Kicking Candida to the Curb
Do you crave sugary foods, struggle with brain fog, experience bloating after meals or battle frequent fungal (i.e yeast) infections? Although these symptoms are relatively common, they can be indicative of a deeper issue, especially when they recur. Our gut contains trillions of bacteria, viruses and other microbes, including something called candida. Candida albicans is a strain of yeast that naturally exists in our mouth and digestive tract. When present in small amounts, it tends to be harmless. In fact, as part of the microbiome, it helps our digestion run smoothly.
However, an overgrowth of candida can eventually cause a myriad of health problems - it has even been linked as a contributor to certain autoimmune conditions (yes, really!). Before we get into all of that, take a look at some of the factors that can contribute to candida overgrowth:
The overuse of antibiotics
Anti = against, Bio = life. When you take an antibiotic, not only does it kill off the bad guys, the good guys get wiped out too. With the good bacteria removed, candida has an ideal climate to grow in. Taking a probiotic in conjunction with your antibiotic can help prevent that.
A diet high in sugar & processed foods
When broken down, those foods become the perfect fuel for yeast to grow, multiply and thrive off of. Eating these foods also deplete the immune system, increase inflammation and contribute to the overall toxic load our systems have to handle.
Currently battling autoimmune conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Hashimoto’s
The two conditions (candida & autoimmunity) actually go hand-in-hand. Candida can contribute to a condition known as leaky gut, which essentially means that the lining of your intestines become damaged. Not only does this increase inflammation, it wears down the immune system and makes you more susceptible to chronic illness.
Of all these factors, the most influential tends to be diet. Eating a clean diet is fundamental for optimal health. In the case of candida, it is essential. To truly kick candida to the curb, most sugars and all processed foods need to be removed. The following foods you will definitely want to avoid while trying to alleviate symptoms:
Foods That Feed Candida:
Alcohol & Caffeine
Grains & Gluten
Beans & Starchy Vegetables
Bottom line, when broken down these foods become simple sugars, which are definitely a no-go. It is essential to avoid these at all costs to give our immune systems a nice break and heal the lining of our gut. Even more importantly, let’s get into the list of foods that can prevent candida overgrowth and are associated with improving health overall:
Foods That Fight Candida:
This oil is high in caprylic acid, which works to break down the cell walls of yeast. For any women dealing with a tricky yeast infection, coconut oil can be a great topical to provide relief. Adding just a drop of tea tree oil to that mixture can also help due to its anti fungal and antiseptic properties. However, if there are any open sores or cuts, be cautious in using this essential oil - it’s very potent!
Eaten raw, this acts as an incredible anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and anti fungal. It even has been shown to be effective against killing cancer cells. If you’re having trouble eating it raw, there are actually garlic supplements you can take. Garlic can even function as a intra-vaginal suppository during yeast infections.
Cruciferous Vegetables & Greens
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels and kale are all examples of these! These veggies are great for repopulating the good bacteria in our GI tract. All of the beneficial microbes help to keep candida at bay and prevent overgrowth.
An excellent anti-inflammatory and also anti fungal. One great way to incorporate ginger into your daily routine is to make ginger tea. Simply take boiled water and add sliced ginger root. Drinking before bed is wonderful for soothing your stomach, aiding digestion and decreasing inflammation.
Apple Cider Vinegar & Lemon Juice
Both of these act as an anti fungal. Warm water with lemon in the morning can fight candida and ramp up digestion. Add a splash or two of ACV into your water bottle or over a salad and you’ll be good to go.
Wild Caught Salmon
Eating a diet rich in omega-3s is wonderful for healing leaky gut, which as we know, contributes to some autoimmune conditions.
Probiotics, of course!
Taking a probiotic each day is a simple, very effective way to give our body a boost. Give me the good bacteria!
Try sticking to these guidelines for about a month to see if any of your symptoms improve. Although it can seem restrictive, there are so many options to choose from! For breakfast, you can have a dark berry bowl or a green smoothie - just avoid the tropical fruits (bananas, oranges, mango, pineapple), as they are higher in natural sugars. For lunch, have a loaded salad dressed with lemon, olive oil and some pink himalayan sea salt. When dinner rolls around, grab some spaghetti squash and sauté in olive or coconut oil with onions, tomatoes and mushrooms. Craving a snack? Sliced avocado with lime and a little salt or paprika is always yummy and hits the spot!
Even choosing to take things day by day and removing one culprit at a time can be very beneficial. Check out my online store for even more of my favorite herbal remedies and supplements I love to use in the fight against candida!