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Dietary Changes & Supplements for Removal of Candida Overgrowth, Part II

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If you think you might have a candida or yeast overgrowth problem, today’s discussion is a continuation of how to take control of this issue in your body and regain health. In Part I last week, I gave an introduction of how candida overgrowth starts in the digestive tract and immune system, and if left unchecked due to poor dietary and lifestyle habits (including eating processed foods) can invade other organ systems and cause many different health issues.

Today I will offer suggestions about which foods should be avoided to reduce and eliminate unhealthy yeast overgrowth, as well as which foods are essential to rebuilding your digestion and immune system function to support your entire body in the healing process. I will also talk about the critical nature of probiotics or friendly bacteria in helping you to regain health, useful supplements that can aid in yeast removal, and how long you can expect to maintain this type of protocol for optimal results.

Is there a special diet I should follow if I have candida yeast overgrowth?

Yes. To control candida, a specific diet is very important. Various factors can cause candida overgrowth to worsen.  The primary food source for candida yeast is sugar.

Therefore, to successfully eliminate yeast from the body, it is critical to avoid sugar:

  • Table sugar
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Maple syrup
  • Foods containing corn
  • Corn syrup
  • Candy and desserts
  • Soft drinks
  • Some fruits
  • Dairy (with the exception of raw dairy kefir and yogurt for beneficial bacteria – see probiotics below)
  • Foods containing yeast
  • Grains and foods containing flour
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pasta

It is also important to restrict consumption of any refined carbohydrate food such as grains, bread, pasta, cereal,and foods containing flour. All of these feed yeast. In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride says raw honey is acceptable to use in small amounts on a detoxification protocol.

Milk and dairy products:
Restricting the consumption of milk and dairy products is important because:

  • High-lactose content present in milk encourages the growth of Candida
  • Milk is a common food allergens
  • Many dairy products contain antibiotics, which can also encourage yeast overgrowth by destroying beneficial bacteria

If you are a raw milk drinker, there are exceptions (see below) for eating foods that have naturally-occurring probiotic activity such as yogurt and kefir (and also cultured vegetables). As you progress in your yeast-removal protocol, some people can tolerate milk and cheese as well, but this can take some time and is very individual, depending on the person. For more information about how you can incorporate milk into your diet with a yeast-removing protocol, read Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Mold and yeast containing foods
Those with chronic candidiasis need to avoid consuming foods with high mold or yeast. This would include alcoholic beverages, cheeses, dried fruits, mushrooms, vinegar, nutritional yeast, and peanuts.

Soy

Avoid all types of soy – even fermented such as miso, natto, or tempeh. When you have regained control of the yeast in your body, fermented soy is acceptable to eat again.

Legumes, starchy vegetables and other foods

Avoid potatoes, beetroots, squash, and carrots. Beans should be eaten in moderation but should be soaked overnight in filtered water and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Rice should be limited and be certain to use sprouted or germinated rice.

Coffee and tea

Coffee should be avoided due to the problems it creates for the liver, adrenal glands, and acidity it causes in the stomach. Black and green teas should be avoided due to their possible mold content.

Acceptable foods on the candida or yeast removal diet

  • Fresh meats, poultry, duck, game meats and fowl, eggs, and lamb or mutton from organic and grass-fed or pasture-raised sources, and safe-sourced fish are staples of this diet.  Home-made broths from meats, poultry, and fish are also healthy to consume. Avoid processed meats from factory farms with antibiotics, hormones, pesticide residues, and other chemicals added to preserve or alter flavor.
  • Most organic vegetables and some fruits are also acceptable. There is much debate about which fruits are okay to eat, and generally speaking it is a good idea to avoid eating too much fruit due to its sugar content. Some fruits are worse than others, however, such as melon (which contains mold and should be avoided), bananas, and any type of dried fruit. Occasional fruits such as citrus, apples, and berries are fine.
  • Healthy oils and fats are also important such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter and cream, and lard and tallow from healthy animals on pasture.
  • If you are going to consume nuts or seeds, do so only occasionally and make sure they are raw and then soaked or sprouted. Almonds, Brazil, cashews, hazel, Macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, poppy, pumpkin, sesame (tahini), and sunflower are all fine in moderation.
  • Herbs and spices – fresh garlic and onion (natural anti-fungals), ginger pepper, herbs or dried herbs from clean sources, sea salt or Himalayan salt, and raw apple cider vinegar (use in moderation).

