Candida: What You Need to Know
Candida and candidiasis have been pop phrases in the natural health space for at least a couple of decades. Even I have fallen victim to the fear that comes with self diagnosing a candida infection and then trying to treat it on your own!
All the information out there can be overwhelming, so I want to clear the air about candida infections – common candida infection symptoms, what kinds of tests you can use to get clear results (because self diagnosing is not the way to go), and some dietary tips to get you started on your healing journey.
What is Candida?
Candida albicans is a fungus that can be found on the skin, in different orifices, and in the gut. It can cause symptoms even if there isn’t a major presence detected in the system.
I talk a lot about microbes being beneficial under certain circumstances. Theoretically we don’t need any fungus growing in our system, so candida is NOT one of those friendly microbes we can get along with.
When the fungus is present some of the symptoms we experience are:
- Oral thrush, which looks like white patches inside the mouth and on the tongue
- Jock itch
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Excessive sugar or carbohydrate cravings
- Chronic fatigue
- Pimples and acne on the face, chest, and back
- Digestive problems like bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea
There are many places candida can show up on the body and it can look a lot of different ways, but for now we’re focusing on candida that overgrows in the gut.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
Several things can increase the risk of candida overgrowth in your gut:
- Poor digestion and lack of stomach acid and digestive enzymes
- A high sugar or high carb diet
- Taking antibiotics
- Having a compromised immune system
- A Crohn’s disease diagnosis
If these symptoms and lifestyle factors sound familiar it may be tempting to run off and start the next candida cleanse you come across. But in order to make sure candida is REALLY the issue, and it’s not some other bacterial or parasitic infection, it’s important to test.
Testing for Candida Albicans
Like I always say, “Don’t guess, test!”
Because the common symptoms and risk factors associated with candida are also associated with other infections or disorders, and because candida may not be the only imbalance you have going on, you’ll want to skip the self-diagnosis and get some reliable testing done to be sure that Candida is your culprit.
When I work one-on-one with clients and we run our comprehensive gut health panel, which is a stool test, candida is one of the pathogens we test for. Getting a clear view of the big picture can help build an even more effective protocol that takes care of everything all at once.
Common tests for candida include stool and urine tests. But if your results come back as testing positive for candida, you STILL shouldn’t run off and join a candida cleanse commune!
Treatment for Candida
It’s ideal to work with a practitioner to make sure you’re taking the best approach to get rid of your candida for good. Everyone’s body is different and if you do have other imbalances going on, you’ll want to address those as well.
You also want to build healthy habits so it doesn’t come back!
If you’re working with a doctor they may prescribe an anti-fungal medication for you. When I work with clients we use diet and food-based supplements to get the job done.
Candida can be stubborn, so the most important thing to do is follow a truly effective protocol so you can get rid of the overgrowth for good and make sure it stays gone.
Candida and Your Diet
The most natural way to deal with a Candida infection – and make sure it doesn’t keep coming back – is to look at your diet.
If you think you may have a candida imbalance in the body, you’ll need to be mindful of what you put into your body. It’s important to avoid anything that will feed the infection, and add in foods that will help to rebalance your gut.
First, cut out refined carbohydrates and sugar. Candida loves to feed on glucose, so by depriving it of its fuel source you’ll begin to starve it out.
Next, cut out alcohol. Again, candida feeds on sugars and glucose and it’s also perpetuated by consuming yeast.
That means you’ll also want to cut out other yeast containing foods like bread, kombucha, and even nutritional yeast.
Add in coconut products like coconut oil, dried unsweetened coconut, and coconut milk. Coconut contains an antifungal compound called acrylic acid which is helpful in fighting against candida.
Add in a high-quality probiotic and of course, drink plenty of water and get good rest to allow your body to begin the healing process.
And as always, remember to load up on fresh vegetables and gut-healthy foods to support good gut health!
If you want more guidance on what you should be eating, make sure to download my free 101 Gut Healing Foods list. Different foods can affect your health both positively and negatively….but small adjustments can lead to big changes!
With this list of 101 foods, you’ll know exactly what to eat to improve digestion, reduce bloating, and build a healthy gut – without giving up the foods you love! Get it here now.