Treating Disease With Diet- Candida
Candida, which is the most common fungus in the human body, is found in the mouth, skin, digestive tract, toenails, rectum, and vagina. Candida is generally harmless, but an overgrowth can easily lead to infection. There are over 150 known species of Candida in the body that help with digestion and the absorption of nutrients from food.
However, it should be noted that only 15 Candida species can cause an infection. The most common cause of infection is Candida albicans. Some symptoms of infection include:
- Bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin issues like eczema or rashes
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Irritability and mood swings
- Anxiety and depression
- Joint pain
There are several things that can cause a Candida infection:
- A diet that contains lots of refined carbohydrates and sugar
- High consumption of alcohol
- Elevated levels of stress
- Imbalance in microbiota
- Improper use of catheters
- Birth control pills
- Diabetes mellitus
- Weak immune system
The gut has about 150 million bacteria in addition to many species of yeast and fungus that share the same space called the microbiome. The balance in the gut is what determines the quality of a person’s health. In fact, when the microbiome is dysfunctional, many health problems can occur such as weight gain, mental health issues and autoimmune diseases.
Foods to Eat for Candida
Fungus overgrowths eat what a person consumes. Therefore, a person with Candida flare ups should eat non-starchy vegetables such as Kale, spinach, swiss chard, and bok choy. These foods provide the body with nutrients without overfeeding the overgrowth.
A person who suffers from Candida overgrowth should consume grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, and organ meats (such as liver). These meats are rich in Vitamin D, A, and K2 which are needed for immune and microbiome health.
Oils made from coconuts, olives, and avocado oil help to heal the gut. Many saturated and monosaturated fats serve as anti-inflammatories in the gut. Caprylic acid, which is found in coconut oil, helps to inhibit candida overgrowth.
Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, coconut or grass-fed kefir help to re-inoculate a stressed out microbiome with beneficial bacteria. Do note that these should be eaten in moderation.
Healing Herbs and Spices:
Orgeano, ginger, and pau d’ara all have antimicrobial effects.
Raw green stevia, organic stevia, and xylitol are all great alternatives to sugar. They should, however, be used sparingly.
The tannins in black tea help to manage candida overgrowth. Ginger tea also helps to protect the lining of the gut.
Foods to Avoid with Candida
It’s believed that foods such as sugar, gluten, alcohol, and some dairy products all promote Candida overgrowth.
Sugar feeds candida. Artificial sugars should be consumed in moderation as it can change the balance of flora in the gut.
While healing from a candida imbalance, limit or avoid fruit. If necessary, consume berries, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. These fruits are low in sugar and have antimicrobial properties.
Another form of sugar to avoid is grains, especially those with gluten. Almond flour, hazlenut flour and coconut can be used in moderation. As the gut heals, gluten-free foods can be reintroduced.
Alcohol can wreak havoc on the intestinal lining and has been linked to leaky gut syndrome. Alcohol tends to damage detoxification pathways. These pathways need to be optimized when healing the microbiome.
Avoid dairy products that don’t come from grass-fed sources. However, grass-fed, full fat, cultured dairy foods like kefir and yogurt can be consumed.
Starchy plant foods:
Potatoes, African yams, beets and other such foods provide sustenance to yeast overgrowth. Black beans, pinto beans, lentils, peanuts, cashews, chickpeas, and other such foods should be avoided.
Excess coffee can irritate the lining of the gut. Coffee also contains molds which stress an already compromised immune system. Decaf coffee also has a higher mold and acid content than regular coffee. Coffee made from high-quality organic coffee beans can be drunk in moderation.
If you or someone you know suffers from Candida overgrowth it would be worth taking a longer look at the diet being consumed. How are you feeding the Candida and destroying the microbiome? Can you change your diet to stop the overgrowth of Candida and find relief? It’s worth looking into.