Do you have gas and bloating, brain fog or joint pain even after months or years on a healthy diet? Did you take several rounds of antibiotics or 'the pill'' for many years? Welcome in the ''Candida Club''! Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion but if it overgrows, we speak about Candidiasis, a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. How do you know that you might have a problem with candida? Common symptoms include exhaustion, cravings for sweets, bad breath, white coat on tongue, brain fog, hormone imbalance, joint pain, loss of sex drive, chronic sinus and allergy issues, digestive problems (gas and bloating), weak immune system or urinary tract infection.
Candida overgrowth is not just some minor infection. It can be extremely difficult to test for and diagnose and it can cause major health problems and even autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis or multiple sclerosis.
The Candida Diet
Although your doctor probably doesn't know this, but candida overgrowth can be treated by following the so called 'Candida Diet.' As candida loves sugar, you'll probably guess what will be the first thing to eliminate. However, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Following Candida diet means also eliminating grains, fruits, starches and alcohol from your diet for at least two weeks. You should mostly eat fresh, organic vegetables. For this cleanse stage, keep away from any starchy vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Avoiding sugar in all of its forms is key to fighting candida.
After these two weeks, your diet should be further centered on vegetables, high-quality protein foods and healthy fats. Gluten-free grains like brown rice and millet are allowed. Avoiding fruit like bananas, oranges, pineapple or mango at this time is recommended because even though fruit is very healthy, it does get turned into sugar in the body.
Make sure you include fermented foods on a daily basis, including apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. However, if you have a serious candida overgrowth, you should be careful with fermented foods, eat them by spoonful and check it they work for you.
Wonderful options when fighting candida overgrowth are green veggies, green drinks, coconut oil, Manuka honey, garlic (also in its fermented form), chia seeds and ground flaxseeds, unsweetened cranberry juice, cultured dairy such as goat milk kefir, as well as spices like turmeric and cinnamon.
Essential Oils that Fight Candida
Many essential oils are anti fungal. However, since these essential oils are powerful, they should only be taken internally for 10 days or less. For oral thrush, you can use three drops of clove oil or lavender oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil and swish the mixture in your mouth for 20 minutes in the morning before drinking or eating anything (so called oil - pulling). Oregano oil (2 drops 3 times daily for 7 days then stop) can be used as a natural antibiotic. Also, tea tree oil is a must as it is a powerful antifungal essential oil and a very safe oil to use.
Supplements That Help Fight Candida
Who has not taken antibiotics in their life, raise your hand! Alas, antibiotics literally mean 'against life' and a few rounds of antibiotics can kill all the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Add it to birth by a Cesarean and lack of breastfeeding and you have a complete mess and a rise of digestive issues worldwide. Probiotics can be very helpful in this case (50 billion units daily) as they will give your body healthy bacteria.
Garlic is one of the most powerful anti fungal foods on earth and you should consume at least 2 cloves a day. If you do not support raw garlic, fermented garlic is a good substitute.
Vitamin C boosts immune function and helps fight off infections.
Grapefruit seed extract is also beneficial when fighting candida.
Saccharomyces Boulardii is a beneficial type of yeast which has been proven to be effective against Candida overgrowth. Watch this video to find out more about this beneficial yeast.
If you want to learn more about Candida and ways how to fight it with food as medicine, make sure you attend The Candida Summit, a free event that airs from 9 to 15 July.