The idea that diet is linked to health is becoming mainstream knowledge. Many illnesses are being linked to the food we eat. Candida is yet another medical condition that can often be resolved simply by changing certain eating habits - mainly by reducing intake of carbohydrates.
Candida is the medical term for a microorganism found naturally in the body. The trouble starts when the candida begins multiplying out of control, causing a yeast infection that can be localized to certain parts of the body (commonly the gut, the mouth and the genitals) or the infection could cause systemic problems. This overgrowth and infection is known as Candidiasis, but is often referred to simply as "Candida."
The most common symptoms of Candida are sugar and carbohydrate cravings, fatigue after eating, recurring fungal infections, jock itch, vaginal infections, depression, mood swings and an overall "foggy" mental feeling. In chronic Candida cases, these symptoms can turn even more serious, such as acute kidney infections, insomnia, blurred vision, memory loss, extreme premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and increased food allergies.
Unfortunately, many of these medical symptoms are mis-diagnosed and treated with medication that can actually make candida worse. The truth is there are many cases when natural Candida treatments can solve a number of these problems by simply and naturally regulating the amount of Candida in the body.
There are many causes for candida overgrowth, but now this problem is being linked directly to the standard American diet - one that is high in carbohydrates. Candida feeds off sugar, and once eaten all carbohydrates - even whole grains - are eventually broken down into glucose, a simple sugar. Excess sugar in the body gives Candida a food source that allows it to grow by leaps and bounds - causing many of the undesirable symptoms previously mentioned.
Dr. Janet Hull sites diet as one of the most important means of preventing and overcoming Candida infections. She suggests avoiding or at least limiting primary dietary causes of Candida: refined sugars, wheat, milk and cheese, alcohol, honey, mushrooms and white vinegar. Once Candida is under control you can often bring some of these foods back into your diet as an occasional indulgence, but they should not be overeaten.
In addition to diet changes, Dr. Mark Pellegrino also suggests a daily regimen of probiotics and prebiotics, such as acidophilous. These prevent Candida buildup in the gut by promoting healthy intestinal bacteria. Taking these supplements is especially important if you are taking thyroid medication or antibiotics.
Be aware there is a common reaction to eliminating excess yeast called Herxheimer's reaction. This occurs when the kidneys and liver can't process the amount of Candida dying off all at once. The symptoms of Herxheimer's include an aching head and body, chills, dizziness and fatigue. All of these symptoms subside after a few days when you're treating Candida. Die-off symptoms can also be lessened by making lifestyle changes more slowly.References:
Allen, Linda. (2008) Candida Diet: The Confidential Truth About Diet Solutions.
The American Chronicle
Hull, Janet Hull. (2008) A Love Story - Candida Loves Sugar. [link
Pellegrino, Mark J. (2006) Candidiasis - Yeast Infection and Nutritional Repair. [link