It’s something many people have, but rarely talk about. In fact, candida overgrowth is more common than you probably realize – there are over 20 species of candida yeasts that can cause infections.
Candida is actually a fantastic thing in the body – in proper amounts. A healthy amount of this fungus will help out with digestion and nutrient absorption. But when it grows out of control, it can break down intestinal walls and get into your bloodstream. This toxic by-product can cause leaky gut and a whole host of health issues.
I’ve seen a number of candida overgrowth symptoms in my nutrition clinic, including:
- Gut issues: discomfort of the GI tract, bloating, gas
- Low energy
- Autoimmune conditions
- Skin issues
- Low mood
- Sugar cravings
- Itchy ears
- Unwanted weight gain
But there is something you can do about it! These are my top nutritional tips to kill candida:
Embrace a sugar free diet for 4-6 weeks, minimum. Candida thrives off sugar, so you have to starve the bug. This means eliminating junk food, soda, all sweeteners (even natural sweetners), dairy, healthy sweet treats and refined carbs, as well as cutting down your fruit intake to 2 fruits per day – berries are best. A great resource is the IQS program by Sarah Wilson. I also have loads of sugar free recipes in my latest book, The Healthy Life.
- Enjoy bitter foods like lemon, grapefruit, rocket and dandelion. These help fight off sweet cravings.
- Cut out alcohol for 4 weeks.
- Take beautiful cleansing herbs with guidance from a naturopath – oregano, garlic, Chinese wormwood and black walnut are really great at killing off candida.
- Use Saccharomyces boulardii probiotics, with guidance from a health practitioner, for 4-6 weeks.
- Eat fermented foods. I add fermented vegetables to my salad, which can be found at most health food stores.
- Add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to your water. It acts as an anti-microbial in the body. I love this product from NurtiBiotic, which can be found on iHerb.
After 4-6 weeks of being on a strict sugar free diet, notice if your digestive function seems better. Then slowly add more fruit into your diet, but stick to only wholegrain over white refined carbohydrates. It may also be best to consider sugar a treat, or choose healthy and natural sweetness such as stevia, rice malt syrup or maple syrup in limited amounts As for alcohol, it is my personal rule is to enjoy it only on the weekends. These tips will help keep candida growth in check so that you feel your best.