The importance of probiotics (friendly bacteria) in eliminating yeast overgrowth:

The small intestine, which is the main organ responsible for absorption of the food you eat, can become damaged when certain foods and in particular, processed foods, are eaten.

Two examples of foods that irritate and cause damage to the intestinal tract are gluten-containing foods (from wheat), and casein from dairy. This is especially true of processed varieties of these substances such as from most grain products bought in the grocery and even health food stores and pasteurized dairy products which contain hormones and antibiotics. These substances can actually cause a shortening and flattening of  intestinal villi – small, fingerlike projections which increase intestinal surface area to allow for absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat.

Eventually, substances which continue to irritate the lining of the intestinal wall can create holes in the intestines, allowing undigested foods and particles to penetrate the wall and enter the bloodstream. Undigested foods cause the immune system to go on alert and create an auto-immune reaction, or “super” reaction that becomes chronic with each successive meal eaten. When the immune system continually remains on high alert, it weakens its ability to protect your body from disease and illness. It also lowers the amount of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract – another important defense mechanism against inflammation and disease.

Penetration by foreign, undigested substances can cause other health issues besides candida.  This process can either be a primary cause of the following symptoms: excessive gas and cramps, abdominal bloating, fatigue, food sensitivities and allergies, joint pain, skin rashes, and auto-immunity disorders such as MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, or diabetes. This can lead to or make the following conditions worse: leaky gut (substances penetrating into the bloodstream), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s Disease, and diverticulitis (abnormal pouches in the colon).

So it should go without saying that the presence of friendly or beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract are absolutely essential to good health – whether you are in the process of eliminating yeast overgrowth or not. 85 percent of the immune system is actually located in the digestive tract itself, which makes maintenance of these two systems inseparable. Lactobacillus and bifidus are two important bacteria that should always be included in your diet or supplement regimen.

Candida overgrowth always starts in the digestive tract because it’s the food you consume which will cause yeast to grow in the first place (grains, sugar, carbohydrates, processed foods, etc).  When yeast grows to an unhealthy level, it goes beyond the digestive tract and invades other body systems and organs. This invasion will adversely effect all organ systems it reaches, causing many of the symptoms commonly associated with yeast overgrowth in the body (see How do I know if I have candida overgrowth?).

Here are two excellent sources of probiotics to keep your digestion and immune system strong:

1) Consume yogurt and kefir, preferably made from raw milk from healthy cows on pasture. Commercial products are not recommended as the processing and pasteurization kills beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes and denatures proteins and fats.   Try combining plain yogurt with fresh berries, apples or applesauce for a more “naturally” sweetened snack. If you consume raw milk, you can make your own yogurt at home, which contains even more numbers and strains of beneficial bacteria. Diversity in bacteria is essential to digestive and immune function, and you will definitely find more diversity in bacteria in dairy products from a raw dairy source.

2) Supplement with a high quality probiotic such as Prescript-Assist, Biotics Research, or BioKult.  Avoid probiotics from supermarket chains, drug stores, and even health food stores. These products generally don’t contain the bacteria count claimed on the label, are often not standardized, and are not therapeutic grade like professional lines of probiotics mentioned above. For more information about the importance of quality probiotics, read All Probiotics Are NOT Created Equal.

Other foods especially helpful to candida yeast removal

  • Garlic – raw is best, and cooked is next best
  • If you are not already taking fermented cod liver oil, now might be a good time to start taking it. Fermented cod liver oil is a great source of Vitamins A & D (as well as Omega 3 essential fatty acids) which help support your immune system function. I recommend Green Pasture Products Blue Ice Royal Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Combination because it is one of the most potent and natural forms of Vitamin D available.

What else do I need to take for candida overgrowth?

