Taryn Hall-Smith who is the Director of The Contented Body www.thecontentedbody.com talks more about Candida this month and 12 ways to avoid it.
12 Ways to Avoid Candida
There are a number of factors that can disrupt the balance of organisms in our intestines and lead to the overgrowth of Candida. Yeast infections have opportunities to take hold when our body systems become imbalanced. Understanding the importance of these imbalances allows you to be proactive in preventing this pathogenic organism taking over your digestive tract and damaging your health.
To avoid this imbalance you should:
1.Identify and heal any food intolerances – food intolerance is a risk factor for Candida, as well as for other illnesses. Identifying and healing food intolerances should be a priority in the avoidance of Candida. When food intolerance is present, food is often not digested properly in our intestines, sometimes because of enzyme deficiencies, resulting in food fermenting in the intestine, causing yeast reproduction.
2. Eat a healthy diet – a diet high in sugar, alcohol, starches, fermented foods, and sweets (even sweet fruits like melons and grapes) is a risk factor for the development of Candida since these foods provide fuel for the yeast organisms. Although our bodies do need some sugars to survive we do not need refined sugar since we can get all we need from the components of a healthy diet, for example fruits, vegetables and grains.
3. Avoid alcohol - excess alcohol can directly destroy friendly bacteria and allow yeast to grow. Beer can be a particular problem not because of the yeast but because of its maltose content. Maltose is a potent sugar that can feed yeast cells very quickly. This does not mean that hard spirits or wine in excess are any safer – regular or excessive use of any type of alcohol can place you at risk of developing Candida.
4. Drink filtered water – avoid drinking unfiltered tap water since it is high in chlorine which has been found to destroy friendly intestinal bacteria, thereby allowing Candida to grow.
5. Use antibiotics only when absolutely unavoidable – the use of broad spectrum antibiotics is probably the single most important factor in the development of Candida. These medications don't discriminate between friendly and pathogenic bacteria. This means that every time you take antibiotics for an infection you are wiping out large numbers of the friendly bacteria in your intestines that give protection from other, potentially harmful, intestinal residents such as Candida. Because antibiotics are so widely and commonly used there is an assumption that they are a magic bullet without side effects. This is absolutely not the case - there ARE side effects and these side effects can be significant because of the disturbance they cause to gut flora and subsequently to the overall health of the individual.
6. Use alternative methods of birth control (and hormone therapy) - oral birth control pills mostly consist of the hormone estrogen. Supplemental estrogen in this synthetic form has been found to promote the growth of yeast. This is because they cause a surge in hormones, particularly in estrogen, which leads to higher sugar levels, which feed yeast and the Candida problem.
7. Minimize stress - stress can cause yeast growth for several reasons. Stress causes the release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can depress the immune system and also raise blood sugar. The elevation in blood sugar can feed the yeast cells allowing them to grow quickly. The depression in immune function will leave the body defenseless against the sudden elevation in yeast. These two reactions happen simultaneously as cortisol levels increase allowing the Candida to proliferate. Try to avoid becoming over-worked, over- tired, or over-stressed.
8. Minimize your exposure to toxins and chemicals - the environment you live in can play a big role in the development of Candida especially if you are exposed to toxic metals, fumes, smoke, pollution, or in direct contact with various chemicals. This is because your immune system can become overloaded which will allow yeast to grow more easily. Buy organic food and chemical-free products to minimize your exposure to harmful toxins.
9. Avoid constipation - constipation can be a factor in the development of Candida. If you become constipated, then this is an ideal environment for Candida to begin to grow. A digestive tract which is constipated is slow moving and becomes very alkaline, and an alkaline environment is exactly what Candida likes best. The more alkaline the digestive tract the happier the Candida becomes and the more it spreads.
10. Be aware of the effect of certain medications: - immune-suppressants and NSAIDS create the perfect environment for Candida to thrive, and also increase the glucose levels in your blood which further feeds the Candida. Antacids have a similar effect because they often contain high amounts of sugar, which also serve to feed Candida. Discuss with your doctor whether these medications are essential for you and also what alternatives there are.
11. Avoid Parasites & Intestinal Worms - both of these are more common than most people would think. Some researchers have estimated that over 85% of all people living in North America and Canada have parasites. Parasites can be large worm-like creatures or small microscopic organisms. Both types destroy friendly bacteria in the intestines making yeast overgrowth possible. It is not necessary to recommend that you avoid these organisms since no-one would ever choose to have them but if you suspect you may be suffering from parasites then do not hesitate in being tested and treated.
12.Manage your hypothyroid - low thyroid is very common in cases of Candida since the thyroid gland has an important effect on the immune system and also helps the digestive system operate correctly. If you suffer from low thyroid discuss with your healthcare professional the best strategies to maintain good thyroid hormone levels.