(NaturalNews) Candida is a fungal organism that is in everyone`s gut system, although it is potentially harmful. In healthy people, there is a balance in the body of what is known as good bacteria, and bad bacteria. Occasionally this balance can become upset, and an overgrowth of candida can occur. Candida overgrowth is becoming almost an epidemic and is associated with a wide range of illnesses. Fortunately, a variety of lifestyle changes can prevent and reverse this damaging problem.
Candida can cause digestive problems such as bloating and IBS systems. If the candida manages to grow through the intestinal wall it can allow leaky gut to develop. Undigested food particles enter the blood stream causing allergic reactions. These can result in joint pain, swelling and the development of food sensitivities. The immune system is constantly under pressure so the body may become prone to more colds and infections.
As digestion becomes more compromised, the person can become nutrient deficient, leading to other symptoms including depression, anxiety, sensitivity to bright lights and blood sugar imbalances. Candida also feeds off sugar, which may be what causes the strong sugar cravings that most people with candida experience.
What is Candida?
Symptoms can include:
* Feeling Spacey * Fatigue * Depression * Poor memory * Tingling * Pain or joint swelling * Bloating constipation * Thrush * Prostitis * Menstrual irregularity (women only) * Crying /anxiety * Shaking/irritable when hungry * Alcohol intolerance * Athlete`s foot * Exposure to fumes make you feel worse (smoke, perfume) * Damp day symptoms are worse * Sugar cravings
Why do people get a Candida overgrowth?
Antibiotics increase the chances of getting a fungal overgrowth, as these drugs reduce healthy bacteria in the gut, and make an opportunistic fungal overgrowth more likely. Being on the pill and taking steroid drugs also tend to increase the chances of suffering a fungal overgrowth. Anything which lowers the natural immune system increases the chance of fungal overgrowth. This can include emotional and mental stress, operations and other illnesses, and drugs which may suppress immunity. A diet high in sugar and white refined carbohydrates can also encourage a fungal overgrowth.
Foods to Avoid
* SUGAR (in all forms, and food containing sugar since candida feeds on sugar) - This includes brown and white sugar, demerera, molasses, syrup, honey, malt and chocolate. The same goes for all other forms of confectionery, icing, marzipan, ice cream, desserts, puddings, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, squash and all canned drinks, tinned fruit in syrup etc. All packets and tins should be checked for hidden sugar, including frozen and canned vegetables. Other names for sugar include fructose, lactose, maltose, sucrose and dextrose. * REFINED GRAINS (since these are high in sugar and feed fungus) - This includes white flour, granary flour, white rice, white pasta, cornflour (cornstarch), custard powder, cornflakes and cereals (unless wholemeal or wholegrain). * ALCOHOL - This includes beer, wine and spirits. * COW`S MILK (including milk products, cream, and cheese) - This is because milk contains lactose which promotes Candida growth. * MORE THAN 3 PIECES FRESH FRUIT DAILY (stewed, made into jam or juice) - Fruit is made of fructose. * DRIED FRUIT - This includes prunes and fruit in muesli as these are very high in sugar. * YEAST (all foods containing or derived from it) - Usually people with candida are allergic to these foods, and this will place and extra burden on the immune system. This includes bread, food coated in breadcrumbs, Marmite, Vecon, Bovril, Bisto, Oxo, citric acid, monosodium glutamate, vitamin tablets (check the labels state `yeast-free`), pizza bases and most pita bread. Commercial bread which may claim that it is `yeast-free` may have been made with sour dough or sprouted grains and moldy cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Stilton). * PEANUTS - Avoid peanuts and peanut butter completely because they can be high in mold and can burden the immune system. * TEA, COFFEE & HOT CHOCOLATE contain stimulants which raise blood sugar and contribute to sugar cravings. * ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS may feed Candida as effectively as sugar. * PRESERVATIVES may burden the immune system.
Foods to Enjoy
* WHOLE GRAINS (Malt-free) - If you are not allergic to wheat or gluten, try quinoa, millet, buckwheat, brown rice, oats, spelt, and amaranth. * MILK ALTERNATIVES (sugar free) include oat milk and rice milk, and microfiltered whey protein (which does not contain lactose). * COLD PRESSED OILS (such as linseed, olive oil and flaxseed for salad dressing) * LEGUMES (including lentils and all beans) * ALL FRESH VEGETABLES are best eaten raw or lightly steamed as well as avocado and cucumber (technically fruits). * SEEDS AND NUTS like sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame make nutritious snacks. * HERBS (add to all meals, dried and fresh) * MILD SPICES add interest like cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Avoid hot ones. * HOT DRINKS [barleycup (if not gluten intolerant) and any type of herb tea or fruit tea providing it has no citric acid, malt, or artificial flavourings and colourings] * COLD DRINKS (filtered or bottled water, tomato juice, iced fruit teas) * 1-3 PIECES OF FRUIT PER DAY (for variety in the diet) But avoid these too if you notice a worsening in Candida symptoms. * SUGAR-FREE CONDIMENTS (such as sugar free ketchup, vinegar, salt, pepper and tamari)
Notes on other foods
* If you regularly eat foods you have become allergic to, it will place more pressure on your immune system which is already stretched fighting off the Candidia, so ideally avoid any foods you know you are intolerant or allergic to. * You may know that some practitioners recommend also avoiding all nuts that aren`t freshly cracked, mushrooms, all fruit and fermented foods like vinegar. More and more practitioners believe this is unnecessary and makes the diet excessively restrictive. Patients risk becoming nutrient deficient as well as depressed or even paranoid about food when the diet becomes too bland and restricted.
Lifestyle Changes Identifying the stresses in life which may be lowering immunity and working towards reducing them is essential for optimum health. These stresses could be mental, physical, emotional or environmental. * Sufficient rest is also very important to recover, not only sleep but relaxation and enjoyment of life. * It is important to sit down to eat and view this as a relaxation time; eat food you enjoy and chew well. * Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, massage and walking in the fresh air are very important. * More vigorous exercise may be useful to release tension, but excessive exercise can reduce your body`s immunity. So while fighting Candida you are better doing low and moderately low intensity exercise which is enjoyable. * Massage, shiatsu, cranial sacral, reflexology, and other body work will help the body relax. * Learn to have a good laugh!
Alex Howard is author of "WHY ME? My Journey from M.E. to Health and Happiness" and founder of The Optimum Health Clinic, an award winning clinic specialising in M.E./C.F.S./Fibromyalgia based in Harley Street Clinic, London, UK. The clinic has treated over 5,000 patients with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia in over twenty-five countries around the world, and is currently running a two year clinical trial in conjunction with two top universities. A free information pack, including a 75 documentary about the clinic and its work, can be ordered from www.FreedomFromME.co.uk