 

Depending on the severity of your yeast problem, although not mandatory, it can be useful to use good, natural supplements which help facilitate the removal of unwanted overgrowth.  It is usually also a good idea to rotate these products every week or so because yeast, not unlike bacteria, will mutate to survive and become accustomed to the environment in which they live. They learn to adapt to ensure survival. If you change the diversity of the environment frequently and make it unfriendly for them, they are less likely to survive. By strengthening your body and immune system and providing a diversity of bacteria, you can win the battle.

If you choose not to use supplements, strict adherence to the diet outlined in previous sections is very important as a means to eliminate the candida overgrowth causing your symptoms. Because yeast overgrowth is an insidious problem, it is often necessary to employ every safe and useful means possible to ensure its removal, which is why I have mentioned the supplements here at all. In general, you should be getting most of your nutrients from real food. With that said, I don’t recommend supplements as a replacement for a good diet including healthy, traditional foods free from chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics.

My recommendations for candida yeast control supplements are as follows:

 

Candaclear Four by Pharmax. Candaclear Four is unique in combining four supplements, with different but synergistic effects in the regulation of intestinal and/or systemic candida yeast populations, into one single product. It can also be used for vaginal yeast when coupled with Yeast Arrest suppositories.”  Including ingredients like garlic, cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon bark powder, magnesium and calcium caprylate, and various strains of beneficial bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifium.

 

L-Glutamine by Designs for Health. “L-Glutamine is an amino acid, which is essential for the health of the immune system and digestive tract. It is very reparative and healing in the gut where it strengthens the mucosal cells and in turn helps leaky gut, sugar cravings, and irritable bowel (IBS). Glutamine also helps promote optimal muscle growth and strength and has shown to be particularly useful in helping prevent muscle wasting in people on cancer and HIV treatments.”

A.D.P. - by Biotics Research, oregano standardized extract in a sustained release for maximum effectiveness. Oregano is extremely potent against yeast, bacteria, and other unwanted organisms to maximize intestinal health and well-being.

Caprin by Biotics Research  this product can be purchased online through a variety of sources, or through a qualified health care professional.

Rotate these products on a weekly basis for 4- 6 weeks. You can then start the rotation over again.

Fiber - you should take a good fiber supplement daily such as Colon Plus by Biotics Research to help clean out any removal of candida from the organs and tissues which comes into the intestinal tract, and prevent it from becoming reabsorbed. Colon Plus is safe and natural and includes aloe vera, celery, bromelain, flax seed, peppermint, apple pectin, prune, psyllium powder, anise, and lactobacillus acidophilus. My family and I have taken this product for over 5 years with great results.

Note: I definitely don’t recommend that you take fiber long term unless you have a compromised digestive system issue such as a missing gallbladder or appendix (like me), or use mainstream fiber or laxative products like Metamucil or some equivalent. Also, know that most so-called “high-fiber” foods including grains and vegetables that are not properly prepared are damaging to the gut and intestinal systems and can cause more damage over time than good. Learn more about one of the biggest lies we’ve been told by the health industry about intestinal and colon health from Fiber Menace.

Digestive enzymes are also important, to ensure adequate absorption of the foods you eat. When you have a candida overgrowth, much of your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from foods you eat has become compromised, so you need all the help you can get to make sure you are getting the benefit from a healthy diet to help your body recover from yeast overgrowth. Try the following products for digestive enzyme support: Loomis Enymes (you will need an experienced practitioner to recommend the right kind for you, there’s an entire line of these products for different needs), Plant Digestive Enzyme Formula caps or Digestzymes by Designs for Health, and Plant Enzymes from Enriching Gifts.

Sleep and stress relief for candida yeast control

It is important to keep regular and sustained habits of sleep nightly, rest or breaks from daily activity, and stress reduction and movement daily in order to allow your body to remove candida. The body regenerates and restores itself at night, and stress can definitely add to candida overgrowth. So regular sleep, rest, movement, and relief from stress is very important to allow your body to remove yeast effectively. Try to obtain at least 7 hours of sleep or more when you are doing  any type of detoxification protocol, including candida cleansing. Some people need more sleep than this, so listen to your body. Rest helps keep the immune system functioning well, which can aid your body’s ability in elimination of toxins and yeast.

