I love Canada, but I Strongly Dislike Candida: 3 Foods to Eat for Candida + 2 meal guide options
Hot yoga is awesome. Especially in the winter. So let's just say the winter of 2009 was a sweaty, ecstatic liberation and the first time in my life I knew I was going to be a yoga teacher for sure.
But the sweat, the humid culture the private areas? Plus the fact that I was partying and still eating my roommate's cookies A LOT didn't help. And soon, there was a doctor visit. I don't want to go into details, and you probably don't want to know them, but let's just say: I was diagnosed with something that I had, yes. BUT it was not the real issue. The real issue was causing the smaller issue.
The real issue was Candida.
I was put on antibiotics for the smaller issue, and things got worse. A lot worse. I got a lot more symptoms too. Eczema, headaches (or was that the partying?), brain fog and fatigue (partying?), digestion (nope, something was going on), severe mood swings (partying, Candida and me).
So I got healthier because the yoga took over (ultimately it was the biggest and baddest weapon in the war of my healthy self versus my, uh, overly indulgent self). And the Candida went away, slinked off into balance somewhere in my body, stopped causing a ruckus.
Fast forward 3 years later, and my healthy self is a freaking dictator. She has forced me to become a nutritionist (I love her). And I finally figure out what the hell was going on with my crazy symptoms and issues galore.
CANDIDA. Not as cool as Canada at all.
So here's a report I wrote. It's clear but it's scientific, and reads like a school report (complete with references and all) which is exactly what it is. It is very matter-of-fact. These are the facts, ma-am.
So enjoy! Hope I see you at the end?
Candidiasis is a yeast infection and medical condition that is complex, attributed to an overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract of the usually benign fungus Candida albicans. Candida albicans is normally present in the blood, gastrointestinal tract, and vaginas of all warm-blooded animals (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013) and is a one-celled organism. There are over 20 types of Candida yeast like Candida tropicalis that cause infection. There is also the Rhodotorula species of yeast. The most common Candida yeast is Candida albicans, in terms of infection (Bauman, 2010).
Candida yeast can also live in the fold, wrinkles, and creases of the skin. When there is an overgrowth of Candida yeast, the buildup can infect the mouth, vagina, stomach, skin, urinary tract, or may infect even deeper organs.
Candidiasis, which we call Candida for short, weakens the immune system. Symptoms can show up as simple, little specific problems with the body or may be evident as rapid, severe infections of the internal organs.
It ties up the liver in detoxification, in making aldehyde toxins, which are organic compounds made from yeast. Aldehyde toxins can result in the worsening of respiratory allergies, diabetes/hypertension, drug toxicity, neurodegenerative diseases and liver disease. It alters endocrine functions, messing with the normal functioning of hormones. Candida also affects the nervous system.
The overuse of antibiotics is believed to be the most common reason for Candida. Antibiotics suppress the immune system by killing off not only the pathogenic bacteria, but also the friendlier flora in the digestive tract. The friendly bacteria prevent yeast overgrowth. When antibiotics are overused, the Candida yeast is subject to over-proliferation (Murray, 2005).
Candida is also encouraged when there are a decreased number of digestive secretions, the use of drugs that immunosuppressive like corticosteroids. Increased estrogen exposure including the use of birth control pills, pregnancy, or estrogen dominance can also bring about Candida. Impaired immune function for any reason, including stress, may also cause Candida.
A diet that is high in refined carbohydrates, alcohols and sugars will put a person at high risk because these sugars feed yeast. A diet that lacks biotin (which prevents conversion from yeast to fungus) is also risky. A lack of zinc, which indicates also copper (as copper is needed to balance zinc), will put someone at high risk for Candida because a lack of zinc means less than optimal immune function (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
Living in foggy or damp climate can put a person at higher risk for contracting Candida. If there is any mold or fungus in the home or exposure to toxic metals, a person is more likely to contract Candida.
