What is Candida and Candidiasis?
Candidiasis is the common name for a condition that results in the overproduction of a form of yeast normally found in the body at low levels. Candida, or Candida albicans, is a type of yeast that is generally found in the regular flora of the skin, intestinal track and the mouth, rectum, and vagina. Although Candida is naturally present in the body, it can cause problems if there is an overgrowth, resulting in Candidiasis.
Candida is not considered anything to worry about; however, recent research has put a spotlight on this form of yeast that is causing the medical profession to reconsider its totally benign assessment of candida. It is inside all of us - in the digestive tract, mouth, and throat. In women, it is also found in the vagina. The most common species of candida is called candida albicans.
When the human body is weakened it is vulnerable to attack. Consider that at all times various bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens are waging an unseen war against the body. Likewise, the immune system is always on guard, waiting for the attack. In response to outside invasion, the body produces various weapons to fight hostile aggression. Sometimes, if the body is weakened through a host of conditions and situations, the immune system cannot do its job properly.
One common condition caused by candida is thrush.
Thrush is a buildup of candida that can effect men and women alike. As many as seventy-five percent of women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime - caused by an overgrowth of candida.
These common conditions are annoying, but they do not represent the symptoms of chronic Candidiasis. Chronic overproduction of candida can lead to a wide range of physical and mental symptoms. It can manifest as abdominal pain, fatigue, skin infections, and even cognitive difficulties. There appears to be such an extent of problems related to candida overgrowth that candida is often dismissed as a cause.
In chronic Candidiasis, the rapidly multiplying candida changes form. It morphs into its dangerous fungal state and spreads. The fungal form of candida produces rhizoids - hook-shaped barbed appendages that cut into tissue and membranes, causing pain and other harmful symptoms. If not treated, a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome can develop in the intestinal tract.
Leaky Gut Syndrome allows toxins to leave the digestive tract and feed right into the bloodstream. It is also interesting to note that once someone begins treatment to kill the excess candida growth, the initial reaction to treatment will often result with the patient actually feeling worse! This is due to the fact that the fungal form of candida does not want to die and it fights like heck to survive!
In addition, there are indications that candidiasis can affect people who do not have compromised immune systems. New research has indicated that people who have healthy immune systems can also fall victim to the rhizoid-reach of candida. This is important because it presents a way for science to pinpoint root causes instead of simply treating symptoms.
Candida is most likely responsible for more problems than it is given credit for. Before you start treatment for candida, you should try and read up about the subject and fully understand what is involved. As with anything else, knowledge is power.
Candida starts to develop in the gut as a fungus, and at the same time creates its ideal environment inside the gut.
Unfortunately, the environment in which Candida thrive means that the pH balance is acidic. This acidity inhibits the bodies' ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, and it limits enzyme production of digestive proteins. One of the side effects of limited enzymes leads to indigestion symptoms, wind or gas, a sense of the intestines being bloated or swollen, increased acid levels and sensitivities to certain types of food.
As your body finds it difficult to digest certain foods, it is best to avoid them. Sugar feeds Candida and that includes the fructose a fruit sugar, so you should avoid eating sugar and fresh or dried fruit. Alcohol is a type of sugar and is a direct food source for Candida. In some areas, water has certain chemicals added by the local water board, and in the majority of cases, it is beneficial, but some Candida sufferers find that chlorinated water can aggravate the condition. As an alternative drink distilled water, there is no guarantee that bottled water is not chlorine free.
One downside of the Candida diet is that it is very restrictive and a very strict regimen, also from a nutritional stand point, it is not good for you. This diet is not a fast easy solution for the Candida sufferer and it takes a lot of commitment. Individual recovery times differ, but as a rule many Candida sufferers' report that you have to be on the diet for one month for every year which you have had Candida. That means, if you have had Candida for 27 years, then you need to follow the diet for twenty seven months.
Its purpose is to starve the yeast organisms which are causing the symptoms. Again, the diet is not very nutritionally sound and as you are already not getting the full benefits of the food you are eating, it may be a good idea to take multivitamins.
In addition, when you undertake the Candida Cleanse diet you have to stick with all of it, if you have one alcoholic drink, you have fed the yeast infection and the imbalance will reoccur. The Candida Yeast Diet is not very aptly named, more correctly it should be the Candida No yeast diet, and although it is a very strict and unforgiving regimen, it does work, it will starve the Candida yeast infection.