Find an activity you enjoy that is stress-relieving and gets circulation going – yoga, tai chi, meditation/stress-reduction classes that have a CD or mp3 you can listen to on a daily basis, stretching, walking, or some other moderate exercise you enjoy and can participate in regularly are all good choices.

How long will I have to stay on the candida diet?

That depends on a couple of factors – how severe your candida overgrowth problem is, and how well you adhere to your diet/supplementation protocol. Although some people take on candida removal independently with success, it can be useful (again, depending on your individual health condition) to enlist the expertise of a health care professional who is knowledgeable about candida – especially if you have an acute or chronic problem that has gone on for some period of time. Most candida overgrowth does not happen overnight, and in fact develops over many years of poor dietary and lifestyle habits.

The answer about how long you will have to remain on an anti-yeast diet will depend solely on you and your body. For some people, it’s when there is a noticeable absence of symptoms. For others, it’s when they receive a test from their practitioner which says their body is free from the overgrowth. These tests can be conducted in several different ways – muscle-testing, saliva testing, or stool testing.

Here’s how to do a saliva test - as soon as you awaken and before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth -get a clear glass and fill with water. Build up saliva in your mouth, and then spit the collection into the glass of water. Check the water in about 2-3 minutes, then every  15 minutes for up to about an hour. If you have a candida overgrowth, there will be visible “strings” almost like cloudy legs, extending down into the water from saliva floating on the top, or “cloudy” saliva will sink to the bottom of the glass, or cloudy specks will seem to be suspended in the water. If there are no strings, the water is as clear as it was before you spit in the glass and the saliva is still floating after at least one hour, you are probably candida yeast free. The more strings and cloudiness there is and the faster it develops, the greater the overgrowth.

My experience with candida removal took almost two year’s time.  It can be different for everyone. For most people – a problem serious enough to warrant a candida cleansing program – should count on about a year’s time.  Even to this day, I still avoid many of the things that would cause my body to regain a yeast overgrowth.  After you have had yeast overgrowth in the body, you will be  vulnerable to yeast overgrowth in the future unless you take care to manage your diet and keep foods out of your daily intake that would contribute to this problem occurring again.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, another very effective protocol for healing your gut and removing candida overgrowth and yeast issues is the GAPS protocol by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride.

Want more information about detoxification?
How cleansing positively affects your health
It’s time for a fall detox!
My liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse experience

This post is part of The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Carnival.

Healthy Living Real Food

The Healing Power Of Whole Foods

Have you ever stopped to consider the nutritional content of the foods you eat? This article will challenge you to think outside of what conventional notions have taught us about nutrition and eating – and especially regarding what we learn from when we are young and attending school. It argues that what medical doctors and many “nutritionists” convey to their patients and clients might not be as wise as once believed, and that what the FDA tells us to eat from the Food Pyramid actually causes and exacerbates some of our most serious health issues.

Whole Grains

According to the traditional Food Pyramid, grains are still at the top of the list. But the important thing to remember about grains is that in order to be a whole, nutritional food, they must actually be “whole”. In other words, they must be processed as minimally as possible in order to count as a whole grain food. This does not include foods like crackers, nearly any cold cereals, buns, granola bars, cereal bars, bagels, croissants, most pastas and breads, and rolls. The reason why is that these foods have been ground up into flour and then changed into something different other than the original state of the grain. It is technically no longer a whole food. If you read the label on these items, you will see the words “whole grains”. But, if you turn the package over and read the ingredients list, you will see at the top of the list some kind of flour – either enriched or “whole grain” flour, which is not really a “whole grain”. Because these products are ground into flour, the process by which preservation and congealment of the food occurs involves the addition of chemicals, and preservatives – along with enriched vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that do not naturally occur in the food. What is left is something that scarcely resembles real food, but a chemical facsimile. Preservatives and chemicals added to these foods improve their shelf life in the store, but they are added to our bodies’ store of toxic substances and overload our elimination and detoxifying organ systems to the point where they are no longer able to function properly. Finally, processed foods have been prepared in such a way that the naturally occurring vital nutrients, minerals, and vitamins essential for good health are destroyed. What remains is a food that is nutritionally void and full of things we simply don’t need and are detrimental to our health.The FDA and common nutritional rhetoric neither acknowledges these facts nor educates the consumer to eat whole, natural grains. Instead they continue to recommend the consumption of crackers, pasta, and bread that are not whole foods.

