What Is Candida?
Candida is an ongoing medical concern that emerged in the 1980’s and is caused by an overgrowth of the common yeast called Candida Albicans. While Candida may still not be recognized as a valid health concern by the medical and scientific communities, it is an ongoing and common problem that when identified and treated properly can lead to a significant increase in the quality of life for those suffering.
Wondering If You Might Be Suffering From Candida?
There are a variety of causes and correlating symptoms that arise from the development of Candida. In many cases the majority of these symptoms develop into long lasting chronic health concerns for those who are affected. It can take someone suffering from an illness brought on or triggered by Candida years to recognize that it may be the root cause of their health issues.
The overgrowth of Candida Albicans is commonly brought on by the overuse of antibiotics which kill off all of the healthy bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract. This can lead to lowered immunity, providing an opportunity for yeast to grow. As the yeast begins to multiply it can lead to mild infections that affect the skin, bladder, throat, as well as a number of other areas where mucous membranes transition to the skin. Over time this unwanted yeast can shift into its fungal form. When this occurs it develops roots that can implant in the intestinal wall. Over the long term toxins are released into the body and it is our natural response to try and fight off these toxins through various immunological responses. It is this type of response that can lead to chronic illness and hypersensitivities throughout the body.
What Are The Symptoms?
Based on the way in which Candida develops, symptoms can occur on two separate levels. Primary symptoms are comprised of more localized infections where ailments such as vaginitis and skin rashes can occur. The secondary set of symptoms are often more serious in nature and can take longer to manifest. These include reoccurring skin infections, chronic fatigue, headaches, bladder infections, joint pain, food sensitivities, poor digestion and environmental sensitivities. Mental symptoms such as mood swings, depression, confusion, poor concentration and ‘brain fog’ can also occur.
How Can I Treat Candida?
Nutrition and diet are key components in fighting off the overgrowth of Candida. These ‘unfriendly bacteria’ thrive on sugars, alcohols and carbohydrates. It is crucial to eliminate these foods from the body through an anti-yeast protocol for at least 6 weeks. This diet it is imperative so that the yeast are completely starved and can begin to die off. Here is a list of foods to eliminate:
- All refined carbohydrates – flours, cookies, cakes, etc.
- All grains – if this is too difficult try to reduce your intake greatly and only consume minimal amounts of non-glutenous grains such as buckwheat and quinoa.
- All sugars – including maple syrup and other natural sources. You can still consume sugar from fruits directly, but stick with less sweet options such as berries, apples and pears.
- No fruit juices, dried fruits or jams – these are just too sweet.
- All refined foods – this includes things such as deli meats that are packed with nitrites and other chemicals.
- All dairy – dairy is high in sugar and also difficult to digest so needs to go. Goat’s cheese from organic sources is okay occasionally as it contains proteins that are smaller and therefore easier and faster for the body to digest.
- All starchy vegetables – this includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips and winter squash.
- Avoid any protein sources that are not organic – stick with organic chicken, turkey, fish (wild is also a great choice) and small amounts of grass fed beef.
- Moldy nuts – this includes peanuts (actually considered to be a legume), cashews and pistachios.
- All legumes – these are difficult to digest and can create more intestinal inflammation and distress.
- No foods containing vinegar – with the exception of apple cider vinegar.
- No alcohol.
- No coffee – it is recommended to avoid caffeine altogether so try to stick with herbal teas. If you are desperate then green tea in small amounts is the way to go.
There are a variety of foods that you will be able to eat and that will keep you energized throughout the process! Here is a list of my favourites:
- Nut butters (non mold containing sources)
- Nut Flours (non mold containing sources)
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Spaghetti Squash
- Mixed Greens
- Collard Greens
- Coconut milk
- Shredded Coconut
- Coconut Flour
- Organic Salmon
- Wild Cod
- Organic Chicken
- Organic Turkey
- Ginger Tea
- Peppermint Tea
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
While it is critical to starve the Candida, it is just as important to increase your intake of healthy bacteria through probiotic supplements. These will help to repopulate the gut and restore balance. In order to fully remove the Candida that has become so systemic throughout the body you will need to kill them off through a variety of anti-fungal herbs. There are some excellent natural ways to get rid of these little buggers and here is a list of a few:
- Garlic – http://www.thecandidadiet.com/garlic.htm
- Caprylic Acid – http://www.thecandidadiet.com/caprylicacid.htm
- Oil of Oregano – http://www.thecandidadiet.com/oreganooil.htm
- Grapefruit Seed Extract – http://www.thecandidadiet.com/grapefruitseed.htm
It is important to consult a health care professional in order to be sure that there are no contraindications between these herbs and any medications that you might currently be taking.
I have decided to embark on the Candida challenge and will be eliminating these foods from my diet for the next 4-6 weeks. Please stay tuned as I track my progress and share Candida friendly recipes. I hope that this post has been eye opening for some of you and please let me know if you decide to join me in the battle against Candida!