Do you suffer from mood swings, seasonal allergies, digestive issues, or frequent yeast infections?
If so, you may have Candida overgrowth.Candida is one of the scientific names for yeast, which is a form of fungus. A very small amount naturally resides in your mouth and intestines to aid digestion, but your medications, diet, and environment can all change your normal balance of Candida. When it’s overproduced, it breaks down the wall of the intestines and enters directly into the bloodstream, where it releases toxic byproducts that can cause a leaky gut. Symptoms of Candida overgrowth can range from digestive issues to depression.
How Can I Treat Candida?
When it comes to treating Candida overgrowth, there are few key points to remember.
- Starve the yeast
- Overpower the yeast
- Build up good bacteria
First, you want starve the yeast, which feeds off of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and yeast-containing foods. For this reason, you will want to remove all sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, dried fruit, fruit juices, fermented foods*, vinegars**, and mushrooms. You will want to limit legumes and grains to 1 cup a day.
Once the Candida is contained, we want to overpower it. You can do this with anti-fungal prescriptions, like Diflucan or Nystatin or anti-fungal supplements like caprylic acid, anti-fungal foods, or a combination of the three. Treating with Diflucan or Nystatin is certainly the fastest option, but not the only way to combat a Candida overgrowth. If you don’t want to take an anti-fungal medication, consider eating more of the foods that naturally fight Candida listed below.
Lastly, we want to reinforce our body’s defenses against future infections. You can do this by taking a high quality probiotic supplement.
10 Foods to Fight Candida
Coconut oil naturally contains a fatty acid, called caprylic acid. This anti-fungal interferes with Candida growth and replication by poking holes in the walls of the yeast cells, causing them to die off.
Garlic contains allicin, a sulphur-containing compound with natural antifungal properties, specific to Candida. When eaten raw, this little food is one of the best antifungals around.
**Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the one type of vinegar allowed on a Candida diet. Research on apple cider vinegar is limited, but it appears to contain enzymes that help break down Candida.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, and radishes, contain isothiocyanates, the sulphur- and nitrogen-containing compounds that attack Candida.
Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols, the anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal components of the ginger root. While ginger is not the most powerful antifungal of the group, it does provide significant liver support while your body is detoxifying the Candida overgrowth.
Olive, flax, avocado, and primrose oils contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can help your body fight Candida.
Cloves naturally contain eugenol, a powerful essential oil and extremely effective antifungal when taken internally. Clove oil can also be effective as a topical aid for fungal infections of the toe and fingernails.
Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice with added anti-fungal properties. Similar to caprylic acid, it appears to damage yeast cells, causing them to denature and eventually die off. Cinnamon appears to be beneficial in the treatment of Candida, H. pylori, and even head lice, but it should not be used while pregnant or in the presence of a stomach or intestinal ulcer.
Wild Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also known to fight fungal infections.
The essential oil of lemons contains mild anti-fungal properties. Lemon’s main role in the diet is to help detoxify your liver as it tries to fight off the Candida.
*Fermented foods are considered ‘food’ for the good bacteria in your gut, however it can feed Candida as well. Therefore, I recommend eradicating the Candida overgrowth first and then adding in fermented foods to help build-up your army of beneficial bacteria.
If you would like to find out for sure if you have candida overgrowth, consider seeing a functional medicine doctor, who is trained in detecting and treating candida.