The FDA recommends that only half of your grain allowance be whole each day. Why not all whole grains? These are the things that children are taught in school about how to maintain their diets and eating habits; regimens that will potentially be set in for life. What is this saying about our current state of health and the future? When so much of the food supply and selection that is available is processed foods, we really must address the question about what affect this has on our overall health.

The best type of whole grains to consume include the following: sprouted grain breads, whole grains (such as oats, barley, millet, quinoa, teff, buckwheat, and amaranth) from the bulk bin of your grocery store, brown rice, wild rice, basmati, and some selected white rices in moderation such as jasmine or rose. These grains should be cooked, as consumption of uncooked grains is toxic to the human body. Preparation of hot cereals and fresh-made breads is easier than you think. Try this web site for a good recipe for whole grain bread. It is also advisable to check into purchasing a home grain grinder. Visit Walton Feed for a comparison of grain grinders.

Dairy Products

Milk products are another food type that has been altered considerably from its natural state. Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream, cream cheese must go through homogenization and pasteurization in order to be acceptable for public sale. People in first-world, industrial societies consume more dairy products than any other in the world. These nations also have the highest levels of heart disease, cancer, Diabetes, and osteoporosis. What is the connection? Dairy products are processed in such a way that they are heated up to destroy harmful bacteria. What also occurs is that beneficial enzymes, proteins, and other elements are damaged as well. When the body tries to absorb these foods, they are unrecognizable and are stored in the body as fat. This storage causes a build-up of foreign substances or toxins that harm your body, leading to health problems such as high cholesterol, heart disease, and other issues.

If you are going to consume dairy products, do so in moderation. Always purchase organic, whole-fat selections. Raw dairy products are superior if you can find them. Check with your local natural food stores for more information, as some merchants carry items such as raw cheese and milk. Another option is to inquire with local dairy farmers. Contrary to popular belief, dairy products are not a good source of calcium due to the alteration in nutrients and the inability of the body to absorb the food. Good sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables, almonds, fish, beans, and some fruits. Here is a list of calcium-containing foods.

Fruits and Vegetables

Best choices for produce are always organic, pesticide and herbicide-free. Often, your local produce merchants can provide some of the best selection in fruits and vegetables. Eating local is better because you know the produce has not traveled great distances to make it to the store shelf and been exposed to chemicals or bacteria along the way (such as in contaminants from air or truck travel).

Meat, Poultry, and Fish

Meat should be non-factory farmed (watch for publicly traded brands, and even some local brands use these processes), fresh and free of chemicals, nitrates, hormones, and antibiotics. Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and other farm meats should be grass-fed and pasture-raised (not corn, soy, or grain-fed). Factory farms use practices that would turn your stomach and if you knew what animals endure on the premises of these facilities and the type of things processed into their meat, you would never consume it again. To learn more, visit The Meatrix.

Fish should be wild-caught (not farmed), and fresh. Although wild-caught fish are constantly exposed to mercury that is being found in higher amounts in the oceans, they also contain higher amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Like corn and grain-fed cattle, farmed varieties of fish contain unnaturally high amounts of omega 6 acids – an essential fatty acid that is being added to many processed products sold in food stores and can contribute to disease when consumed in larger than moderate amounts. Farmed fish are also bound to contain heavy amounts of antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals than their wild counterparts. For more information about the benefits of the wild-caught variety, visit The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Nuts and Seeds

