Tackle a troublesome yeast overgrowth naturally, with Henrietta Norton’s nutritional approach
Trillions of healthy bacteria live in our digestive tract, making up what is called microflora. These bacteria play a supportive role in your intestines, helping to make vitamins, release natural antibiotics, and break down toxins. Candida, a yeast-like fungus, is also commonly present in your intestines, and its growth is usually limited by your immune system and by your microflora. In other words, a healthy balance is maintained.
However, if candida is allowed to grow, due to a weakened immune system or a disease such as diabetes, the harmonious balance bacteria in your gut is upset, resulting in intestinal candidiasis. Not only can this imbalance cause problems such as vaginal infections, but candida also releases byproducts which are subsequently absorbed into the bloodstream, exposing the whole body to a variety of symptoms as the immune system tries to fight it off. Common symptoms include fatigue, bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation, recurring bladder infections, menstrual irregularities, allergies, chemical sensitivities, and depression.
A comprehensive approach is necessary to reduce the overgrowth of candida organisms. The risk factors listed above must be reduced as much as possible, in conjunction with supporting immune, digestive, and liver function. Since yeast feeds on carbohydrates, a food plan must be followed that starves yeast of its main fuel – simple sugars. Additional supplementary support, in the form of healthy bacteria (such as probiotics), is also added to compete with candida in the intestines, resulting in a re-balancing of the microflora. Sometimes anti-yeast supplements or prescriptions are used to kill the yeast.
Following a wholesome diet, combined with other measures to promote intestinal health and boost the immune system – such as taking supplements, including caprylic acid or oregano – is a positive step towards addressing candida overgrowth.
Many of the symptoms associated with candidiasis are associated with the absorption of yeast breakdown products. It’s common to experience a short-term reaction to this, which can take the form of headaches, abdominal bloating, muscle and joint aches, or fatigue. It’s also not unusual to crave the very foods that yeast thrives on, such as sweets, bread and alcohol. Work alongside a nutritional therapist who will be able to support you.
It’s important to reduce as many of the risk factors as possible to keep a healthy balance between yeast and microflora. But for sustainable results, following a good ‘candida diet’ has to be wholesome and healthy to promote intestinal immunity:
• Reduce refined sugars, white starchy carbs, animal fats, preservatives and additives, and food that has come into contact with pesticides as much as possible. Include plenty of vegetables and fruit, preferably organic.
• Eat with the seasons and choose local produce to ensure that your food is as fresh and nourishing as possible.
• Add herbs and spices into your diet like sage, garlic, cloves and ginger. These are abundant in anti-microbial properties.
• Consume plenty of fibre (from fruit, vegetables and moderate whole-grains).
• Drink plenty of filtered water to ensure the toxic residue caused by candida overgrowth is removed effectively.
• Develop a practice of mind-body techniques for stress reduction. This could be something like yoga or meditation.
The following list includes the most common triggers for yeast overgrowth:
• Repeated use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and/or steroids like prednisone
• Diet high in sweets
• Low beneficial bacteria
• Chronic stress
• Weakened immune system
Henrietta Norton is a nutritional therapist, author and co-founder of Wild Nutrition (wildnutrition.com). She has clinics at Grace Belgravia and SP & Co in London.
Save over £11
when you subscribe today
Exclusive prizes from our Heaven Skincare, Senspa, Green People and more...