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How To Treat A Candida Imbalance? We Have A Diet That Helps!

How To Treat A Candida Imbalance? We Have A Diet That Helps!

How often have you felt prey to a maddening itch down there? If you say too often, and also have general symptoms like chronic fatigue, a brain fog, one too many skin or nail fungal infections – you may actually have a candida overgrowth which may be the culprit behind all these various issues.

Further symptoms may be a low sex drive, recurring sinus and allergy issues, too many digestive issues, bad breath, a coated tongue and or a craving for sweets. Remember that while not all these symptoms may point to a candida problem, having too many of these just might…

What is Candida, & Why Is Its Overgrowth A Problem?

Candida is a group of yeasts which exists beneficially within host bodies (such as humans) and basically helps in digestion as a healthy gut flora. However, some conditions can cause candida to overgrow and then invade other parts of the bodies thereby causing infections such as thrush and candidiasis. If left unchecked, Candida Albanicus, in particular, populate rather effectively and start to cause health problems. [1]

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That said; Candida is found almost universally on the human skin although the dryness of the epidermis (top layer of the skin) does not let candida multiply. In the moister and warmer inner linings of the mouth, vagina and the intestinal tract – Candida can thrive. Intestinally, a kept in check population of this yeast helps in digestion. However when the yeast multiples too much, it causes mild to severe oral and vaginal infections as well as mimic hormonal imbalances. In healthy individuals, these infections can easily be cured by OTC medications but in people with compromised health, candida can invade and infect the inner linings of the brain and heart and cause health problems.

Why Does This Friendly Fungus Turn Into a Toxic Invader?

Basically, most of the healthy bacteria in your gut (remember probiotic) keep this fungus in check. However, if anything causes the friendly gut flora to die off, the situation is perfect for candida to take over and reign supreme. While it does not actively attack the bacteria, if there is an imbalance in your gut, candida is quick to take advantage… The good news is that this does not happen often, but the external factors that can lead to a Candida coup are many. [2]

  • Too much of refined carbs: Fungi or yeast need a high-carbohydrate atmosphere to thrive and in case you have been feasting on sugar and all carbs refined – you are providing too much of fuel for Candida to resist.
  • One too many happy hours: Alcohol is basically a fermented, high –in sugar drink – yet again providing loads of fuel for this fungi.
  • The pill, overkill: Oral contraceptives can affect and alter the bacterial gut flora and sometimes give an unfair advantage for candida to thrive.
  • Too much of a good thing is bad: While fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, vinegar or pickles are good for health – eating too many can cause a gut flora imbalance.
  • Leading a high-stress lifestyle: Too much of stress can cause indigestion, acidity, and inflammation in the gut – killing off the good bacteria.
  • Too many antibiotics: While antibiotics are a godsend for anyone with an infection, they don’t really differentiate between good or bad bacteria and kill off gut flora along with the attacking bacteria as well. The bacteria-less gut can be overridden with candida then.
  • Corticosteroids can enable fungal infections: Corticosteroids are used to treat allergies, asthma, and many other skin problems as well – these drugs, however, can enable yeast infections as well.
  • A down and out immune system: Like with any immune-weakened infection, candida overgrowth can happen when the body is at a risk – be it from any disease or infection.

How Do I Get A Diagnosis?

The problem with a fungal infection like this is that the symptoms are common enough to point many other equally likely culprits as well. One simple test that has no scientific backing per se, but can point to a candida infection is the DIY home spit test. [3]

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In the morning, before you brush or rinse or drink anything; take a transparent glass and fill it with water Now gather some spit in your mouth (don’t cough up anything though) and spit in the glass. The saliva should float and that’s normal. Keep it aside for 10-15 minutes. If you notice strings reaching down from the floating saliva, or have a sunk-to-the-bottom spit with cloudy specks on top – you may have a candida infection.

    Go to the doctor and insist on having a blood test or a stool test to get a confirmed diagnosis. [4]

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    How Do I Treat A Candida Infection?

    Candida infections or overgrowth can be treated with various ways. Remember that if your infection or symptoms are serious, it’s best to consult a doctor.

