Written by Monica Kovacs, CNP Do you suffer from sugar cravings, headaches, fatigue and mental fog? Do you have recurrent yeast infections or a toenail infection that just won't clear up? Are your sinuses always clogged or your nose always running? Do you feel vaguely 'bad', but can't pinpoint why? These are just some of the symptoms you may experience if you suffer from candida overgrowth. The full list of symptoms can be long and varied, which is why candidiasis is so easily mistaken for other ailments.
What makes us vulnerable to Candida?
You might want to consider candida as an underlying cause to your problems if any of the following statements apply to you: You eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods You have recently been on antibiotics or have a long history of antibiotic use. You have impaired immunity and seem to catch colds frequently All of these factors make it much easier for candida to take hold. Candida is a natural inhabitant of the human body that is normally held in check by our friendly bacteria. But much like the little ecosystem drawings we studied in biology class, everything in our bodies exists in a delicate balance. When you weaken or wipe out one organism, it gives another organism the opportunity to overgrow. Add to this equation some extra food for the overgrowing species, and we have a recipe for disaster.
What to do if you have a confirmed problem
If you suspect you have a candida problem, your doctor, naturopath, or live blood cell microscopist can confirm that for you. Bringing everything back into balance is the key to feeling more alert, energized and pain-free. We must boost the immune system, colonize our intestinal tract with good bacteria and starve out the candida. How do we go about doing that? Following a whole-foods diet is a good start. If the candida overgrowth is severe, often a strict diet will be necessary until the candida dies out. It is vitally important that during this period you eat nothing refined, and avoid even natural forms of sugar. Basically your diet should consist of: vegetables, fish, raw nuts and seeds, and limited whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. When selecting meat, make sure it is free of hormones and antibiotics. If you are vegetarian, you can substitute lentils and beans as your protein. Low-glycemic fruits can be tolerated in limited amounts by some people. Other things to avoid at all costs are: alcohol, vinegar and mushrooms.
There are certain supplements you can take in conjunction with your candida diet to help kill off the buggers even faster.
One of your most powerful tools: raw garlic. Garlic is a powerful anti-fungal and immune booster so eat plenty of it every day. (On a side note, if you have a yeast infection don't waste $20 on a cream. Try garlic. Seriously. Just don't forget to put a string through it.)
Other supplements that also go a long way are: oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and pau d'arco. Many supplements on the market will use a combination of these ingredients for maximum efficiency. Most importantly though, don't forget to take your probiotics! These guys are your army that will keep on holding the candida in check later. The length of time you have to do this depends on the severity of the problem. Stick with it for a month or two, and slowly start adding back your natural sweeteners. If your symptoms get worse, you'll know there's more work to be done. But if you feel fine, you've likely rebalanced everything and can go on enjoying your favourite sweets - in moderation, of course!
Here is a recipe you can enjoy every day while doing a candida cleanse. All that garlic will kill off the candida, and the broccoli will help boost your liver to clean out the toxins left behind.
Super-Garlicky Steamed Broccoli
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
1 - 2 cloves garlic, pressed
sea salt, to taste
1. Steam broccoli until bright green and crunchy. 2. Toss with flax oil, garlic and sea salt. Enjoy, and brush your teeth immediately before speaking to anyone.
Note- We are not medical doctors nor do we give medical advice. All information presented on the Living Kitchen Wellness blog is meant for education and is to be used at your own discretion.
About Monica Monica is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and Reiki therapist working in Toronto. Combining her musical background with her passion for holistic living, she believes in bringing fun and creativity into all aspects of life, including the kitchen. Click here to check out her Facebook page