Many people are returning to eating raw nuts and seeds as snacks and as supplements to their diets for good sources of protein, fat, and essential fatty acids. Unfortunately in modern society, the tendency to include an over amount of these foods in so many products has contributed to a state of poor health in the form of allergenic reactions and other health problems. Peanuts are actually one of the most non-nutritional and health problem-inducing varieties to be found. The best nuts and seeds to consume in moderation include almonds, filberts, pine nuts, walnuts, chestnuts, flax and sesame seeds. Try sprinkling these over hot cereals and salads, or even casseroles. Always choose the raw variety over any other as many processes such as oiling, salting, or roasting can be harmful to the nut and your health. Sprouting nuts is a great way to get the nut in its most nutritious and flavorful state. For more information about this process, visit the Chet Day web site.

Healthy Fats and Oils

Our repertoire of fats and oils over the years has changed dramatically as nutrition guides have altered in their advice about what oils and fats are most beneficial for consumption. We’ve been told to eat margarine over butter, low-fat over whole fat foods, and the rhetoric has shifted back and forth. It is positively confusing to the consumer. Anything in its whole form is always the best choice. Organic whole butter and cream (not low or nonfat) are healthy fats to consume, if done so in moderation. Raw forms of these foods are even better if you can find them. These are always preferable to margarines and other artificially produced butter alternatives or hydrogenated/trans fats.

Cold-pressed oils are superior to those processed with chemical solvents such as hexane (always thoroughly read labels). Do not cook oils such as olive on high as this can potentially destroy healthful properties of these selections. Butter and coconut oil are excellent for high heat cooking as they are much more stable and contain important essential fatty acids. Never cook polyunsaturated fats such as flaxseed or fish oils. They have low smoking points and become nutritionally compromised when heated. Store all oils and fats in your refrigerator to keep them from becoming rancid. Rancidity of oils from being left out, chemical processes, and overheating render oil to a condition where its healthful properties are destroyed as well as contributing to the development of free radicals in the body which make disease and illness occur.

Juices

The type of juices sold at most grocery stores is highly processed and void of nearly any nutritional value. Most juices should be avoided. Even labels that read “100% juice” are not as healthy as they purport to be. Think about how many fruits it takes to make a bottle of juice and ask yourself if you would actually eat that much fruit in one sitting (say, an average of 10). The human body is not meant to consume or process the amount of carbohydrates present in the average bottle of grocery store juice all at once. And consider this: both containers and servings are becoming larger and larger in the marketplace, restaurants, and homes.

The best idea about juice is to consume it in moderation, and choose only organic fruit and vegetable juices that include a good variety in them. Juicing at home with a masticated juicer is the best choice because it leaves fruit and vegetable juice as close to its natural state and includes pulp from the produce. Visit the Best Juicer web site for information about purchasing a juicer.

Shopping Advice

The peripheral edges of your grocery store are the best places to shop. Avoid purchasing anything packaged or boxed, and also try to buy fruits and vegetables that are fresh instead of in cans or jars. Remember that when you eat in restaurants, they are trying to turn a profit and the bottom line is money. Most restaurants do not supply their kitchens with superior quality, organic, natural foods. If a restaurant does serve organic food, you will likely pay a premium price for it. Eating the best you can when you are at home will make up for those times when you occasionally go out for a meal.

Compare the ingredients in these two lunches – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread, potato chips, milk, and a cookie – or – brown rice and vegetables, some protein food such as chicken or fish, a fresh salad, and purified water. Which of these two meals will provide your body with the nutrition necessary to allow your body to perform at optimal levels and maintain your sense of well-being? The body is unable to recognize and absorb processed substances we eat such as bagels, packaged cereals, most breads, crackers, and pasta because these foods are not whole and they have been changed into something that is not what was actually meant by nature to be eaten.

What Will You Choose?

The healthier your diet, the healthier your body. Consumption of a variety of fresh, whole, and raw foods aids digestion (the primary factor in health) and absorption of vital nutrients that your body needs to function at optimal levels. By committing to a regimen of healthy foods, you reduce the risks and development of health problems for the future. For more information on whole foods and why they are important to your health, visit Inner Light Health and whfoods.org.