A note about sugar, there are effective sugar substitutes, chemical sweeteners are not good for you and are best avoided, but there are natural sweeteners derived from plants. An example is Vegetable Glycerine which, while it can be extracted from many plants normally comes from the coconut palm. It is available at health stores in a liquid form and you use it as you would honey but it is sweeter.
Stevia is another plant based natural sugar substitute, but it is purely a sugar. The vegetable glycerine has a raising agent added that will make cakes or other baked good rise.
Diet that encourages the growth of yeast and should be avoided.
Sweets: Avoid all sweets including hidden sweeteners in processed foods, such as soups, all fruit and fruit juice.
Grains: Avoid grains such as prepared flake cereals sprouted grain cereals such as: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Rice, Rye, Spelt, Wheat, Granola, Pearl barley, Instant oats, Cornmeal, degerminated Hominy grits, degerminated Microwave popcorn Blue corn meal
Pasta: Pasta is flour and water, the flour may be white bread flour and it may be durum flour made from semolina. All types of noodles are made from the same base and they should all be cut out of the diet, with Bufin, the Japanese noodles, Ramen instant noodles, farina, semolina and white flour noodles and pastas.
Baked goods and Breads: Avoid all cakes, pastries, cookies doughnuts or other processed baked food containing sugar. This list includes white bread, or any bread containing wheat, which includes parathas, nanas bread, pita bread, white flour tortillas, wheat dough tortillas, sourdough, or any other ethnic bread made from wheat. Mochi the sweet unleavened bread made from brown rice should be avoided.
Legumes: Avoid beans and peas with sweeteners, bean sprouts, tempeh which a type of fermented tofu, tofu and textured vegetable protein.
Nuts & Seeds: Coconut, Peanuts, Pistachios, Walnuts
Dairy Products: Buttermilk, Soymilk (sweetened), All kinds of cheeses, Cottage cheese, Kefir, Milk, Sour cream Creme fraiche Sweetened yogurt.
Fruit: Never eat dried fruit, and when you start the Candida cleanse diet it is best to avoid all fruit because of the fructose the sugar it contains. Once you have eliminated the current Candida infection then eat fruit with a moderate amount of sugar. Low sugar fruits are apples, grapefruit, melon, and strawberries.
Beverages: Alcohol, Cereal beverages, Coffee both regular and decaffeinated Fruit juices Soft drinks including the diet soft drinks. Processed tea drinks such as lemon tea. All fruit teas, Black tea
Condiments and Sauces: No Ketchup or catsup or any type of tomato sauce Cream sauces such as Alfredo Steak sauce, NO Capers, Dried or powdered garlic, Miso, Dried or powdered onion, Pickles or chutneys, which include anything made with sugar and distilled vinegar. Spices, Distilled vinegar Sauerkraut.
Proteins: Meat products such as beef chicken or pork have added antibiotics and hormones and they should be avoided if you want to eat meat then eat free-range organic products. Smoked meats such as bacon, sausages and salami products such as pepperoni have added sugar and should be cut out of your diet.
We have learnt that the environment in which Candida thrives is acidic in nature and this acidity inhibits the bodies' ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and it limits enzyme production of digestive proteins. Limited enzyme production leads to symptoms of indigestion, e.g. wind or gas problems are evident, bloated or swollen intestines are evident, increased acid levels and sensitivities to certain types of foods are evident.
It is evident that in order to maintain a healthy body, free of an overgrowth of Candida, the foods that are eaten must be foods that promote healthy Candida levels in the body.
The ideal diet for those suffering from Candida Yeast overgrowth is to eat a diet high in fiber and protein complimented by some complex carbohydrates and a small amount of fresh fruits. For example, the daily intake should be approximately: 65% High fiber foods, such as steamed vegetables: The best choices are broccoli, celery, radishes, asparagus, onions, garlic, ginger root, cabbage, turnips and kale. Raw garlic and onions act as natural anti-fungal substances and should be eaten as much as possible.
20% High protein foods, such as: fish chicken, duck, nuts, seeds and eggs.
10% Complex carbohydrates: rice, beans and oats. Foods that promote a healthy body and deter Candida Overgrowth"
5% fresh fruits, such as: berries of all kinds, grapefruit, pineapple, and papaya.