When the digestive system is not working properly, meaning there is a low amount of hydrochloric acid and an overly alkaline environment, Candida may be contracted. Any kind of immune disorder, including bacterial infections, allergies, or HIV may lead to Candida. 90% of all people with HIV/AIDS develop Candida infections (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
People suffering from a Candida albicans overgrowth should avoid alcohol, refined sugar and carbohydrates. Yeasty, moldy and other fungi must also be eliminated, including leftover foods, which might have mold or fungus. Antibiotics should also be avoided, as they disrupt gut flora. Antibiotics can come from meat or dairy products, as well as from prescriptions.
Packaged and canned goods should be eliminated. Processed foods, especially meats like hot dogs, corned beef, pastrami, or any smoked meats must be avoided. There should a limitation on fruits due to the fructose content. Lemons and limes are acceptable. Any aged cheeses and dried foods must be passed up (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
Most Common Signs and Symptoms:
- Immune system malfunction and allergies
- Brain fog--- easily overwhelmed
- Sugar cravings
- Chemical sensitivities
- Fungus on fingers, toes or toenails
- Bloated abdomen
- Abdominal pain
- Painful intercourse
- Decreased sex drive
- Frequent urination
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bad breath
- Creamy white patches in mouth or on throat (thrush)
- Cracks at corner of the mouth
- Intestinal gas
- For males: prostate problems, bumps with fluid or pus at tip of penis, forming patches that could lead to scrotum, impotency
- For females: premenstrual problems, menstrual problems, infertility, vaginal inflammation/discharge/burning/itching/pain, painful urination, UTIs
- Severe mood swings
- Hyperactivity and agitation
- Swollen or stiff joints
- Blurred vision
- Ringing of ears
- Chest pains
- Skin rashes (eczema)
- Muscle tension
- Blisters found under breasts, groin, between finger and toes, etc.
Candida can mimic other conditions and can be a part of the onslaught of those other conditions so diagnosis is important to make sure Candida is not part of a larger or other problem. There are a few ways to check for Candida, including a Candida questionnaire, the Candida Saliva Test, and other tests that can be ordered including Urine Organic Acids, and stool testing for determining the presence of Candida in the intestines. A physician may use a CT scan or a vaginal wet smear.
Or if you are a vegan:
Three Main Nutrients to Help Treat Candidiasis:
- Protein: Not only will HCl be increased in the stomach to denature the proteins into amino acids and therefore balance excess alkalinity, but also the magical work of amino acids in immune, digestive and nervous system functioning will drastically improve and help to heal Candida. A building diet is required with Candida, which implies a strong presence of proteins and fats.
Amino acids, specifically arginine and glutamine, after being digested in the gut, are used in the intestinal walls since intestinal cells have high protein requirements since they are so metabolically active (Bauman, 2010). Glutathione will be especially helpful in liver support, which is essential when treating Candida (Murray, 2005).
When one day of the Candida 5-day meal plan was analyzed, the amount of protein was 97.72 g and several foods showed optimal levels of protein:
- Tuna: 15.94 g
- Salmon: 14.49 g
- Eggs: 13.52 g
- Brazil nuts: 8.10 g
- Brussels sprouts: 7.92 g
- Almonds: 6.02 g
- Pumpkin seeds: 3.12 g
In addition to these foods, supplementing with Vitamin B6, will help in conjunction with protein intake and is necessary for protein digestion (Bauman, 2010). B6 is involved in the formation of body proteins and structural compounds. It also helps with maintaining hormonal balance and proper immune function (Murray, 2005).
All other B vitamins, like Biotin, are cofactors for utilization of amino acids (Bauman, 2013). Biotin is also important for Candida, as it inhibits a form that irritates membranes (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013). So it is recommended that B-complex vitamin is taken once a day. It is best to get a B-complex with all 11 B vitamins and perhaps add on an extra B6 supplement, as needed for health reason (Challem, 2005).
- Selenium: Selenium is important to relieve any inflammation the Candida virus, as it is a part of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase (Murray, 2005). 200-400 mcg of Selenium is recommended for a Candida infection (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013). Because low levels of Selenium are related to a lot of the symptoms of Candida, including low immune function, inflammation, and infertility, it is important to get an adequate amount every day.
