Author: Sherry L. Granader, Nutritionist
Candida albicans is one of many types of fungi that grow inside our bodies. Normally, it does not cause any harm because our bodies are equipped with probiotics or “good” bacteria, plus our immune systems keep it under control. However, poor diet, sugar-laden food and soft drinks, allergies and some medications can cause those ‘good’ bacteria to die, leaving candida free to grow inside your body.
Most people are familiar with the condition and know it as a yeast or thrush infection. Soft white patches in the mouth, around the anus or on the skin are signs of thrush and are common in babies, the elderly or those being treated with chemotherapy or dealing with AIDS. It can also appear in those dealing with chronic fatigue and other chronic health conditions when yeast has had a chance to become overgrown.
One of the most common yeast infections occurs in women and is known as a vaginal yeast infection which causes itching, burning and soreness with a thick, sticky discharge. Usually the culprit is the use of antibiotics, but it can also be caused by hormone imbalance, poor diet or a combination of all of the above.
Sometimes the fungus can spread throughout the entire body, known as systematic candidiasis, which can produce a variety of symptoms. A person may feel sick and be told by their doctor that nothing is wrong, however a compromised or weakened immune system can cause a real threat to the body. The fungus can actually poison the blood.
There are many natural remedies for reducing the levels of candida to normal levels and resolving the condition. Treating the underlying cause is the key. Here are some steps to consider:
- Cut down on sugar, refined foods and alcohol that feed yeast immediately.
- Oregano oil and garlic are good supplements to take that will help get candida levels down to a controllable level.
- A naturopath or natural medicine doctor can assist in detoxifying the immune system and internal organs including hormone balancing.
- Improve digestion and elimination with fibrous foods such as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Leaky gut syndrome may be an issue where permeability of the intestines allows food particles to leak through the intestinal wall and end up in the bloodstream. Typically wheat, dairy, sugar, corn and peanuts can make this situation worse.
- Put good bacteria in the gut every day through a probiotic supplement or by consuming Greek yogurt. These contain good bacteria that are essential for keeping yeast levels in check.
- De-stress the body – chronic stress can suppress the immune system. Take time to meditate each day or do yoga.
- Balance hormones naturally through supporting the adrenal glands – a good quality B-complex can do wonders. Birth control pills or other forms of synthetic hormones can set the stage for candida overgrowth.
- Add ground flaxseeds to your morning smoothie, oatmeal or sprinkle on a salad. Flaxseeds have antifungal properties.
- Consume foods such as onions, garlic, chorella, spirulina and wheatgrass to support detoxification of the body.
Get to the bottom of any symptoms experienced, especially if they include chronic fatigue syndrome, imbalance of hormones or a compromised immune system. A qualified naturopath or natural medicine doctor can help identify symptoms and guide you through natural treatments. Knowing the foods that trigger the growth of yeast in the body is the first step in gaining control.