Last month I covered what Candida is and how you can self-test at home to see if you have an overgrowth. If you tested positive for a Candida overgrowth in your body you’ll be experiencing unpleasant symptoms such as sugar cravings, frequent bloating and gas, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, frequent urinary tract infections, yeast infections, feeling moody & irritable, itchy skin, poor immune health, poor energy and bad breath. In this post I’ll help you with ways to treat this, and improve your quality of life, through dietary changes and supplements.
How do you beat it?
You can effectively starve candida by cutting out its main food supply. This means no sugar or starchy vegetables for some time. The weakened fungus can then be killed off with anti-fungal herbs while replenishing the good bacteria in your gut with probiotics.
The Candida diet site gives you a list of foods you can eat while starving the candida. It’s basically a healthy, fresh diet full of good foods but which avoids dietary sugar, including fruit in the early stages. Sugar is a major cause of candida overgrowth as the fungus feeds and grows on sugar. You’ll need to follow this diet for a minimum of three weeks – and in some cases several months – depending on how you feel and the reaction you will have. For info on which foods to avoid on the Candida diet have a look here.
When you starve candida of sugar, you’ll experience “die-off” which may be more or less intense depending on how bad your overgrowth is (see below). When all of your signs and symptoms have cleared do another spit test to be 100 % sure that your Candida overgrowth has cleared.
Along with the Candida diet, it will be helpful to take anti-fungal herbs at the same time to kill off excess candida. Oregano oil, allicin, pau d’arco and reishi all have antifungal properties and will help you clear your candida faster. Please talk to me or another herbal practitioner to help you find the right kind of program, herbs and probiotics to cure your Candida overgrowth.
If you have a significant candida overgrowth be aware that as the fungal infection ‘dies off’ there can be a release of toxins from the dead organisms. These can make you feel worse in the early stages of the treatment but this is a sign of you getting better. You can talk to me or another practitioner about some additional supplements you could take like caprylic acid, colloidal silver, aloe vera juice or pau d’arco tea which will help you get through this stage.
Make liberal use of spices and herbs as they have antifungal properties. Here is a list of some of my favourites (scroll down to herbs and spices). These herbs can also improve circulation, reduce inflammation and make your food more interesting and tasty when you are on a candida diet. Coconut oil also has anti-fungal properties. It’s recommended to eat 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil per day when on the Candida diet. But it is beneficial for everyone even when not being on the Candida diet.
Probiotic supplements and live yoghurt cultures can help to speed up the repopulation of the good bacteria in your intestines, helping you get back to normal gut activity faster, and to maintain well balanced gut health in the future. Find more information on probiotics here.
Candida overgrowth is an unpleasant condition but can be treated successfully; you just need to be willing to adjust your diet and prepared to be patient as it can take a while. If you have further questions, read this blog post by Eric Bakker, a New Zealander and a Candida expert link, as it will answer many of your candida questions.