-inflammatory, making it a wonderfully soothing treatment for rashes and skin irritation, and it’s thick, sticky consistency allows it to effectively banish a sore throat. It is thought to be more effective than the leading brands of cough syrup in ending a persistent cough, and its humectant properties make it a highly effective moisturizing agent. When eaten, it can even be used to reduce allergic symptoms by acting as a natural vaccine against the pollen that sets off hay fever.
Its antibacterial properties make it excellent for disinfecting cuts and scrapes, and it has been used to expedite the healing of wounds and burns since ancient times. It has been widely accepted as a treatment of bed sores, ulcers, and other skin infections, making it an excellent substitute when traditional antibiotics fail.
Manuka honey, a product of New Zealand and Australia made from the nectar of the Manuka tree, is thought to have exceptionally potent antibacterial properties and is already widely used as an alternative medicine. All this, and utterly delicious—if you don’t already have a jar in your cupboard, add it to your shopping list right now.
Another ancient natural remedy, turmeric has been used for its antibacterial properties for around 5,000 years and can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions. The bright yellow color of turmeric comes from a chemical compound called curcumin, and it is that which gives this spice its powerful healing properties.
It can be used to alleviate many different skin complaints, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and scabies, and has even been used to treat leprosy. In some cultures, it is also used as a cosmetic aid to improve the complexion, for glowing and radiant skin.
Scientific studies have found that turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties mean it could prevent diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and it is also known to have powerful antibiotic properties. This makes it a promising candidate for alternative medical treatment, as it has proven effectiveness in disinfecting wounds and preventing infection.
It has even been found to not only kill the MRSA “superbug,” but also to create a barrier which could prevent the infection from recurring. In this respect, it is way more effective than any antibiotics currently prescribed in hospitals.
When mixed with honey, the two ingredients combine to make the strongest known natural antibiotic. You can create your own home remedy using these powerful medicinal agents easily and inexpensively, and it’s an excellent way to improve your long-term health and alleviate existing conditions.
Coconut oil is enjoying a burst of popularity lately, as a trendy and healthier alternative to traditional cooking oils. This versatile ingredient is an excellent source of “good fats,” and its butter-like consistency makes it a popular vegan substitute for dairy-based spreads. Its hydrating properties make it a great remedy for chapped lips and dry hands, it makes a wonderful massage oil, and its high concentration of lauric acid could help to lower cholesterol.
And, like everything else on this list, it has been found to possess useful antimicrobial properties. That lauric acid we mentioned earlier is also useful for inhibiting the growth of bacteria and has been proven to have some success in fighting antibiotic resistant strains in clinical trials. These findings make coconut oil a promising potential weapon for the impending war on superbugs and an excellent reason to stock up on the stuff.
Populations that have a lot of coconut in their diets are among the healthiest in the world, with low incidences of obesity and heart disease. Incorporating this ingredient into your diet is a great way to improve your overall health, and it benefits your digestion, controls your weight, and lowers your cholesterol. It is also effective in warding off diseases like cancer and heart disease and protecting the body from bacterial infections.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is packed with compounds and minerals that are great for improving and maintaining your overall health, one of which is acetic acid. Acetic acid has proven antibacterial and antifungal properties, making apple cider vinegar a great addition to home remedies for treating coughs and cold, athlete’s foot, and thrush.
Apple cider vinegar has been around for thousands of years and was first used as a disinfectant, so its ability to kill harmful bacteria should come as no surprise. And the benefits don’t end there—this vinegar can also be used to soothe sunburn, repel fleas, and clean windows. When enjoyed as part of the diet, it can alleviate heartburn, whiten teeth, lower blood sugar, improve diabetes, and detox the body, to keep you fighting fit and infection free.
Try adding apple cider vinegar to salad dressings or stir a few teaspoons into water to safeguard your body and keep infections and illnesses at bay.
Everybody gets sick now and then and, sometimes, taking antibiotics is unavoidable if we want to regain full health. Although effective in treating infections, antibiotics are not selective in which bacteria they kill, and this can have a negative impact on the body.
One harmful side effect of antibiotics is that they wipe out the bacterial population in the gut, and, while this may sound like a good thing, it’s not! Our gut flora are there for a reason, and they maintain a healthy balance in the gut that aids with digestion, helps us to maintain a healthy weight, and prevents harmful bacteria from settling in and causing disease.
An imbalance of bacteria in the gut can even lead to weakened immune function, making us susceptible to every possible infection that happens to be passing by—yikes!
Fortunately, it’s easy to restore a healthy population of gut flora simply by including more fermented foods in our diets. Fermented foods are probiotic, meaning they encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is because they are packed with bacteria, which travel all the way through your digestive system before making themselves at home in the intestines, where they confer a whole host of health benefits.
These bacteria aid digestion, regulate metabolism, boost energy, and help to prevent the onset of diseases such as bowel cancer. They also out-compete harmful bacteria, which can make you seriously sick if they manage to get a foothold and, therefore, work to prevent future illnesses that might necessitate the use of more antibiotics.
Adding fermented foods to your diet is a great idea if you aren’t already eating them. Apple cider vinegar falls into this category, as do pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage—trust us, it’s way more delicious than it sounds!) All these foods can preserve your health in the long term and benefit your body in the gut and beyond.
Natural antibiotics are an excellent way to treat certain minor infections and ailments but are best used as a preventative treatment. By incorporating these foods into your diet, either into cooking or by taking supplements, you can boost your immune system and help to protect your body against a whole host of illnesses and chronic diseases.
By applying natural remedies, like honey, topically to burns and scrapes, you can prevent infection from setting into the wound. However, in the case of serious infections or illnesses, it is always better to consult a medical professional before attempting home treatment.