There’s a lot of fear around problems like candida and parasites, particularly among the more health-conscious crowd these days, and one reason for that is because there’s been a lot of buzz around it with the advent of way too many products that promise to get rid of candida and parasites. From pills and potions that make you have to run to the bathroom, to enemas and colon hydrotherapy and special candida diets, just one visit to a health food store or perusal of bookstore books about vegetarianism might convince you that you, too, have a serious candida or parasite infection.
I’m all about busting the myths and shedding light on the truth about health, fitness, and nutrition, so I’m writing this post to clear up the confusion about candida and parasites. The truth is that everyone has candida and everyone has parasites.
If you didn’t have parasites and yeast, you’d be dead.
You have more bacteria (parasites) in your body than you have cells. The parasites that exist inside and outside your body include bacteria such as staph, strep, and e.coli and fungi such as candida albicans (yeast). These parasites actually play an important role in keeping you healthy.
The problem occurs when you have an overgrowth of any of these parasites. We commonly hear about how dangerous staph, strep, and e.coli can be because they can cause some overt, life-threatening situations. Candida overgrowth is often described as a less acute, non-life threatening problem causing itching and foul odor in the genital area, or even oral thrush. A systemic candida infection can cause multiple symptoms, from brain fog and chronic fatigue to weight gain, sugar cravings, and joint pain. Some people will attribute just about any health condition to a candida infection.
So how do you know if you have a candida infection and how do you get rid of it?
There are all kinds of mini-quizzes in health books and on the internet that ask vague questions such as…
Have you ever taken antibiotics?
Have you ever used birth control pills?
Have you ever been vaccinated?
Do you crave sweets?
Do you experience hypoglycemia spells?
Do you have difficulty losing weight?
And the list goes on…
The more questions you answer “yes” to, the greater the likelihood that you have something out of balance with your microbiota. (I say microbiota instead of the more common misnomer microflora because flora refers to plants whereas biota refers to bacteria and fungi.) The problem is that there are a LOT of things that can cause those same symptoms, including…
…high cortisol levels
…low DHEA levels
…low thyroid hormone
…heavy metal accumulation or pesticide exposure
And the list goes on. The good news is that you can actually do a simply stool test to find out if your microbiota are out of balance. Or you could rule out all the other possible causes of your symptoms by taking a look at your diet, exposure to toxins in your environment, and testing your hormones (including insulin, thyroid, and adrenal hormones — not just the sex hormones).
You can also prevent candida overgrowth and imbalances of your microbiota by following a few simple rules with your diet.
- Don’t overload yourself on sugars and carbohydrates! Unless you’re a marathon runner or elite athlete, 100 – 150 grams of carbs per day should be enough.
- Avoid fructose. This means don’t chug the fruit juice, even if it’s fresh squeezed. And definitely don’t drink Gatorade or corn syrup sweetened sodas. Agave nectar is NOT a healthy sugar alternative! Use raw honey or stevia instead.
- Say no to yeast bread. There’s a reason why the Pillsbury doughboy looks that way. He’s got one gnarly yeast infection.
- Instead of drinking sugared drinks, make fermented beverages like coconut water kefir, kombucha, and kvass. These probiotic foods contain BOTH good bacteria and good yeasts, preventing overgrowth of the “bad” ones.
- Get into the habit of eating cultured vegetables every day too. These can do wonders for your digestion, skin health, energy, and mood.
- If you do have a few dietary imperfections (that big agave sweetened slice of chocolate cream pie, a big fluffy Pillsbury biscuit, a giant Margarita…) or if you’ve been on birth control pills or antibiotics, and you suspect you’ve got some candida overgrowth, try these natural herbal remedies for candida.
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