What Is Candida?

What Is Candida?

The large intestine (also referred to as the colon) is teeming with life. Over 400 microorganisms – including bacteria, mold, yeast, and fungus – live in the large intestine, feeding off the remains of your food. The more you feed them, the faster they spread. The microbial strains existing in your colon are a direct result of what you eat. Eating the same types of foods repeatedly, or taking broad spectrum antibiotics, causes certain strains to spread. Foods such as baked goods (sugar), cheese (mold), bread (sugar and yeast), mushrooms (fungus), and alcohol (sugar and yeast) feed those microorganisms that can create a condition called dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the ratio of healthy to unhealthy microorganisms.

Unfortunately, these little buggers can have a significant impact on the body. Many strains release gaseous by-products that can enter your bloodstream causing a variety of symptoms ranging from allergic reactions to eczema or worse. Candida is an umbrella term used to describe an overgrowth in the intestines of about 60 fungus-type organisms. These organisms develop a root system that give off toxic by-products that destroy the gut lining enabling the fungi to progress throughout the body.

Candida Self-Test:

  • Do you crave sugar?
  • Do you crave breads?
  • Do you crave alcoholic beverages?
  • Have you taken antibiotics over the past five years?
  • At any time in your life, have you been troubled by vaginal itching, discharge, yeast infections or vaginitis?
  • Are you taking birth control pills?
  • Have you taken prednisone or other cortisone-type drugs recently?
  • Does exposure to perfumes, cigarette smoke, paint fumes, fabric shop odors and other chemicals provoke any unusual symptoms?
  • Are your symptoms worse on damp, muggy days or in moldy places?
  • Have you had persistent athlete's foot, "jock itch", or other chronic fungous infections of the skin or nails?

Not all intestinal microorganisms are dangerous. In fact, our goal is for most of our microflora to be of the beneficial varieties. Those with flourishing intestinal colonies of healthy intestinal bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria. These healthy microflora protect the immune system by reinforcing the protective barrier of the intestinal mucosa helping to prevent the entry of pathogenic microorganisms into the blood. Getting intestinal microflora under control requires a drastic change in diet and a strict detoxification protocol. A three-pronged approach works best to destroy and remove candida, and to repopulate the intestines with healthy bacteria. For best results, the cleanse should last a minimum of six weeks.

Diet: Candida feed off sugars, starches and yeast. Starve the unhealthy microbes by avoiding:

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  • simple sugars and starches (sweets; all forms of sugar except for honey; bread—unless it’s yeast-free bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, baked goods)
  • yeast (bread, baked goods, beer, wine), mold (cheese, leftovers), fungi (mushrooms);
  • nutritional supplements containing sugar and/or yeast
  • cigarettes (contain yeast and sugar)
  • limit your fruit consumption to a maximum of two per day, avoiding tropical and starchy fruit such as bananas.

Supplements:  Many supplements are effective against candida. Some of the most commonly used include:

  • Oil of oregano [Naturally Savvy's sponsor North American Herb & Spice makes an excellent oil of oregano product in both liquid and capsule form.]
  • Garlic both raw and in supplement form (sugar/yeast-free)
  • Caprylic acid (an oil; take in any form)
  • Grapefruit seed extract – a local kill; take 2-6 times/day
  • Pau D’arco (tea)

Remove unhealthy microbes and keep the colon clean by drinking at least two liters of pure water daily and using a fiber source, such as psyllium hulls or oat bran. Aim for two to three bowel movements daily.

Encourage the growth of healthy and protective bowel bacteria by maintaining a regular regular intake of probiotics, primarily the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, as well as prebiotics. Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics and are defined as live microorganisms. Probiotic bacteria favorably alter the intestinal microbial balance, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection. BioK+ (one of Naturally Savvy's sponsors) is an excellent probiotic supplement. Organic plain yogurt and kefir also provide healthy bacteria, as do fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and chutneys).

Additional Tips:

  • Chew all of your food carefully. Undigested food is fodder for candida.
  • Juicing vegetables provides enzymes that promote good digestion, keeping unhealthy microbes at bay.
  • Follow the proper rules of food combining, keeping meals simple with vegetables and protein and avoiding starches as much as possible.
  • Eat mainly organic vegetables, fruit and antibiotic-free meat and fish.

Image via martinak15

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Lisa has been in her own practice for over 15 years and specializes in weight management. She teaches natural nutrition in both corporate and educational environments and is a shining example of someone who practices what she teaches. Lisa is a nutritionist and educator specializing in weight management. After losing weight several years ago through a more natural diet and by improving her digestion, she committed to sharing her new-found knowledge and returned to school to study nutrition. Over the past decade, her Nu-Vitality Weight Program has helped employees at numerous corporations lose thousands of pounds. In addition, Lisa regularly consults for groups and individuals with unique nutritional needs such as police officers and athletes. Lisa has been featured on the Discovery Channel, numerous radio programs and is a contributor to various publications. Additionally, she teaches nutrition at multiple post-secondary schools, has taught natural food cooking workshops, and authored two books.