Candida is a yeast overgrowth that relates to an imbalance in the gut flora. It is responsible for a number of common ailments like brain fog, sinus infections, headaches, fatigue, yeast infections, urinary tract infection,s and more. There are over 20 strains of Candida yeasts that can affect humans, the most common being Candida Albicans. It is normal for these yeasts to reside in the intestinal tract in small amounts; in fact, they can aid nutrient absorption and digestion. Candida yeasts only become an issue when they are allowed to proliferate due to an imbalance in gut bacteria or a suppressed immune system. This results in the presence of common symptoms listed below and can also damage the intestinal lining leading to leaky gut syndrome.
The main contributing factors are:
- A poor diet high in sugar & refined carbohydrates as these break down to glucose, which is this yeast’s preferred food source. Sugar and refined carbohydrates provides the Candida with ample access to the fuel they need to proliferate and begin to take over the intestinal tract.
- Chronic stress, as it suppresses the immune system and also signals the body to release stored glucose into the bloodstream, again allowing the colony to proliferate.
- Medications like antibiotics and the birth control pill, as they destroy the friendly, good bacteria in the gut that play a huge role in our immune system. When the good bacteria are destroyed, it creates an opportunity for fast growing yeasts to take over and grow unchecked.
- A compromised immune system - those with an existing inflammatory or autoimmune condition. Again, a weakened immune system enhances the opportunity for yeasts to rapidly reproduce.
- Mood Disorders
- Oral candidiasis (thrush)
- Vaginal candidiasis (thrush)
- Cystitis (urinary tract infections)
- Sinus infections
- Intestinal disturbances
- Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- Food allergies/intolerances
- Weak immune system
- Joint pain
Nutritional Guidelines for Healing
- Start with a low sugar detox - Reboot with our 7 Day Food Matters Juice Detox. This is low-sugar program which anyone can do - the recipes are quick, easy & inexpensive. This will give your digestive system a break, cleanse the liver and flush the colon. Replace the herbal tea with a Pau d’Arco brew. This is a traditional remedy which has been found to help combat candida overgrowth (1).
- Eliminate sugar & refined carbohydrates - These foods quickly break down into glucose molecules, which creates an abundance of fuel for these yeasts. Reducing your consumption of these foods suppresses their growth. Replace refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread and pasta with zucchini noodles, brown rice or wholegrain sourdough. If this seems a bit overwhelming and you’re unsure how to get started, let us guide you with our 21 Day Food Matters Clean Eating Program.
- Coconut oil - Take 1 tbsp of extra-virgin coconut oil daily and use in meals, where possible. Coconut oil exhibits both antimicrobial and antifungal properties and has demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of fungal infections including Candida (2)
- Make friends with fermented food - Begin to add fermented foods to each meal. This could include sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir, fermented salsa, yogurt or kimchi. These foods are full of probiotics which help you to rebuild your army of friendly, good bacteria in the gut and boost your immune system so that your body can fight the Candida overgrowth. (3)
- Alkalize with greens - Get your daily greens by adding 1 cup of dark, leafy greens like spinach or kale to every meal. Try to include the following vegetable juice twice daily - 4 celery stalks, 1 cucumber, 1 cup spinach or kale, 1 inch knob ginger, 1 lemon and ½ an apple (if needed). If you are short on time or don’t have a juicer, simply replace with 1 tsp of our Food Matters Recommended Superfood Greens in water. Dark leafy greens help to alkalize the body against the acid-inducing actions of the yeasts. (4)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - Take 2 teaspoons of unpasteurized ACV in a few ounces of water twice daily. ACV has anti-fungal properties which can kill yeasts and prevent yeasts from reproducing. (5) A great way to have ACV is in our Super Simple Soda.
- Healing herbs & spices - Cook with garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano. These herbs exhibit antifungal properties that prevent the continued colonization of Candida albicans (6, 7)
Herbal, Superfood & Supplement Therapy
- Wild oregano oil - Take 150 mg daily as a softgel capsule between meals. Wild oregano oil has been used medicinally for centuries due to its potent antiviral, antibacterial & anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies indicate its efficacy in overcoming Candida overgrowth (8) . You can also explore other antifungal herbs that may be useful here.
- Probiotics - Take 50 billion units daily. Reestablishing your colony of good bacteria in the gut through probiotic supplementation is crucial to be able to overcome Candida overgrowth naturally (9).
- Vitamin C - Take 1,000 mg of a wholefood Vitamin C supplement twice daily. Vitamin C helps fight off the ‘die-off’ symptoms of Candida. This is when the yeast in the body releases toxins into the system as it gets killed off. It is important to let your physical body heal after being invaded by toxic bacteria!
- Chia & Aloe Cleanser - Drink the following elixir daily. Combine 1 cup of aloe juice with 2 tsp chia seeds. Let it sit for 10 minutes before adding a squeeze of lime & drinking. This acts as a brush for your intestines, cleaning out any dead yeasts and wastes. The aloe vera also has an anti-microbial action which inhibits Candida growth, while the chia reduces inflammation (10).
- Black walnut, caprylic acid, pau d’arco, and golden seal are also helpful in combating candida.
- Gentle Exercise - Avoid strenuous exercise and stressful situations while the body focuses on fighting the overgrowth and healing. Light exercise like a brisk walk or gentle yoga practice is beneficial as it may help to reduce stress and boost your mood.
- Emotional Healing - Candida can bring on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Make sure to take some time out and learn to listen to your body’s needs.
- Take an epsom salt bath - Enjoy a warm bath with two cups of epsom salt daily. This reduces stress & draws toxins out through the skin. Add some lemongrass essential oil for its refreshing smell and therapeutic antifungal effect that has been shown to kill external candida (11)
- Reduce stress - try the Sleep & Stress guided program
Ready to make a change but not sure where to start? Take your pick from a range of inspiring programs tailored to your specific goals. Our guided programs include everything from meal plans, guided meditations, sleep, cleansing and more. They'll support and empower you to improve your health and be the best you can be!
The Food Matters Clean Eating Program
Our in-house nutritionists have designed this program to help you regain your confidence in the kitchen, take the overwhelm out of cooking, and help you reset your mind and body over 21 days. Learn how to prepare nutrient-dense meals that the whole family can enjoy with meal plans, shopping lists, helpful nutrition tips, and more.Find Out More
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7. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. February 2009; 63 (2):337–339.
8. Mol Cell Biochem. 2001 Dec;228(1-2):111-7.
9. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2011 Jul;15(7):809-22.
10. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2005;4 (12).
11. Braz J Infect Disease. 2008; 12 (1).
This article is provided for your general information only and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional advice, particularly medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek medical advice from a qualified health practitioner which takes into account your personal circumstances, general health and medical conditions.