Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

How many times in your life do you recall being prescribed an antibiotic to help you get better? Antibiotic overuse can lead to major public health issues like resistant strains of bacteria that cause serious health problems and death in some affected individuals.  Efforts to stop unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions is starting to pay off.  Some studies note that doctors may be prescribing antibiotics to pacify parent demands for medical treatment.  But parents are getting the message that these wonder-drugs are not a cure-all. Keeping kids home to rest is often the best medicine, especially for viruses which are not helped by antibiotics.

Doctors are also prescribing less.  Over the past 20 years, antibiotic prescriptions for children are down 25% according to a new study from Harvard University.   However this decline is starting to level off, which is concerning. Children under 7 years old account for 20% of total antibiotic prescriptions and more than half of these were for treating ear infection.

Remedies like zpack or other versions of antibiotics are frequently used to cure the cold or flu.  But, the common cold and flu are both caused by different strains of virus not bacteria.  This is why antibiotics dont actually work in treating these common ailments.  Drinking hot herbal tea with local honey, lemon and ginger and eating warm soothing soups with plenty of garlic can often be more therapeutic.

Prevention can often be the best medicine.  Eating a healthy, plant-based diet, getting enough sleep and exercise plus maintaining healthy relationships can all help to reduce the risk of getting sick. Natural remedies to help prevent a cold include probiotics.

Specific foods are also important for a strong immune system to ward of infections, including those rich in vitamin C, zinc and selenium.  Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium.  Just 5 contain 200 mcg which is an optimal amount to consume.  Plant foods rich in zinc include spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews and cocoa powder.  Some foods contain antibacterial properties like cherries and garlic while others like ginger are often touted for being super immune supporting and cold fighting.

Here are some great recipes to try that help to keep your body healthy:
Immune Boosting Juice Recipe
Cold Busting Berry Smoothie
Morning Tang Juice
Holly Jolly Juice
Chocolate Berry Crunch Smoothie
Spinach Melon Smoothie
Chocolate Covered Goji Smoothie
Homemade Healthy Granola Bars
Granola Smart Hearts


Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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