Candida is a fungus or type of yeast that is found in the human body, particularly in the gut, mouth, throat, skin and vagina. A small amount is beneficial, but an overgrowth of Candida can result in symptoms that mimic PMS, IBS, allergies, weakened immunity, mood and anxiety… to name a few.
Candida albicans, the most common of candida infections, is often one of those underlying gut health issues that is not always easily detected.
If you are feeling off, suffering with mood swings, irritability, food cravings, thyroid issues and struggling to lose weight, it may be worth having a look at your gut health, as it is integral to all aspects of your health. When it is out of kilter, you will feel it.
What affects your gut:
- Sugar – a big one!
- Processed and refined foods
- Lack of sleep
- Refined vegetable oils
- Non-organic fruits and vegetables sprayed with agrochemicals
- Commercial animal products fed GMO corn and filled with insulin growth factors and antibiotics
Testing for candida
Studies show that people with the following problems are more likely to get candida infections caused by overgrowth.
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic antibiotic use
- Diabetes or metabolic syndrome
- Weakened immune systems
- High levels of estrogen (oral contraceptives or estrogen replacements)
The Candida test is taken from your stool. A multiple-day collection provides a more complete look at your gut microbiome and can uncover fungal, bacterial, or parasitic overgrowth.
In addition, it is worth checking for Leaky Gut and make sure you don’t have SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) which can further complicate issues.
Natural recovery solutions
Keep it simple.
For three to six months you want to starve the yeast, remember this isn’t a fad diet, this is a therapeutic approach to dealing with a serious condition.
Always start with nutrition, it is the best way to control Candida and know that it thrives on sugar, this also means anything that converts to sugar. Be cautious with fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut – which can also feed candida.
What to eat
Remember, Candida eats what you eat so go for the following:
Eat all the greens in abundance, this will assist your detoxification as well as provide key nutrients and fibre as well as folate. I can’t emphasise how important this is. If your gut is compromised please be sure to lightly cook your veggies.
Good quality animal protein
Wild fish, eggs, grass-fed meat and organ meat. Avoid all industrial meats that are commercially farmed due to what they are fed.
Healthy fats – super important
Coconut oil, and avocado oil are all healing to the gut. A variety of saturated and monounsaturated fats have an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut lining, which provides a less hospitable environment for fungus. Coconut oil in particular is rich in caprylic acid, which has been shown to inhibit candida overgrowth.
Spices and herbs for gut health
Oregano, ginger and turmeric have antimicrobial effects.
These should become your sweet treats – have a few organic berries such as blueberries or raspberries They are filled with nutrients and are low in sugar.
One of the best foods for your gut, collagen helps rebuild a healthy gut lining and assists with inflammation. I love adding bone broth powder to my smoothie.
What not to eat
- Sugar – cut it out 100% it feeds candida
- Grains – easily convert to sugar
- Starchy vegetables
- Fruit (except berries and green apples)
- Sweeteners – stevia and monk fruit if you need it but ideally nothing as they can alter the balance in the gut flora.
- Alcohol is linked to leaky gut and can disrupt detoxification pathways.
- Dairy – if the cows are being fed GMO corn instead of grass and filled with hormones and antibiotics you consume this too – just skip it.
- Conventional coffee – can be high in mould, herbicides and pesticides, limit your caffeine intake to two a day and only choose high quality organic coffee beans.
Natural herbs & supplements
These are my recommended supplements and herbs. Research shows these can be effective for candida overgrowth.
- A bioactive curcumin supplement: I call curcumin ‘body armour’ as it is such a great supplement for reducing inflammation in the body in general. Researchers have found curcumin to have antifungal activity against various strains of Candida, including Candida albicans. Go for a supplement that is both gentle on the gut, and bioactive (meaning it will be better absorbed by the body). Natroceutics Curcumin Complete is a great option.
- Oregano oil is a potent antifungal agent thanks to high levels of thymol. Make a tincture by adding 3-6 drops to water, take this twice daily. I’m a big fan of Do Terra organic essential oils, otherwise SOIL Organics is a great supplement if shopping from South Africa.
- Caprylic acid – studies show that a 2011 study found that caprylic acid was effective at reducing symptoms in some Candida infections. And a 2019 study found that caprylic acid, along with other naturally derived antifungals, was effective at killing Candida albicans, the yeast that commonly causes yeast infections.
- Black tea – research shows that black tea polyphenols (catechins and theaflavins) showed anti-Candida activity against candida albicans.
Supporting studies for curcumin:
Curcumin especially is so effective due to its antifungal activity. Take a read through these studies for more: