Unless you have had your head in the sand during the last year then you have heard of Candida. While the word is hard to pronounce understanding and facts around this naturally occurring yeast in our bodies seems to be even more difficult to sort through. So lets chat on the basics of figuring out what candida is, checking for it, and ultimately fixing and healing you gut if you have an overgrowth.
First off, what is Candida? Candida is an pathogenic yeast that is a part of our gut flora. It is just one of the trillions of microbes in the human body. Our cells are out numbered 10 to 1 with microbes. Which is a good thing. These little bacteria help keep our body in balance and report back to other organs in our body. For instance, the microbes in our stomach report back to the brain on how our stomach is doing and what it needs.
Microbes are in every part of your body and are essential for our bodies function. But they are easily destroyed by modern medicine that helps heal us from infection. Its a double edge sword when the medicine kills the bad bacteria making us sick, at the same time it wipes out ALL the good bacteria in our body.
That’s right, studies have been showing that one round of antibiotics can kill of ALL the good bacteria in your body. So by time you are a teenager and have been sick multiple times you have most likely killed off all the good bacteria in your body.
That leaves the bad microbes who feed on sugar, carbs, fats etc. When they are over populated and in control of your digestive system they report back to your brain that they need more of those types of food to feed themselves, and that they are still hungry. They can lock you in a holding pattern of cravings that are hard to break, as they are sending hard wired signals to your brain.
When the good bacteria, or microbes, in your body are wiped out, the bad ones flourish. The most commonly known microbe being Candida. This yeast microbe flourishes in our digestive system and lives off sugar. Not just the typical candy but also sugar from breads and pastas that are not converted to energy, soda, dairy, and fruit.
Here are some common symptoms of the yeast Candida overgrowth:
Cravings for sweets
White coat on tongue
Loss of sex drive
Chronic sinus and allergy issues
Digestive problems (gas and bloating)
Weak immune system
Many theories say that the reason Candida overgrowth can cause these symptoms is because an overgrowth usually leads to a “leaky gut”. I bet you have heard that term being thrown around as well. This phrase is new to the medical world, has no clinical studies, and has a lot of controversy. Leaky gut refers to damage done to your digestive system that allows food and items being digested into your body and blood stream. Then your body identifies these items as toxins and your immune system works to remove them. If you have an auto-immune disease (hi hashimotos!) then this can raise your immune system response and increase the issues and symptoms that go along with the auto immune disease. That’s why many people tie a leaky gut and poor diet to effecting auto immune related disease. Dr. Axe has a great article explaining this in further detail, and well he is a doctor while I am not, so I will let him explain it.
The common causes of Candida overgrowth are the use of antibiotics, stress and a poor diet. Candida is a yeast and feeds off sugar and we all know the common diet today is full of unneeded sugar. Recommended serving size of sugar is 6 teaspoons for an adult, yet most adults are consuming 2-3 times more then that daily. Sugar goes by many names and is naturally in food that is good for you. So being mindful of the sources you are getting your sugar from and your overall intake is essential for maintaining a healthy gut. Use this reference below to check your food for added sugar.
The safest bet to keep unwanted sugar out of your diet is to eat real food, aka the food on the perimeter of the grocery store. The food that doesn’t come in a box or a can. But we all know that is not a reality for most of us in our busy lives. So try to be mindful and check your purchased food prior for sneaky sugar.
When you start the journey to get rid of the candida overgrowth and put your good microbes back into balance, eating a healthy diet full of real food is essential. The only tricky part is that for the first few months of the journey being mindful of what healthy food you are eating is important. Not all healthy food is created equal. You will need the healthy food that is low in sugar or properties that turn to sugar with in our digestive system.
Eliminating food that Candida feeds off will allow it to die off and your body to become balanced again. I have done some research and put together a list of food that is considered “good” and some food items that are “bad”. Basically some food wont fuel the growth of candida : “good food”. Others fuel the growth of Candida due to their components and how the body breaks them down “bad food”.
Incorporate these food into your diet for a few weeks or month until your symptoms subside and you feel better. Then you can test foods back into the routine and pay attention to any that aggravate the symptoms you had been feeling as those may be trigger foods for you. Otherwise you can go back to a real food (key word being real) diet and include all the healthy food you like.
I am sure you have heard of a probiotic before, but have you heard of a prebiotic?
Probiotics are great and are the leading supplement offered to help get your microbes or good bacteria back in balance. Probiotics are good bacteria, but they are not your bacteria. They are a supplement that enters your system and helps out for awhile and leaves. They are an important part of the process, but they have not been shown to increase the amount of good microbe or good bacteria naturally produced by your body.
Which is why brilliant doctors have come up with the Prebiotic. This is actually designed to feed your good microbes or good bacteria. Encouraging your good bacteria to flourish and grow and get back to doing its job in your body.
Taking a probiotic and prebiotic regularly will help your system keep the gut flora in balance, there are so many on the market you can pick your favorite and do your own research as to which one is best for you. This is an ESSENTIAL step in this process. Not only will you be stopping the fuel to the bad microbes or bacteria in your body but you will be fueling the good bacteria to regain its position with in your digestive tract and body.
Click here to get the free Eliminate Candida Overgrowth Food List download.
Do these symptoms hit home for you?