    Medicinal Cure

    Depending on the severity and the location of the infection, as well as keeping in mind the vulnerability and toxicology of the patient, doctors tend to treat candidiasis patients with “azole” medicines such as fluconazole and sometimes even surgery, such as valve replacement for endocarditis. [5]

    Home or Nutritional Cures

    If you do have candida and are looking for organic and DIY cures of the same, then dietary changes are what will kill off the overgrowth – all you need to do is starve the yeast… It’s best to do this under the care of naturopathic or natural medicine physician though, lest you worsen the situation. The steps usually part of this cure are simple but effective. [6]

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    • Cut out sugars and refined carbohydrates: Yeast aka candida needs sugars and carbohydrates to thrive. To kill it off, cut off the food source! No sugar, no refined carbs and at least for the first few days of the treatment even fruits and complex carbs are off the menu as are any yeast-containing foods such as melons, alcohol or peanuts. Oh, and milk is off the menu too since it may contain antibiotics.
    • Use antifungal herbs: Herbs like olive leaf and grapefruit seed extract are effective fungicides that do not kill off healthy gut flora – and while they are nature’s arsenal, they are potent enough to kill off candida.
    • Get in more probiotics: Repopulating the gut flora (think probiotics) is next in line as the healthy bacteria can and will keep the gut candida in check. This along with plenty of fiber-rich foods such as flaxseeds, psyllium husk along with probiotic-rich food like coconut water and yogurt does the trick.
    • Support the liver: Too much of candida puts a big load on the liver – so now the emphasis has to be on liver-protective foods that help to detox the body as fast as possible.

    The Candida Diet

    Anytime you feel or know that this usually friendly fungus is trying to take over your body, remember to include these foods in your diet. As Hippocrates said, let thy food be thy medicine… [7]

    1. Non-starchy veggies: Think salads and leafy greens for they are nutrient-rich but low in sugar!
    2. Organic meats: If you cannot live without your daily meats and eggs make sure what you eat is organic, and free range for they will be nutrient rich and will nourish healthy gut flora without overfeeding the fungi.
    3. Healthy fats: Healthy fats such as coconut, avocado, olive, and ghee heal the gut, seal any leaks and are anti-inflammatory.
    4. Fermented probiotics: Coconut water, kefir or yogurt – eat these but in moderation to help your microbiome being the best it can.
    5. Sip on teas: Common herbs like oregano and ginger have anti-microbial effects. Sip on some nourishing teas then.
    6. Switch to sweeteners: Push the sugar away and reach for organic stevia instead as it does not actually contain sugar, ergo no food for the fungi.
    7. Bone broth: A healing food that not only helps the joints but is also showing promising results in sealing the gut and keeping the candida from escaping into the bloodstream and wreaking its variety of havoc.

    The Candida Die Off

    When you have a candida overgrowth and begin a Candida diet, you might experience something called the candida die-off – the symptoms will get temporarily worse before they start to get better. This is the time to become mentally strong and stick to the diet, for the worsening will soon ease up and you will start to feel better. [8]

    Remember that like all health issues, a candida imbalance can be treated with a little patience and some perseverance – and a some good lifestyle changes!

    Featured photo credit: Womens Health Mag via womenshealthmag.com

    Reference

    [1] Mind Body Green: 10 Signs You Have A Candida Overgrowth
    [2] The Candida Diet: An Introduction to Candida
    [3] National Candida Center: Self-Test 2 My Body Fluids
    [4] CDC: Invasive Candidiasis
    [5] E-Medicine: Treatment of Candidiasis
    [6] Huffington Post: Five Steps To Treating Candida
    [7] Mind Body Green: The Candida Diet
    [8] The Candida Diet: Candida Die Off Symptoms

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

    Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

    Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

    If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

    When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

    In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

    1. Salmon

    Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

    It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

    Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

    Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

    Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

    Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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    2. Blueberries

    Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

    Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

    Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

    Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

    Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

    3. Turmeric

    Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

    Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

    Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

    Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

    Curcumin has also been shown to:

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    • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
    • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
    • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
    • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

    4. Coffee

    Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

    Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

    Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

    Coffee can also:

    • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
    • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
    • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
    • Improve your memory.
    • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

    5. Broccoli

    What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

    Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

    Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

    Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

    Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

    6. Bone broth

    Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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    Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

    Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

    Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

    Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

    With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

    Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

    7. Walnuts

    Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

    Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

    Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

    Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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    8. Eggs

    For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

    Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

    Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

    9. Dark chocolate

    You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

    Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

    Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

    Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

    Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

    Conclusion

    Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

    In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

    If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
    [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
    [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
    [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
    [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
    [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
    [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
    [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
    [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
    [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
    [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
    [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
    [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
    [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
    [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
    [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
    [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
    [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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