Extra Help with Candida
Candida is a type of yeast that we naturally have present in our digestive tract and if kept in check can cause us no problems. The difficulties arise when it is allowed to overgrow in our systems, when it can contribute to digestive symptoms such as IBS, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea. Candida can also get into the urinary tract and vagina, leading to cystitis and thrush. If left to grow it can actually move through the gut wall and cause a multitude of symptoms such as acne, eczema, ear infections, PMS, headaches, fatigue and even contribute to depression.
We have about 3-4lb of live bacteria in our guts. Ideally this should be made up of about 80% “friendly” bacteria and 20% “bad” bacteria. The friendly bacteria help keep the ‘bad’ bacteria in check, but can be damaged by antibiotics, sugar, stress and refined foods. When there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, the friendly become depleted and candida can flourish.
It is important to see a Nutritional Therapist if you suspect or know that you may have a candida overgrowth, but the following advice can help to look after your good bacteria and stop feeding the candida:
- Eat a diet consisting mainly of fresh or cooked vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, garlic, greens, spinach; highly coloured vegetables and fruits such as carrots, sweet potatoes and watercress contain compounds that heal the gut.
- Cinnamon, cloves, garlic, rosemary, oregano and turmeric all have anti-candida properties and can help keep the gut clean of unwanted problems. They are a good alternative to fermented flavourings like soy in cooking.
- Use lemon juice instead of vinegar for cooking and dressings.
- Fresh herbs such as basil, coriander and parsley, sauerkraut, lemon, ginger and peppermint tea all help good digestion and encourage the growth of good bacteria.
- Feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut by eating chicory, onions, leeks, garlic, beetroot, cabbage and Jerusalem artichoke.
- Taking a “probiotic” supplement that contains the good bacteria can be very beneficial, either as a capsule or a probiotic drink.
Decrease or avoid:
- Sugar, all foods containing sugar, including cakes biscuits, soft drinks, sweets and chocolate. Sugar also includes honey, molasses, syrup, malt and malted foods, fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose and treacle – all of these feed candida in the gut.
- Tea and coffee which stimulate and raise blood sugar levels, releasing sugar to feed the candida.
- Preservatives, colourings and artificial flavours. MSG (Monosodium glutamate) is in much processed and take-away food. Read foods labels very carefully for hidden ingredients
- All refined carbohydrates – white bread, pasta, rice and other grains.
- Foods containing yeast – bread and pizza, yeast extract – look on labels to avoid this as it is a common flavouring.
- Fermented products – alcoholic drinks, vinegar and foods with vinegar, soy sauce, mustard chutney.
- Ventilate rooms to avoid damp and mouldy conditions, especially when sleeping.
- Eat only fresh produce to reduce mould and bacterial build-up.
- Ensure all towels, flannels, shoes and clothes are fully dried and not allowed to gather mould.
- Use natural toiletries and cleaning products to support the immune system.
- Keep your mouth and teeth clean to help reduce oral candida
- Ensure good personal hygiene to reduce the likelihood of transferring candida overgrowths from anus to genitals.
- Buy probiotic, tea tree or lavender pessaries to help reduce vaginal thrush or anal irritation.
NB: Candida needs feeding regularly and cutting off its food supply can cause it to give off loads of toxins as it dies off. These can make you feel really awful and crave the foods that feed it like sugar and yeast. If this happens, it is quite likely that you have a candida overgrowth, so persevere and seek professional help – consult a Nutritional Therapist to discuss this.