The 411 on Candida
When I heard about the “Candida Diet”, my red flag went up and my eyes naturally rolled. What is candida anyway and is this something that I should be concerned about?
Candida is a fungus (or yeast) that inhabits the gut flora in the mouth and intestines of every human. But it’s not as bad as it sounds! This fungus is actually beneficial to us by aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. Candida only becomes a concern when overgrowth occurs, usually as a result of stress, antibiotics, excessive sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption. It can quickly take over the digestive tract and cause very uncomfortable symptoms. When overproduced, candida can break down the wall of the intestines and penetrate the bloodstream. This then releases toxins and can even cause leaky gut.
Identifying whether or not you have candida can be tricky.
The symptoms that occur are basic “I don’t feel right” symptoms that can be associated with tons of other conditions like chronic inflammation and hormone imbalance. Some symptoms include: bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, endometriosis, infertility, fatigue, mood swings, insomnia, decrease in sex drive, muscle aches, pain in joints and foggy thinking. If these symptoms are all too familiar to you, consider getting a blood test, stool sample or vaginal swab to find out if you do have a candida overgrowth.
Fortunately, when your gut is in check, candida isn’t an an issue! Our bodies are equipped to handle the occasional long night out, accompanied by an early morning alarm. That’s not to say that your body likes it - it definitely doesn’t. It just means that it’s not going to kill you.
However, if you’ve been indulging too much in a fast paced life, and aren’t feeling as hot as you did when it all began, a candida issue is something you may want to consider.
Eating for candida health revolves around starving the yeast in your system. Yeasts thrive off of sugar, so unfortunately your glass of red wine and piece of dark chocolate aren’t helping much. Though, remember, they aren’t the culprit. So don’t restrict yourself to insanity! Start by eliminating processed simple sugars such as candy and flours. Complex carbohydrates, like grains, beans, fruit, bread, and potatoes, can stay in smaller amounts. Just don’t over do it. This will starve the yeast overgrowth and cause it to die. If you want to speed up results, ditch all grains, fruit, bread and potatoes as well. Amp up the veggies and healthy fats, specifically coconut oil, olive oil and cruciferous vegetables. Unfortunately healing from a candida overgrowth can take some time, so try giving this diet your all for three to six months.
Anti-fungal supplements can be used in addition to help kill the bad bacteria, like oil of oregano, garlic and grapefruit seed extract. Experiment with switching these up and combining for best results. Shortly after starting anti-fungals, add in a good quality probiotic to help generate the good bacteria in your gut.
All in all, don’t ditch all fruit just yet. If you are feeling vibrant and bloat free, then you are probably in the clear! If not, then an anti-fungal diet may be something to consider - especially since it focuses on things that we already know and love to do. Eat your vegetables, especially the green ones, and enjoy those healthy fats!
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