Candida… It’s something many people have, but rarely talk about. In fact, candida overgrowth is more common than you probably realize – there are over 20 species of candida yeasts that can cause infections!
Candida is actually a fantastic thing in the body – in proper amounts. A healthy amount of this fungus will help out with digestion and nutrient absorption. But when it grows out of control, it can break down intestinal walls and get into your bloodstream. This toxic by-product can cause leaky gut and a whole host of health issues. This we do not want!!
A number of candida overgrowth symptoms can include:
• Gut issues such as discomfort of the GI tract, bloating, gas
• Low energy
• Autoimmune conditions
• Skin issues
• Low mood
• Sugar cravings
• Itchy ears
• Unwanted weight gain
Don’t fear there are things we can do about it! These are my top nutritional tips to kill candida:
Embrace a sugar free diet for 4-6 weeks, minimum. Candida thrives off sugar, so you have to starve the bug. This means eliminating processed/packaged foods with additives and E numbers, fizzy drinks, alcohol, all sweeteners , dairy, gluten, refined carbs (white flour, cakes, pastries, biscuits etc) and cut down your fruit intake to 3 fruits per day – antioxidant rich berries are best.
• Enjoy bitter foods like lemon, grapefruit, rocket and dandelion. These help fight off sweet cravings. Try sipping dandelion tea between meals.
• Cut out alcohol for 4 weeks.
• Take cleansing herbs with guidance from a naturopath – oregano, garlic, Chinese wormwood and black walnut are all really great at killing off candida.
• Take a good course of probiotics, for 4-6 weeks.
• Eat fermented foods. I add fermented vegetables to my salad, which can be found at most health food stores.
• Add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to your water. It acts as an anti-microbial in the body.
• Plant focus your meals, this doesn’t mean going veggie or vegan it’s just consciously adding a wide variety and range of vegetables to your plate, leafy greens etc, choose healthy fats and clean good quality protein.
• After 4-6 weeks of being on a strict sugar free diet, notice if your digestive function seems better. Then slowly add more fruit into your diet, but stick to only wholegrain gluten free flours over white refined carbohydrates. It may also be best to consider sugar a treat, or choose healthy and natural sweetness such as stevia, brown rice malt syrup or pure organic maple syrup, date syrup in limited amounts. As for alcohol, it is my personal rule is to enjoy it only on the weekends.
These tips will help keep candida growth in check so that you feel your best.