Writing article day! Candida. Not sure if you have or have not heard about this fungus. It's natural, it's normal, it's living inside you and I right now. On our skin and mucus membranes - happy and contented :)
Candida gets such a bad wrap because it sometimes overgrows, it thrives under certain conditions. On the skin or genitalia, under a toenail, in the mouth or gastrointestinal tract for example. This is called Candidiasis. Sometimes overgrowth can get out of control and candida finds its way into the bloodstream. The immune system works overtime, inflammation soars flooding even more chemicals into the bloodstream. The body is trying hard to get candida under control. Organs fail.. resulting in death. Eeeeek! Scary stuff. Did you realise candida and subsequent inflammation play a role in Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis?
Summing up. Candida is a normal part of our human physiology. It will only lead to problems when the environment favours rapid growth. Dear friends. Candida is not to blame!
Research has confirmed that REFINED carbohydrates (sugar, lollies, soft drink, bread, white rice..) lead to candida overgrowth and worsen the problem. There is no indication that whole unrefined fruits, vegetables and grains contribute to candida overgrowth. Ahh WHAT?!?! You mean I can eat fruit? Lots of fruit? To help balance my candida levels? Yup! Contrary to the bulk of knowledge out there huh?!
What other things put you at risk for candida overgrowth?
- high oestrogen levels (e.g. oral contraceptive pill)
- uncontrolled blood sugar (Type 2 Diabetes)
- weakened immunity
Symptoms associated with candida overgrowth:
- Oral thrush - white coated and/or burning tongue
- Digestive issues (heartburn, diarrhoea/constipation, bloating, flatulence, stomach cramps, nausea, bad breath, itchy anus)
- Itchy, red skin or genitalia and thrush
- Fungal infections of the skin, fingernails or toenails
- Sinus infections (especially those with a history of antibiotic use)
- Excessive craving for sweets or bread
- Fatigue, brain fog, mood swings and weakened immunity
Consume a LOW-FAT diet. Too much fat in the bloodstream accumulates as intramyocellular lipid inside cells. These lipids release toxic fatty breakdown products which interfere with insulin receptors. Insulin cannot do its job. Which leads to rising blood sugar levels. This can happen within three hours of fat consumption. Specifically saturated fat. Do not follow a low carbohydrate, high fat diet to address candida overgrowth!
Enjoy wholesome fruits, vegetables and grains! However, try to avoid refined carbohydrates..
Beverages reconsisted juice, soft drink, sweetened iced tea, Gatorade, Vitamin water, flavoured milk
Starches white breads: rolls, multi-grain bread (this is not necessarily a whole grain), white pasta, white rice, buns, muffins, croissants, scones, sweetened cereals
Snack foods: white crackers, chips, sweetened dried fruit, flavoured yoghurt, cookies, cake, ice cream, lollies, chocolate, muesli bars
Condiments and added sugars syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fruit juice concentrates
Limit foods containing (or growing) mould or yeast. Wine, beer, aged cheeses, yeast-containing breads, yeast-containing stock pastes and powders, flavoured potato crisps/savoury snacks, Vegemite, processed or smoked meats, black tea, coffee, vinegar, peanuts and pistachios. Any food you're unsure about, it's best to avoid.
Studies show that other microorganisms can inhibit candida. Those found in probiotics for example.
When choosing a good quality probiotic check that it contains at least 6 different types of microorganisms, at least 30 billion CFU, is bile and acid resistant, heat-stable (refrigeration not required) where possible. Finally, evidence-based or backed by clinical trials/scientific research.
Depending on the location and severity of candida overgrowth other natural medicines may need to be used. Herbs such as oil of oregano, garlic, grapefruit seed extract and Pau D'Arco work beautifully.
Well there you have it. A completely different understanding and approach to candida! :)