When day one of the Candida Meal Plan was analyzed, approximately 335 mcg were found in the foods. Some important foods:
- Brazil nuts: 103 mcg
- Tuna: 66 mcg
- Whole wheat bread: 66 mcg
- Eggs: 60 mcg
- Salmon: 22 mcg
- Sesame seeds (Paula’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts): 12.38 mcg
- Garlic (Paula’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts): 10 mcg
It is suggested that Vitamin E is taken with Se because they work together to prevent free radical damage (Murray, 2005). It is suggested that 200-400 IU of Vitamin E is taken when dealing with Candida (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
- Zinc: Because adequate Zinc is necessary for healthy immune function and has shown virus-inhibiting properties, it is necessary to make sure adequate amounts of Zinc are present in the diet. It is also required for protein synthesis and cell growth (Murray, 2005). It is essential for replication and repair enzymes (Pizzorno, 20008). Zinc deficiencies are likely with Candida (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013). Day one the Candida meal plan had 19.05 mg of Zinc. Key foods:
- Sea Salt: 8.7 mg
- Brazil nuts: 2.3 mg
- Tuna: 1.6 mg
- Eggs: 1.22 mg
- Brussels sprouts: 1 mg
- Almonds: .86 mg
- Pumpkin seeds (Paula’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts): .7 mg
A therapeutic dose of Zinc is 30-75 mg a day. The best forms are picolinate and citrate. It can also be taken with a lozenge. A zinc supplement taken with food is best to prevent nausea (Bauman, 2012). Copper is necessary to balance Zinc. The ratio should be 15:1 Zinc to Copper. Zinc is best taken as a multi, but if extra is supplemented, Copper should at least meet the special requirement of 3 mg a day, and must keep in balance of Zinc.
Other synergistic foods and supplements for Candida:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: helps maintain vaginal ecosystem by preventing the more undesirable species—compete with the harmful bacteria for glucose. Eat yogurt or insert capsule into vagina for vaginal symptoms for 1-2 weeks. 2-5 million organisms 3 times per day is recommended (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
- Essential Fatty Acids: Provide an anti-inflammatory role. Omega-3 and Omega-6s are best. Evening Primrose oil is good for Omega-6, and fish/flax oil is good for Omega-3. 2 tbsp. of oil or 1,000-1,500 mg twice a day for therapeutic purposes (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
- Vitamin C: great for immune support and stress relief. It is also reduces the spread of infection (Pizzorno, 2008). 500-1,000 mg per day as a whole foods supplement (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
- Caprylic Acid: It is a fatty acid that is anti-fungal. 1 g with meals (Bauman and Friedlander, 2013).
- Beta-carotene: necessary for Vitamin A production in the body, for immune response and resistance to infection. Also it is essential for epithelial tissues of vaginal mucosa. Vitamin A should not be taken over 5,000 IU a day (Pizzorno, 2008). Best in food or food-based supplement.
- Rosemary: Reduces inflammatory responses, stimulates the immune system, and improves digestion (Murray, 2005). Can use as an oil or to enhance a dish. No known toxic levels.
- Turmeric: Used to treat a host of conditions, many of which are related to Candida, including inflammation, menstrual problems, flatulence, etc. Has been shown to reduce pain (Murray, 2005). Available as a powder and is shown to be safe even at high levels. Use turmeric as a spice to complement a recipe.
Bauman, E., Friedlander, J. (2013). Therapeutic Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman CollegeChallem, Jack (Text by). (2005, June 2). “The Benefits of B Vitamins.” Whole Living web site. Retrieved from: http://www.wholeliving.com/134086/benefits-b-vitamins
Murray N.D., M. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books.
Pizzorno, Jr., J.E., Murray, M.T., and Joiner-Bey, Herb (2008). The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone.
Wilson, Lawrence, M.D. (Text by). (2012, September). “Aldehyde Poisening.” The Center for Development web site. Retrieved from: http://drlwilson.com/index.htm
OKAY..there's report for the day! Hope you stayed with it, and if you did, great for you!
Do you have Candida tips? Candida experiences? Hell, I'll take Canada experiences. Those might be more fun talk about anyway...
You might not want to scream from the mountaintops that you read about and so probably have Candida, but a brave soul is a brave soul. And Candida is common so whatever...share if you want to below with one of those buttons...