What is Candida and How Does it Affect Your Health?

What is Candida and what does it have to do with natural health? The answers might surprise you, as the topic covers a wide range of health issues. In general, candida is the common name for the overproduction of yeast in the body. The impact of this condition depends on the individual, but can certainly play havoc on your lifestyle.

At its root, Candidiasis, as it is most often called, is very common in our bodies and is helpful in the right amounts for things like digestion and immune system functions. Most often, it lives in the warm crevices of the digestive tract, the throat and the mouth. It may also be found in the genital region of both men and women. Again, in small (normal) amounts, this is harmless and actually helpful.

What Causes Candida Infection?

A normally functioning immune system will most often limit the growth of the fungus, as will proper lifestyle choices like diet and exercise. This doesn’t preclude an infection, but in general these are significant factors. While there remains controversy in the clinical community about the nuances of candida, there is documentation to support the following causes:

  • Pregnancy

  • Use of vaginal douches

  • External application of certain detergents and creams

  • Certain orally administered contraceptives

  • Diets high in carbohydrates

  • Presence of existing auto-immune disease

  • Presence of diabetes

  • patients following surgery due to increased susceptibility

  • Chronic use of antibiotics has also been known to cause candida symptoms

Symptoms of Candida Infection

Historically, the thought of overproduction of this fungus was considered to be a minor issue and largely ignored by the medical community. We are now learning that when it is around in larger quantities it can manifest itself in unwanted ways. Signs and symptoms of chronic growth and buildup of these types of fungus are:

  • Vaginal yeast infections

  • Thrush, also known as oral thrush

  • Skin infections

  • Stomach/Abdominal pain

  • Leakey Gut syndrome (a complex and medically disputed condition)

There are also questionnaires related to these and other symptoms that a physician knowledgeable in Candidiasis would use. While the physical symptoms can widely vary depending on the type and the person usually, this fungus “buildup” is identified by a thin white film in the creases of your skin or on your tongue.

Treatments for Candida

As with most health concerns, being proactive with lifestyle choices and in illness prevention techniques remain the best advice. For fungus growth and illnesses, this means avoiding the factors that predispose you to the unwanted overgrowth. That said, there are a variety of ways to treat candida once acquired, including simply avoiding foods and drinks that feed the fungus further. We’ll now cover some of the more common natural health treatments:

Shockingly, the most common cause for candida is prolonged use of antibiotics, meaning that to treat candida, you need to avoid them and talk to your doctor about alternative treatments. We’ll leave the conversation about overuse of antibiotics for another day...

Try a Candida Cleanse and detoxification. Since the improper immune system function is often a co-factor in candida growth, a full detoxifying body cleanse is recommended.

Your diet is the most important factor in your management or treatment of fungus. The fungus is simply living off of what you feed it, so here are some candida diet tips:

Candida Diet Tips

Avoid: Sugar, including artificial sweeteners

Instead Use: limited amounts of honey and stevia root sweeteners

Avoid: Baked goods, cakes, and most breads, especially with wheat

Instead Use: Whole flour and Oat Bran

Avoid: Alcohol is a strong growth “food” for fungus overgrowth

Instead Use: Don’t drink at all. Sorry, no substitute here…

Avoid: Many nuts and legumes, like peanuts, walnuts, beans and peas

Instead Use: Lentils, almonds and soybean products, most varieties of brown rice

Avoid: Many grains like buckwheat, rye, and wheat.

Instead Use: Corn and tortillas

Avoid: Processed foods, which should always be avoided, but now in particular to avoid hidden sweeteners and grains

Instead Use: Organic, whole foods

Avoid: Meat products, as they often have antibiotics that were used at the farm

Instead Use: organic meats from a reputable farm

The ideal diet is to focus on high protein foods, while limiting your carb choices. High fiber as found in green, leafy vegetables is also a great option and staple during treatment. Clearly, this list is very limiting and even prohibitive. It is certainly a difficult plan to maintain, but is does not have to last forever. Many begin to see significant improvement within three weeks following a candida cleanse and by avoiding the above mentioned food items.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully we have cleared up any misconceptions about the topic and helped to educate you on effective treatments. I still would encourage you to see your doctor if the situation remains unresolved. Good luck, and remember that natural health starts with healthy lifestyle choices.

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