Here is a suggested list of acceptable foods:
GRAINS in moderation: Whole Amaranth and flour; Whole Barley, Flour and hatomugi; Buckwheat flour and groats; Undegerminated Corn meal (fine or coarse grind); Masa Harina; Popcorn (air popper), Whole Millet and flour; Oat bran, flour, Groats, Quick; whole Quinoa and flour; Wild Rice; Brown Rice (long, med. or short grains), Brown Basmati Rice, Texmati Brown Rice, Wehani Brown Rice Rye flour, Groats, Cream of rye cereal; Whole Spelt and flour; Whole Teff and flour; Wheat Berries, Unprocessed or miller's wheat bran, Bulgur, cracked, Durum, Graham wheat flour, Whole wheat flour. Corn, Quinoa, Saifun (Japanese noodles), Soba (buckwheat), Udon (Japanese noodles), Whole wheat.
Acceptable Baked/Prepared Products: Any whole grain unsweetened, unyeasted bread product such as chapatis, whole wheat flour, corn chips, quick breads, unsweetened rice cakes or crackers, tortillas made from brown, corn or whole wheat. Ryvita contains no yeast.
Legumes: Dried or frozen Black-eyed peas, Chickpeas or garbanzo beans, Lentils, Soybeans, Soy flakes, Split peas
Acceptable dairy: Unsweetened soymilk. Almond milk Plain yogurt with added acidophilus culture.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Brazil, Cashews, Hazel, Macadamia, Pecans, Pine nuts, Poppy, Pumpkin, Sesame (tahini), Sunflower.
Small occasional amounts of fresh lemon, lime, tomato, and eggplant.
Vegetables: Beans, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers Green pepper, Kale, Lettuce Onion, radishes, Parsley, Peas, Rocket or arugulla Spinach, Tomatoes,
Beverages: Almond milk Mugicha, Toasted whole barley, Coffee substitute (without malt), Unsweetened soymilk, Unsweetened Taheebo Pau d'Arco tea, Water (plain or carbonated).
Condiments / Seasonings: Chicken broth without sweetener, Fresh garlic, Fresh ginger, Fresh herbs, Fresh onion, Pepper, Salt, Tamari (unfermented soy sauce), Raw organic apple cider vinegar
Animal Protein: Antelope, bear, beef, buffalo, caribou, chicken, deer, duck, eggs, elk, all types of fish, frog legs, game hen, goat, goose, grouse (partridge), guinea fowl, moose, mutton, peafowl, pheasant, pigeon (squab), pork, quail, and turkey.
These foods when taken in the recommended daily portions will foster healthy Candida levels a strong immune system and a healthy body.
Candida, or Candida albicans, is a type of yeast that is generally found in the regular flora of the skin, intestinal track and the mouth, rectum, and vagina. Although Candida is naturally present in the body, it can cause problems if there is an overgrowth, resulting in Candidiasis. Candidiasis usually occurs when there is a disruption of bacterial flora in the body, and in people who have compromised immune systems. There are different factors which can lead to Candida overgrowth such as a person's diet. However, research is finding that prolonged use of antibiotics can also play a major role in the development of Candidiasis.
Why do antibiotics cause Candidiasis?
Antibiotics are designed to eradicate the bad bacteria that cause certain diseases and infections. While antibiotics destroy bad bacteria and stop the spread of infection, they also destroy the good bacteria that help to keep the Candida in the body under control.
Prolonged or strong doses of antibiotics can lead to an imbalance in gut flora, an imbalance that allows bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites to overgrow in the stomach. If not controlled, the affected person can begin to suffer a slew of negative side effects and yeast infections including:
Note: Over 90% of Thrush and Vaginitis is caused by Candida overgrowth.
How can you protect yourself against developing Candidiasis from antibiotics?
Don't take antibiotic treatment unless it is absolutely necessary - Illnesses such as the common cold, flu and sinus infections do not require antibiotics unless they prolong for more than two weeks, cause irregular symptoms, or produce a high fever.
Unfortunately, many people believe that antibiotics are a fast way to get rid of common infections. Although this may be true, those who take antibiotics for these illnesses do not allow their immune system the chance to fight off the infection and become stronger. Instead, they allow their body to become dependant on antibiotics. The result - eventually they will develop a resistance to these medications, and will require a higher dosage the next time they become sick.
In addition, antibiotic overuse is exceptionally bad for children. Children are in a state of constant growth which makes them highly susceptible to common viruses. A child who is administered antibiotics to treat every infection they experience only causes their immune system to weaken and develop poorly. Essentially, by the time they are adults, their body will depend on antibiotics to be cured from the smallest infection.
Consider holistic remedies - There are plenty of holistic and alternative drug treatments. Research different remedies and consult your doctor. If you must take antibiotics keep the following in mind:
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