What is Candida?
Candida, or Candidiasis, is the overgrowth of yeast in the body and affects both men and women. It starts in the gut and, if it enters the bloodstream, can spread to other parts of the body such as the vagina, urinary tract, skin, fingernails, toenails, mouth, and other organs and tissues.
Yeast is normally present in our intestinal tract in small amounts. As long as that amount remains small, internal balance is maintained. Because they kill both the “good” and the “bad” bacteria in our digestive tracts, broad-spectrum antibiotics and their over-prescription is likely responsible for the alarming number of people with Candida. Other drugs such as anti-inflammatories, cortisone, and birth control pills can affect this yeast-to-bacteria ratio. Poor diet (too many refined carbs), stress and nutrient deficiencies can also lead to an imbalance.
Yeast is parasitic organisms that take nutrients from us and create toxic waste. When Candida changes from its yeast form into a fungal form, it creates waste products known as mycotoxins. The roots of fungal Candida can puncture the intestinal lining and lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut Syndrome is a digestive condition that allows bacteria and toxins to pass through the intestinal walls.
In the initial stages of Candida infection, the symptoms may be mild:
- Persistent bloating/gas
- Joint and muscle pain
- Recurring vaginal yeast infections
- Food sensitivities/allergies
- Recurring bladder infections
- Sugar cravings
- Brain fog
- Bad breath
- Blurred vision
- Chemical sensitivities
- Sinus problems
Undigested food particles can also pass through these intestinal holes and enter the bloodstream. The body views them as foreign invaders, resulting in food allergies or sensitivities. As mycotoxins become abundant in the body, more serious and chronic conditions may develop:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Crohn’s disease/Colitis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Skin disorders
Toxins tend to settle in the organs and tissues of greatest weakness. As everyone has different areas of genetic or acquired weakness, the symptoms of Candida can vary between individuals.
How can I get rid of Candida?
- ELIMINATE or minimize antibiotics, steroids, immune-suppressing drugs, and oral contraceptives
- CLEANSE your system with anti-fungal herbs
- RE-ESTABLISH good bacteria with a high potency probiotic supplement.
- INCREASE fiber consumption (flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber) This will help absorb and sweep out the Candida toxins. 30-40 grams of fiber per day is required (most Canadians only get 10-20).
- CHANGE YOUR DIET. Eliminate all sugar and sweeteners including fruit, fruit juices, carbohydrates, and dairy products. Eliminate all fermented and moldy foods including alcohol, soy sauce, vinegar, mushrooms, and peanuts. Eat plenty of vegetables and lean proteins.
- DRINK plenty of water — at least 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight.
- ENHANCE digestion by eating more raw foods, chewing thoroughly, and taking digestive enzymes with every meal.
- STAY ON probiotic and fiber supplement daily as maintenance
- IMPROVE immune function by stimulating lymph flow through exercise and deep breathing.
CANDIDA MYTH #1 – Candida affects only women
Not true. In women it can produce yeast infections; in men jock-itch, athletes’ foot, and “beer belly.” Because it can pass between partners, both partners need to be treated.
CANDIDA MYTH # 2 – You can treat Candida by diet alone
Although Candida needs sugar and starchy carbohydrates to grow, diet alone will not end it. Treating Candida requires a multi-faceted approach.
The CAN-DO DIET:
Enjoy freely: vegetables, lean protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, red meat) healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado) herbal teas, water, lemon, seasoning. Snack on small portions of raw nuts, seeds, veggies, hummus.
ADD DAILY if desired:
1 cup of berries, 1 cup of non-gluten grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet), 1 cup of unsweetened yogurt.
Sugar, simple carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, white rice, potatoes, processed foods, dairy (except for plain yogurt), mushrooms, vinegar (except apple cider vinegar) coffee, and most fruit.