‘Tis the season to be merry but along with merriment can come a tendency to over-indulge in festive sweets and treats that can fuel candida overgrowth. Sugar, in its many forms, activates candida and this can result in an array of health problems – just what you don’t need as the festive season gets underway.
Candida albicans is a yeast found in every healthy human, but problems arise when candida begins to multiply and overgrowth occurs. When overproduced, a candida infection can occur and this is known as candidiasis. In some cases, candida can affect the integrity of the gut wall, causing a “leaky” gut. When the gut is “leaky”, our immune system can be compromised and molecules which are toxic can easily enter the bloodstream, causing havoc.
Candidiasis can lead to many different health problems, ranging from digestive issues to depression. Common candida overgrowth symptoms include;
- Nail and skin fungal infections
- Feeling tired all the time or suffering from chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues including bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea
- Skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression or general irritability
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal or vaginal itching
- Strong cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates
Probably the most well-known symptom of candidiasis is vaginal thrush. In fact, a staggering 75% of women will experience vaginal thrush at some point in their lives. Vaginal thrush is often an overt sign of a more systematic candida overgrowth.
For those who may be suffering from candida overgrowth, treatment involves stopping the yeast overgrowth, restoring friendly bacteria in the gut, and healing the gut so that it doesn’t leak toxic molecules into your bloodstream.
Getting rid of candida overgrowth primarily requires a change in diet to a low sugar and low carbohydrate diet. Yeast feed off sugar, so eliminating sugar in all of its obvious and non-obvious forms is essential. Obvious forms of sugar include lollies and desserts, whereas non-obvious forms can be found in many processed foods including breakfast cereals, dried fruit and flavoured yoghurts. Always check packaged food for the sugar content! Better still, switch to a whole food diet that is rich in vegetables, protein and good fats and avoid processed food as much as possible. It is also important to reduce daily consumption of complex carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, grains, potatoes and fruit).
With a change in diet, it could take three to six months before the candida is back under control. If this sounds too long to bear, consider commencing an anti-candida supplement in conjunction with changes in the diet. When choosing an anti-candida supplement, look for a high quality anti-fungal treatment which is proven to work, such as extract from New Zealand’s native Horopito plant and a quality probiotic (to restore beneficial bacteria).
The festive season is awash with tempting sugar-laden treats. This year, do your health a favour and reach for something savoury instead of something sweet to help keep candida at bay.
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