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Published on June 7, 2019

What Helps Yeast Infections: Foods To Eat And Avoid

What Helps Yeast Infections: Foods To Eat And Avoid

Preventing yeast infections often requires several different changes. Maintaining strong immunity through exercise and a healthy diet is always important. But you can also give your body a helping hand by avoiding specific foods.

Your diet plays a major role in the development of yeast infections. Most infections are caused by a yeast named Candida albicans.[1] Like any organism, Candida albicans relies on food for survival – and Candida thrives upon specific foods. These are mainly simple carbohydrates and sugars. Unfortunately, much of your everyday foods contain large amounts of these!

With this in mind, you may be wondering what helps yeast infections? Well, there are plenty of foods that can help. Let’s take a look!

Candida’s Favorite Foods

As you know, carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for the human body. When you eat foods containing carbs, your body quickly converts the carbs into glucose, which is then taken up by your cells as energy.

However, those carbohydrates are also a source of fuel for Candida yeast. It uses this fuel not only for energy to help it grow and proliferate, but also to build the biofilms that protect it from your immune system.

Candida also uses sugar to change from its normal, harmless form to its more virulent, fungal form. This fungal form uses branching filaments, known as hyphae, to spread throughout the body. Yeast infections are often seen at the same time as Candida overgrowth in the intestines and elsewhere.[2]

It has been found that high amounts of glucose in the bloodstream can effectively ‘switch on’ the specific genes in Candida yeast that promote biofilm formation. A biofilm is a matrix that pathogens like Candida albicans build to protect themselves from your immune system.[3]

In the case of Candida yeast, the biofilm acts like a shield that prevents your body’s immune cells from killing it. These biofilms make Candida albicans extremely resistant to anti-fungal treatment, and even more of a challenge for your immune system.

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5 Foods To Avoid When Treating Candida

One of the best ways to prevent yeast infections is to prevent your blood sugar from going too high. This means avoiding sugary, carb-rich foods that will elevate or spike your blood glucose.

You may think that you don’t eat a lot of sugars – but many of them aren’t always obvious. It’s important to know which foods to avoid.

1. Simple Carbohydrates

White flour, white bread and white rice are some of the most common sources of simple carbs. These foods are broken down very quickly in the digestive system, which causes a sudden rise in blood sugar.

Higher blood sugar is a good source of fuel for Candida, which can allow it to continue spreading throughout your digestive system.

Try to replace white starches with complex carbohydrates such as quinoa or buckwheat. These contain high amounts of fiber so your body takes longer to process them, keeping your blood sugar stable. Even better, reduce your carbohydrates and eat more fats and protein.

2. Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol is on this list because of the way in which it weakens your immune system and destabilizes your blood sugar.

Some types of alcohol can cause your blood sugar to rise in the short term, this is usually followed by a precipitous drop. Diabetics need to be very careful with alcohol due to the way it reduces blood sugar so quickly.

Low blood sugar might sound like a good thing for avoiding yeast infections, but this drop is often followed by a blood sugar surge as we over-compensate by gorging on carbohydrates. Hunger cravings, due to hypoglycemia, usually lead to poor food choices.

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There is also evidence that alcohol undermines your immune system. A study at the University of Maryland measured the effects of vodka on the immune system. After drinking the vodka, participants were tested for levels of three different types of white blood cells — leukocytes, monocytes and natural killer cells. At the 2 hour and 5 hour stage, the levels of white blood cells were significantly lower, signaling a weaker immune system.[4]

3. Fruit Juices and Dried Fruits

While we often think of fruit as healthy, this is mostly the case in its fresh or frozen form. Processed fruit juices and dried fruits are highly concentrated, which means you’re getting large amounts of sugar in a single serving. Yes, even fruit can have too much sugar!

Fruit juices may also contain added sugars which only increase your chances of Candida overgrowth.

To prevent yeast infections, eat fresh or frozen fruits and avoid fruit juices and dried fruits.

