Yeast overgrowth is thought to affect over 40 million Americans of all ages, but is most commonly associated with vaginal yeast infections in women. In the past, it was believed that vaginal yeast infections occurred locally and could be effectively eliminated with topical anti-fungal preparations. It is now understood that yeast overgrowth in the body, often referred to as Candidiasis, is actually caused by a breakdown in the balance of microorganisms that reside in our digestive tract. When the normal ratio of beneficial to harmful microorganisms shifts out of balance, the internal environment then becomes a fertile ground for Candida yeast to flourish. Those individuals with weakened immune systems or who suffer from intense stress are also susceptible to yeast overgrowth. The ingestion of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, alcohol, caffeine, immune suppressant medications including corticosteroids, and the over consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods, only add to the likelihood of yeast overgrowth.
Normally, fungi live in a healthy balance with other microorganisms including bacteria and yeasts, however, certain conditions can cause fungi to multiply, weakening the immune system and causing infection. Because fungi travel through the bloodstream to many parts of the body, varying symptoms may manifest including:
- gastrointestinal distress
- oral thrush
- food allergies
- ear and sinus irritation
- skin problems
- environmental sensitivities
- intense itching
- bowel disorders
WHAT IS CANDIDA?
Candida Albicans, is a single celled fungal yeast. Among the most prolific organisms on the planet, it is impossible to keep it out of your body. In a healthy person it does little harm because its population is kept in check by beneficial microorganisms (probiotics), which are, however, easily destroyed by antibiotics, many prescription medications, birth control pills, poor diet, and daily stress. These can cause the Candida yeast to grow out of control, producing chemicals that are toxic to the body.
A WORD ON DIET
To eliminate systemic yeast infections and to maintain a properly balanced and healthy internal environment, it is critical to reduce or in some cases eliminate the intake of the following foods: sweet foods containing processed sugar, carbohydrates (such as glutinous grains, pastas, breads and cereal products), alcohol, vinegar, fruits, aged cheeses, and soy products (as most contain anti-nutrients). These foods (especially sugars and carbs) feed the yeast that thrive in sugary environments and actually cause you to crave these very foods.
Eliminating foods that feed yeast and other unfriendly microorganisms is vitally important, but it is also necessary to base your diet on foods that build foundational health. These include: high quality protein from fish (preferably of deep sea origin), poultry, red meat and eggs. Also highly beneficial are lacto-fermented dairy products such as unsweetened whole milk yogurt and kefir (from goat’s milk, if possible), vegetables (with an emphasis on greens), healthy fats (including coconut oil, avocado and cod liver oil), organically produced butter or ghee, nuts and seeds in small amounts (better if soaked overnight, as they contain enzyme inhibitors making them difficult to digest in their raw state), nut and seed butters (with the exception of peanuts which are best avoided by those with compromised health), and vegetable oils (such as extra virgin olive, flax, hemp and pumpkin seed oils). Note: a small amount of the less sweet, deep colored berries may be consumed, as they are unsurpassed for their valuable antioxidant properties.
NATURE’S POWERFUL ANTI-FUNGAL COMPOUNDS
In addition to eating a proper diet for intestinal and immune system health, nature provides us with many excellent anti-fungal compounds.
HSOs: Usually we have a balance of approximately 85% good to 15% harmful organisms in the intestinal tract, but most of us today have the opposite ratio. Homeostatic Soil Organisms (HSOs) are highly stable, beneficial probiotic micro-organisms. Impervious to stomach acids, they crowd out pathogens, eliminating yeast, fungi and bad bacteria from the intestines.
ENZYMES: Candida research favorably supports the indispensable role of specific enzymes and their ability to literally digest Candida cell walls. Cellulase breaks down fibrous carbohydrates, while protease hydrolyzes (digests) protein. These two enzymes help breakdown the cell walls of yeast and other fungi.
WILD OREGANO AND OLIVE LEAF EXTRACTS: Wild Oregano and Olive Leaf Extracts are recognized for their potent anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic properties. Their primary fungicidal components work synergistically to help eliminate yeast and fungus on contact.
GARLIC AND YUCCA JUICE EXTRACTS: Known as Russian penicillin, Garlic is considered to be nature’s premier antibiotic and antifungal. It is effective against bacteria and yeast that may be resistant to antimicrobial medications, yet does not destroy the body’s normal, friendly flora.
A potent blood purifier, the juice from the Yucca root found predominantly in the desert Southwest, aids in digestion and produces surfactants which help to breakdown the lipid envelope that coats certain viruses and fungi including Candida.
COCONUT OIL: Coconut oil is one of nature’s premier anti-fungal foods. It contains medium chain fatty acids that help the body eliminate yeast. Coconut oil also supplies a rich amount of lauric acid providing significant anti-viral activity. As a cooking oil it is unmatched in its ability to tolerate a wide heat range without burning or scorching. For those with systemic yeast overgrowth, ingesting 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil daily is recommended.
Candida yeast infections may seem like a minor inconvenience that occurs in women a few times a year, but if left unchecked, long-term chronic fungal infections can lead to more serious system-wide disorders.
The ingredients listed in this article are contained in the anti-yeast product, Fungal Defense™ manufactured by Garden of Life. Along with a healthy diet, Fungal Defense can help to quickly and effectively eliminate yeast and fungal infections.
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