Could The Cause Be Candida?
There are many people that live with mild to chronic health issues they never seem to be able to cure. Blood tests, different medications and diet regimes are tried without long term success with much frustration. Often this is because physicians are just treating symptoms and not discovering the real cause behind the health issues.
Tired of endless tests and doctors visits without answers, people sometimes just give up and resign themselves to the fact that they will just have to live with pain or discomfort. If that has been your experience you may want to read on. It could be that your symptoms are linked to or caused by Candida, and that by treating Candida effectively, your body may surprisingly be able to start to heal itself of other conditions as well.
Candida is quite simply a yeast overgrowth. This doesn’t sound too serious until you learn about the impacts it can have on health. The yeasts that most commonly lead to compromised immunity and infection are Candida albicans. In the right conditions, Candida albicans multiply rapidly impacting gut flora, causing infections in the bloodstream, impacting organs and overall health.
People who have compromised immune system are particularly vulnerable. Once well established, Candida albicans are notoriously difficult to eliminate and treatments often require a long term approach that involves strict and permanent lifestyle changes. The good news is that these lifestyle changes can often have far reaching benefits as you start to experience better health overall.
10 Common Candida symptoms
Here are 10 common symptoms that could indicate that you are suffering from Candida without even knowing it. Please note that in most cases you would only suffer on some symptoms:
1. Do you experience stomach issueswhere you suffer at different times from cramps or a feeling of bloating, constipation or diarrhea? As Candida impacts gut flora, it also affects how well your digestive system is able to digest food, metabolise and absorb nutrients. When your digestive system isn’t working properly, it can impact all areas of health.
2. Skin rashes and allergic reactions such as hives could be caused by a compromised immune system, which can also be linked to Candida. More chronic conditions such as eczema or psoriasis are also well known symptoms of Candida.
3. A constant feeling of irritability or moodiness could be an indicator that your body is under strain. If left this can escalate to more severe anxiety or depression. An imbalance caused by Candida could be a cause of the problem.
4. In women, frequent vaginal infections, urinary tract infections can result from Candida overgrowth. Itching in the genital regions can also be caused by Candida.
5. Seasonal allergies, and itchy nose or ears are other symptoms of Candida which results from a compromised immune system.
6. A consistent sense of not being able to think clearly, lack of focus or concentration, poor memory or ADHD can be caused by Candida. The feeling of a ‘fog in mind’ or ‘heavy mind’ and tiredness are typical signs for Candida.
7. Fungal infections, particularly on hands and feet are common indicators of Candida. Athlete’s foot is one such condition.
8. Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or just generally feeling listless and exhausted could be an indicator that you have Candida overgrowth.
9. More chronic conditions such as auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and even multiple sclerosis could have links to Candida.
10. Finally, constant sugar cravings and a high refined carbohydrate diet are probably one of the strongest indicators of chronic yeast overgrowth and Candida. As the yeasts feed off sugar this sets off sugar cravings.
How Candida takes hold of your body
Most often it is a stressed lifestyle and poor eating habits that create an environment in your body where Candida can thrive. Both are common issues in modern diet and lifestyle. The problem is that as Candida multiplies, it starts to take over the digestive system, killing off good digestive bacteria and impacting your bodies ability to absorb nutrients. This means that even if you start to switch to healthier foods, it is not enough. Treating Candida involved getting rid of the yeast overgrowth, replacing good gut flora and then rebuilding a compromised immune system.
Other ways in which Candida can take hold is through overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy harmful bacteria, but in the process they also harm the good gut bacteria. Without the good gut bacteria Candida can easily grow. Antibiotics are often used as a cure-all especially when doctors are unsure of what is ailing the patient. Antibiotics are often prescribed “just in case”. While this may resolve the immediate health issue, the long term effects are often felt in the digestive system, and something not taken in consideration in too many cases.
Some oral contraceptives combined with lifestyle can promote the growth of Candida. This makes some people more prone to yeast overgrowths.
Over indulgence in certain foods, in particular refined carbohydrates and sugars, alcohol and fermented foods such as pickles could cause Candida overgrowth.
Typically, it is a combination of factors that leads to chronic Candida infections and as a result, it often requires strict lifestyle and dietary changes to enable the body to heal from Candida and become healthy once again.
Natural approaches to getting rid of Candida
There are three different aspects that combine to overcome Candida: starvation, elimination and rebuilding. Don’t worry; it doesn’t involve starving yourself, but rather the Candida albicans in your body.
This is possibly the hardest part of the treatment as it requires you to give up your favorite treats. Most of the time, people aren’t even aware of how much sugar they eat until they have to quit. That is when they realize the reality of sugar cravings. Candida thrives on sugar and refined carbohydrates and so the starvation phase requires that you cut these out of your diet pretty much completely. If you don’t include this as part of your treatment program, you may struggle to find improved health. As long as you continue to feed the Candida, it will continue to grow, no matter what medications or helpful foods you eat. Starting out it’s best to eliminate starchy vegetables and high sugar fruits such as grapes and bananas.
