Gut instinct: don't ignore it! What is candida, what causes it, and how can you get effective and natural relief? Let us help you in your quest for gut health!
Candida, or candida albicans, is actually a fungus and is a form of yeast. In small amounts, a certain amount of candida is a good thing, helping with digestion and nutrient absorption. But, when you have too much candida, known as candida overgrowth, problems arise. Candida overgrowth is actually a form of a yeast infection. When there’s too much, candida can damage intestinal walls and can get into the bloodstream, where they’re not supposed to be. This effect can lead to a serious problem known as leaky gut, which can lead to a number of health issues such as digestion problems, food allergies, skin problems, and mental issues such as depression.
What Causes Candida
When your gut flora, body pH, and other systems of the body are operating as they ought, candida levels stay in balance. But, when these balance systems get disrupted, candida can easily get out of control. Candida overgrowth can be caused when:
- Eating a lot of refined carbs and sugars & low fiber foods
- Alcohol consumption
- Oral birth control
- Deficiency in good bacteria (from fermented foods)
- Chronic high stress
- Chlorinated water
- Cancer treatments
Essentially, the further your nutrition and lifestyle get from being healthy, balanced, and as nature intended, the greater the chance of developing candida overgrowth.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Candida
- Cravings for sugar and carbs
- Fatigue and excessive tiredness
- Digestive issues, such as bloating or constipation
- Hormone imbalance
- Autoimmune issues
- Skin issues including psoriasis and eczema
- Poor cognitive function including concentration, memory, or hyperactivity
- Mood disorders such as mood swings, depression, irritability, or anxiety
- UTI or other forms of yeast infections
- Worsened allergies
Effective Strategies for Candida Relief
To get candida overgrowth under control, the first step is going to be to stop the actions that are leading to overgrowth. An important key to doing this is to adopt a very low carb and sugar diet. The carbs eaten should only come from vegetables, beans/legumes and 100% whole grains. Sugar (and this includes carbohydrates, which break down in the body to sugar), is the main fuel that feeds candida. Without it, candida will starve and die. It’s also important to eliminate alcohol, soda pop and juices while aiming to get rid of candida.
It’s important to understand that when eating to starve candida, eating highly processed sugar-free foods is not a healthy alternative. Not only are they bad for health in general, but they have a negative impact on the beneficial bacteria in the gut, are detrimental to the immune system, and also can fuel inflammation. So, if you’re trying to get rid of candida, sugar-free foods are no better than their traditional sugar counterparts. This includes chewing gum.
After reducing carbs and sugars from your diet for approximately three months, it’s important to heal the gut. Check out effective foods for healing:
- Dark leafy greens
- Fresh vegetables
- Coconut oil
- 100% whole grains (ideally soaked/sprouted)
- Unsweetened kombucha
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables
These foods help to heal inflammation and also work to boost the immune system and rebuild the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Because candida is also affected by stress, mindful strategies such as meditation, yoga, mindful eating and other stress management techniques are important to do in conjunction with your candida diet.
The primary key to curing candida overgrowth is creating better lifestyle habits and being consistent. Candida is not something that is cured quickly, so be consistent and patient with the process of healing.