Candida 101

By now I’m sure you’ve heard something about candida. Whether it is for health reasons or because it’s the trending new “cleanse”, more and more people are looking into candida and an anti-candida eating pattern. So let’s explore the facts a little further…CAndidaWhat is candida anyway? Candida albicans is a yeast that normally inhabits the gut in small amounts. It also inhabits other mucous membranes in the body such as the skin and mouth. Levels of Candida, as well as other resident fungi, are kept in check by the “good” or friendly bacteria in the gut, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. However, if the growth of Candida is not kept under control it can lead to an overgrowth known as candidiasis or Candida Related Complex. Candida most commonly presents itself as a vaginal infection, oral thrush, or diaper rash, but it may still exist without presenting itself in this way. If the immune system is compromised, the yeast proliferates and transforms into a harmful infection capable of causing disease that can severely compromise the immune system even further. The by-products released by Candida are then absorbed into the bloodstream and may travel to many areas of the body. As the immune system attempts to deal with these foreign molecules, it can lead to a variety of different symptoms and can be the underlying cause of many chronic and difficult to diagnose health problems.

While scientific evidence on candidiasis and its effects are quite prominent, the science is limited when it comes to determining what the best anti-Candida nutrition therapy is. Most successful eating plans have been based on clinical and anecdotal experience. Experts suggest that the goal of an anti-Candida plan is to starve the yeast by eliminating its main source of fuel – sugar. If you are already avoiding obvious sugar like soda, cupcakes, and cookies, this might sound quite simple right off the bat. However it is suggested that sugar in all forms be avoided, including naturally found sugars such as those in fruits and grains. Moreover, there are other suggested dietary approaches to prevent the proliferation of the yeast including the avoidance of individual food sensitivities, dairy, mushrooms, yeasts, and moldy foods such as peanuts, cashews, and pistachios.

A number of common symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, anxiety, joint pain, headaches, or brain fog can be associated with Candida overgrowth and likely to be alleviated after implementing a Candida-friendly eating pattern; although this is easier said than done! While cutting out obvious sugars from your eating pattern may be something you should probably be doing anyway to promote positive eating, further dietary restrictions to stay Candida-friendly are best done with the help of a nutrition expert. If you are dealing with candidiasis and would like to learn more, we encourage you to work with our nutrition and culinary experts to design a plan that is right for you!

Looking for a Candida-friendly dinner? Our Coconut Seafood Curry recipe contains coconut and garlic, both of which are powerful anti-fungal ingredients that can assist in eliminating Candida overgrowth. Check out the video below and the full recipe here.


Basilia Theofilou is a contributor on our blog as well as one of the nutrition advisors here at PreviMedica. You can read more about her here.
Resources:
Kim, Joon, and Peter Sudbery. “Candida Albicans, a Major Human Fungal Pathogen.” The Journal of Microbiology J Microbiol. 49.2 (2011): 171-77. Web. 21 Sept. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21538235
Kumamoto CA. Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Aug;14(4):386-91. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2011.07.015. Epub 2011 Jul 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 21802979; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3163673. Web. 21 Sept. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163673/
Truss, Orian. “Restoration of Immunologic Competence to Candida Albicans.” ORTHOMOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY 9 (1980): 287-301. Web. 21 Sept. 2016. http://4fnfl92psu9e3d280z3z4m8q-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/research/1980-v09n04-p287.pdf

 

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