There are a number of foods that have natural antifungal and antibacterial properties. By adding them into your daily lifestyle, you can help your body fight off and eliminate the Candida albicans. These foods can be used to strengthen whatever treatments you are on. Remember to always consult a qualified physician before trying something different, especially if you are on medication. Natureland stocks many of these foods:
- Coconut oil is a potent antifungal. The active ingredients are Caprylic Acid and Lauric Acid which help to fight the Candida overgrowth and restore a healthy balance in your gut. It is known to be maybe the most potent natural Candida killer.
- Apple cider vinegar. While most vinegars are avoided when on a Candida diet because they are fermented, apple cider vinegar is the exception. Organic apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that help stop further Candida growth and restore healthy gut bacteria. These enzymes are called ‘mother of vinegar’ and can only be found in organic unfiltered products like the Natureland vinegar.
- Cranberry juice is also known to be a potent weapon against Candida. Its acidic content fights the yeast, and it doesn’t deliver sugars at the same time - what most other juices would. So be sure to only use unsweetened variants!
- Cloves. This pungent spice is often used as a mild painkiller for toothache; however, it has strong antifungal properties that help to combat Candida overgrowth. You can add some ground clove spice to a fruit salad of apples and berries. A small amount also goes well in meat stews and curries.
- Garlic is well known for its healing properties and Candida is no exception. Garlic can be added to salad dressings, enjoyed in vegetable and meat dishes. For a stronger dose, you may consider preparing some green juice with added garlic. Including parsley can help reduce garlic breath.
- Onions. Similarly to garlic, onions also have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. They should be eaten in moderation to avoid digestive discomfort or strong onion breath. The nice thing about onions is that they are very versatile, can be added to many different raw or cooked meals.
- Seaweedis rich in iodine and other nutrients and helps the digestive system by cleaning the small intestine. In this way, it helps the body to naturally fight off Candida by providing essential nutrients and helping to boost the immune system.
- Ginger has a calming effect on the digestive system as it has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Candida can cause inflammation in the gut and ginger can help relieve this as well as reduce intestinal gas.
- Olive oil has strong antifungal properties and contains nutrient dense saturated fats that help to boost your body’s natural immune response to Candida. In particular olive oil contains Oleuropein which has shown to be a powerful antioxidant.
- Pumpkin seeds contain good levels of omega 3 fatty acids that help to keep the thyroid functioning efficiently. In addition, pumpkin seeds have anti-parasitic and antifungal properties.
- Rutabaga is a vegetable that has surprisingly strong antifungal properties. Because of this, eat in small quantities at first until your body gets used to it. The versatile vegetable can be added to stews, soups or to create mash which can be eaten as a side dish.
Because Candida often destroys much of our healthy gut flora, the last phase of the lifestyle change is to eat foods that can help to repopulate the healthy bacteria in our gut that aid digestion. Commonly health professionals advise taking probiotics and the effectiveness can be boosted by eating foods that contribute to building healthy gut flora. These foods include:
- Cranberry juice is high in antioxidants and helps to prevent urinary tract infections. This nutrient rich juice also plays a vital role in helping to rebuild a healthy environment in the digestive system.
- Lemon or lime juice helps to stimulate peristalsis in the digestive system which in turn improves digestive health in general. These citrus fruits are very versatile and can be used in juice, as salad dressings and to season meat or vegetable dishes.
- Broccoliand other cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients and contain powerful antioxidants. Enjoy them lightly steams or sautéed in butter or coconut oil to benefit from their nutritional goodness.
- Blueberries are known for their nutrient density and antioxidant properties. Blueberries are also relatively low in sugar so they provide tasty nutrients without feeding the Candida sugars.
- Beans help to promote efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. They also contain folates and vitamins that help to build up the digestive system.
- Artichokes are tasty vegetables that help to feed the good bacteria in your gut as they contain prebiotics. Steam and sauté in coconut oil or butter to help improve nutrient absorption.
- Natural unsweetened full cream Greek style yoghurt contains probiotics that help promote healthy gut flora and aid digestion.
- Sauerkraut juice is somewhat of an acquired taste, but is very beneficial for gut health as it contains nutrients that aid digestion. Try Natureland’s lacto fermented sauerkraut juice. As it is a fermented product, you should wait some days after you add this juice to your treatment, and drink it in moderation.
This article is not intended as nutritional advice; rather it is an introduction into understanding a bit about Candida, how it develops, why it can be a problem and how to start eliminating it, so that you can enjoy better health. There are multiple more detailed resources that can be found online that you can research to help you understand Candida and find a solution that works for you. Some of these resources include:
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