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How Candida Overgrowth Can Compromise Gut and Immune Health

09

October, 2016

Gut Health
Candida
Gut Solutions

With recent talk about the importance of probiotics, you may be aware that there is bacteria living in your body that is healthy and helpful, keeping your systems working properly. This bacteria helps break down food and generally keeps your system balanced by keeping away bad bacteria.

What is Candida?

Candida is similar, it is a form of yeast, a fungus, that lives in your intestines and even your mouth. It helps the body absorb nutrients and digest food.

However, unlike the good bacteria found in the body, if you have candida overgrowth you can experience some bad effects. Too much candida can penetrate the intestine walls and infiltrate the bloodstream, contaminating the body with things that shouldn’t be there. This is called leaky gut and can manifest in many different ways.

A lot of the same factors for the growth of bad bacteria also apply to candida. Eating a lot of refined sugar, antibiotics, too much alcohol, too much fermented food, and stress can all contribute to candida overgrowth. Those who have diabetes as well as those getting treatment for cancer can also have an increased growth of candida.

Candida growth is stimulated when antibiotics are used because it is antibiotic-resistant. Other bacteria is wiped out, allowing it to flourish.

A weakened immune system can also contribute to candida growth, as it cannot fight it off.

Here are some symptoms of candida overgrowth:

  • Chronic fatigue, a long-lasting feeling of fatigue with other signs such as a sore throat, headaches and joint pain.
  • Depression and other mood problems such as anxiety and mood swings.
  • Skin problems, such as hives, rashes, psoriasis and eczema, as well as athlete’s foot.
  • Nail fungal infections, such as fungus, which is a common yeast infection.
  • Urinary tract infections as well as vaginal yeast infections, especially recurring ones.
  • Sensitivities to allergens and odors.
  • Problems with digestion.
  • A host of other problems can be linked back to candida.

Basically, a yeast infection of candida can lead to yeast infections in other areas.

While these symptoms can point to a candida overgrowth, there are a few ways to test for it. You can get a blood test, but they aren’t always very accurate. A urine or stool test is more likely to find a candida overgrowth.

Candida overgrowth can be prevented and cured with a diet change.

How to Rebalance Candida

It really does matter what you eat. The first step is to stop the growth. Stop feeding the candida the food it uses to multiply. The number one fuel for yeast is sugar. This is why when you add yeast to a baking recipe, you add a small amount of sugar so it grows. The same process works in the body.

To stop candida in its tracks, switch to a low-carb diet. It’s trendy, but it’s popular because it works. In the western diet, we consume way too many carbohydrates, sugar and grains. This is a candidate for how the candida overgrowth was able to take root in the first place.

Cut out all simple carbohydrates. This includes alcohol, candy, dessert and white flour. These are the simple carbs that are broken down most easily and are the most direct fuel for candida.

Next, cut down on complex carbohydrates. These are fruit, potatoes, pasta, bread, pasta and beans. Try to keep them to one cup per day. The body needs carbohydrates for fuel, but these are not broken down as easily.

Some people also feel better eliminating dairy from their diet. Dairy can contain lactose, milk sugar.

A couple of ingredients that help in the fight against candida are garlic and apple cider vinegar. Garlic is anti-fungal while apple cider vinegar helps kill the yeast. Other good foods to fight candida are broccoli, cabbage, spinach, green beans, asparagus, peppers and cauliflower.

Coconut oil is antimicrobial, which can help kill off candida.

How to Rebalance Candida

It really does matter what you eat. The first step is to stop the growth. Stop feeding the candida the food it uses to multiply. The number one fuel for yeast is sugar. This is why when you add yeast to a baking recipe, you add a small amount of sugar so it grows. The same process works in the body.

To stop candida in its tracks, switch to a low-carb diet. It’s trendy, but it’s popular because it works. In the western diet, we consume way too many carbohydrates, sugar and grains. This is a candidate for how the candida overgrowth was able to take root in the first place.

Cut out all simple carbohydrates. This includes alcohol, candy, dessert and white flour. These are the simple carbs that are broken down most easily and are the most direct fuel for candida.

Step two in eliminating candida overgrowth is to rebuild the immune system. Get enough protein from good sources. Protein keeps carbohydrates in the body from breaking down as quickly. Plus, protein helps the body rebuild essential structures.

The third in the trio of macronutrients, after carbs and protein, is fat. While fat has been demonized in the diet industry, getting the right amount of good fat from good sources is essential for your health. It’s a great source of energy, and it helps the body absorb vitamins. Some vitamins are fat soluble, such as A, D and E, so we need fat in order to absorb them properly, as well as minerals.

Getting enough vitamins and minerals is important too. Vitamin C is an essential part of the immune system as well as a few minerals such as zinc. Fruit is a good source of vitamin C, but you can also get it from vegetables such as spinach and bell peppers.

Once you’ve started killing off the candida, you could experience some symptoms called the Die-Off. As the candida is killed, it releases toxins causing nausea, headaches and other symptoms. Your liver tries to clear the toxins but it can’t take care of them all at once. Milk thistle is a good supplement for your liver. The milk thistle helps your liver by repairing and protecting liver cells as well as encouraging new liver cells to grow. This keeps it healthy and working to its full potential. The milk thistle is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean area.

Another way to beat candida is to replace the number of good bacteria in your body with probiotics.

Once the candida population has died down, good bacteria can move in to help heal your gut. Be sure to focus on anti-inflammatory foods as well while your leaky gut is healing.

Once the die-off symptoms start clearing up, you should start to feel better and be assured that your candida overgrowth is most likely contained.

Continue your low-carb diet for a while longer to rebalance your body, and consider not adding the refined carbs back in. At the very least, keep them to a minimum to keep your candida under control, especially if your diet was a factor in the first place. When you do add foods back in, reintroduce them slowly and make sure you don’t get another candida flare up.

Candida is a common problem with a relatively simple solution. Your food is fuel for your body, make sure it’s not fueling a problem like candida instead.

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