Natural digestive health expert Linda Booth shares her top ways to banish thrush without the need for a pharmacy
From using scented soaps to irritating underwear, there are many reasons why thrush can occur, but have you ever considered your low immune system or diet to be a cause? We caught up with Linda Booth, natural digestive health expert and founder of Just For Tummies to discover five ways we can combat thrush naturally, without the need of a doctor.
An overgrowth of candida (the type of yeast that causes thrush), could be down to a variety of reasons including a compromised immune system allowing pathogens to grow, a leaky gut, antibiotic use, oral contraceptive use, hormonal imbalance, poor eating habits (especially too much sugar), and stress. Knowing where your candida has stemmed from will allow you to target your approach and stop it from coming back again.
Reduce the amount of refined and processed sugar in your diet as it feeds candida. However, do not eliminate it completely as research has shown that if starved entirely of sugar candida will travel upwards through the intestines in search of it. Here, candida will adhere to epithelial cells in the intestinal wall, allowing it to embed deeper and become systemic (and a lot harder to get rid of). For example, including natural sugars in moderation like low sugar fruits and sweet potatoes is not a problem, however consuming processed sugar in the form of cakes, biscuits, alcohol and sugary drinks should definitely be avoided.
Attack the candida directly with natural anti-fungal agents in supplement form such as garlic, caprylic acid, berberine, oregano oil and grapefruit seed extract. These work by breaking down the cell walls of the candida yeast. Although prescription anti-fungal treatments exist, they often cause a host of nasty side effects. Plus, many of them kill the good bacteria in your body and weaken your immune system, which makes it easier for the candida to return.
Include foods to fight candida in your diet. Specific foods include raw apple cider vinegar, raw organic garlic, cold pressed olive oil, organic turmeric and raw organic coconut oil. These foods contain anti-fungal and immune boosting properties that help to fight off candida yeast overgrowth by destroying the cell wall, which can sometimes create a die off reaction. Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar creates an unfriendly environment for the yeast, while helping create a good environment for friendly gut flora, which will prevent the candida from returning. Coconut oil is anti-fungal as it contains high amounts of naturally occurring caprylic acid. Olive oil contains a plant chemical named Oleuropein, which is found in both olive oil and olive leaf extract. It has powerful anti-fungal properties and stimulates your immune system’s own response to a candida infestation. It has also been shown to help stabilise blood sugar levels – this is important for candida sufferers because elevated blood sugar levels can feed a yeast overgrowth.
Having a weakened immune system will mean that the body’s surveillance system is not as able to recognise and deal with foreign invaders or keep candida from growing out of control. 70 percent of the immune system is located in the gut, therefore taking good care of your digestive system is key. Probiotics are a great way to boost the good bacteria and therefore the immune system; Just For Tummies ‘For Women’ contains a multi-strain, live, ‘friendly’ bacteria which replenishes gut flora and helps fight the candida yeasts which cause thrush.
As well as taking a probiotic supplement, eating foods that are rich in pre-biotics that feed the good bacteria in the gut is helpful. These types of foods include artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks and chicory (all best eaten raw to maximise the benefits).
Alternatively, vitamin C and zinc are also helpful for boosting the immune system. Vitamin C is found in good concentrations in citrus fruits, berries, Brussels sprouts and bell peppers whereas zinc is found in pumpkin seeds, beef and shellfish.
It’s difficult to say how long these methods will take to work, it depends heavily on the individual as everyone is different, and it can depend on whether the candida has spread and become systemic, how strong the immune system is, what the state of the gut flora is like, and whether or not there is any intestinal permeability. Some people take months to notice any benefit, and some people experience relief within a few weeks.
However, as a rough time frame, after a month of following these five tips there should be some improvement in symptoms.
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