4. Sugary Condiments

Condiments are sometimes difficult to avoid because we don’t think of them as a food. However, ketchup and mayonnaise can add large amounts of sugar to an otherwise healthy meal with just a couple of teaspoons!

Swap your condiments for sea salt or herbs and spices. There are also condiments available that are sweetened with low carbohydrate sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract.[5]

5. Sweeteners (Such as Sugar and Maple Syrup)

Adding sugar to your coffee may be a habit, but it’s one you should try to break. That extra teaspoon or two of sugar is a food source for Candida albicans and may feed a yeast infection. to those Candida cells!

Alternatives such as agave and honey are a little better, as they are mostly fructose and don’t have the same effect on your blood sugar. However, in the long run, your health will be better served by adjusting to a diet of unsweetened foods.

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3 Food Groups That Can Prevent Yeast Infections

Yes, there ARE foods that will help your body to fight the Candida infection. These are the best ones to include in your daily diet.

Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are a type of ‘friendly’ bacteria that live throughout your digestive system. These bacteria are essential for helping your body to break down food and deliver nutrients to your body. They also help your immune cells to fight off pathogenic yeasts such as Candida albicans.

You can boost the level of probiotic bacteria in your body by taking probiotic supplements and/or eating fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso and yogurt all contain the live probiotic bacteria that help to promote other healthy bacteria in your gut, allowing them to overcome the ‘bad’ bacteria.

Low-Carb Sweeteners

When you need a sweet fix, don’t go for candy or other treats. Natural, low-carb sweeteners such as monk fruit extract, stevia and xylitol are free from the harmful sugars that feed Candida – and yet they’re still sweet enough to satisfy your cravings.

An added bonus is that erythritol and xylitol are both able to inhibit Streptococcus mutans. Like Candida, this bacteria relies on sugar for survival.

Fats and Proteins

If you’re experiencing constant sugar cravings, it’s likely that your body really needs more fats and protein. Every one of your body’s cells requires healthy fats and lean protein in order to function properly. Around 20% to 35% of your daily calorie intake should come from good quality protein sources including lean meat, dairy, beans, or eggs.

Fat is an important fuel that is needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Look for healthy, omega-3-rich foods such as fish, walnuts, and vegetable-based oils. Fats and protein help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you satisfied.

3 Medicinal Foods That Can Prevent Yeast Infections

In addition to the foods mentioned above, you can give your immune system a helping hand with specific anti-fungal foods. These are medicinal foods that have powerful anti-Candida properties.

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Garlic

Numerous studies have shown garlic to be an effective treatment for yeast and fungal infections, particularly Candida overgrowth. The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, has been shown to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans by disrupting the cells walls of the Candida yeast cells, preventing them from functioning properly.

Garlic is a powerful immune-booster and even helps to keep blood sugar levels in balance.[6]

Onion

Onions not only have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, they also improve your detoxification mechanisms. Onions are a fantastic prebiotic too, which is a type of ‘food’ for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Virgin Coconut Oil

This incredibly versatile oil is one of nature’s best anti-fungal medicines. Coconut oil contains both lauric acid and caprylic acid, which have been found to help inhibit Candida overgrowth. At the same time, coconut oil lends a hand to your immune system in fighting off other pathogenic microorganisms.

Coconut oil is great to use in frying or cooking, but you can also give yourself a dose straight off the spoon!

The Bottom Line

As you can see, you may not need a prescription from you doctor to prevent a Candida yeast infection. What helps yeast infections may be in your kitchen cupboard!

Simply take a close look at your diet and remove any foods that may be feeding the Candida yeast. Then, strengthen your immune system further by adding plenty of anti-fungal and probiotic foods to your diet.

You’ll find that nourishing your body from within not only makes you feel better, but will diminish your sugar cravings and – best of all – put an end to those yeast infections!

Featured photo credit: Shawn Fields via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Lisa Richards

Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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