How to Naturally Cure Candida Overgrowth - Nikki Yelton RD

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How to Naturally Cure Candida Overgrowth

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Candida albicans is the most common yeast found in the GI tract, yet trouble arises when overgrowth occurs. Luckily, treatments to naturally cure Candida overgrowth are effective and safe!

Foods, herbs, and spices that help to naturally cure candida overgrowth

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Candida overgrowth is arguably an epidemic in America, today. In fact, while many of us suffer from Candida overgrowth, the majority are completely unaware. Luckily, treatments to naturally cure Candida overgrowth are effective and safe!

WHAT IS CANDIDA? 

Candida is short for Candida Albicans, a fungus (form of yeast) that lives in your mouth and intestines. This fungus is a natural and healthy part of the body’s microbiome, in small amounts. In fact, it’s the most common yeast found in the human gastrointestinal tract. Yet, trouble arises when the body provides opportune conditions for overgrowth to occur.

In a normal and healthy gut microbiome, the good bacteria, bad bacteria, viruses, Candida and other yeast exist in a balanced state. In the body, Candida can grow out-of-control when there is not enough healthy bacteria to maintain a proper balance. As yeast increases, healthy bacteria decreases. The yeast takes over and balance is thrown out of whack. 

HOW DOES CANDIDA THRIVE AND SPREAD?

One of the main reasons Candida is able to get out of hand is because of its ability to change shape in effort to protect itself. This sneaky fungus knows exactly how to survive in its environment. The Candida yeast shifts from a rounded yeast cell to elongated hyphal cell.  Hyphal cells can actually move through the gut lining. This allows the yeast to continue to spread throughout your body. 

A huge factor that affects Candida overgrowth is the health of your microbiome and immune system. Candida grows when you don’t have enough healthy bacteria to keep the yeast at bay. As mentioned, the yeast competes with the bacteria in your gut, and if one is flourishing, the other is withering. 

Lifestyle practices and health conditions that allow candida yeast to thrive and spread
The following can cause the perfect environment for yeast like Candida to thrive:

Antibiotic use: Antibiotics kill not only the bad bacteria in your gut, but also the good. When you’re lacking good bacteria to put up a fight, yeast like Candida is able to thrive. 

Weakened immune system: Candida takes advantage of a weakened immune system, as your body is unable to fight off the yeast as efficiently or effectively. 

High dose estrogen birth control: High estrogen levels can trigger Candida overgrowth. It’s been shown that elevated estrogen levels and vaginal candidiasis are positively correlated. 

Diet high in refined carbs and sugar: The yeast uses sugar as its food source. When you eat a sugar filled diet, you are literally feeding the yeast, thus making it stronger and allowing it to thrive and spread.

Excess alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, meaning they can contribute to dehydration and lower immunity. 

Stress: As you likely know, stress wreaks havoc. High stress levels can bog down your immune system, contributing to an environment in which yeast thrives.

Heavy Metal Toxicity: It is impossible to avoid metals altogether but having an accumulation of metals such as aluminum and mercury in the body (due to environment and dental amalgams) can create gut imbalances. Candida often leaches to metals in the body causing an overgrowth of the yeast. 

Low Stomach Acid: Low stomach acid due to other gut infections, overusing antacids like tums, or taking PPIs can weaken the balance of hydrochloric acid in the gut which creates an optimal environment for candida overgrowth

SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA OVERGROWTH

Unfortunately, Candida overgrowth is extremely common in women (and men, too). Many of our common lifestyle and diet practices are to blame, such as: foods high in refined sugar, dehydration, excess alcohol and caffeine, poor sleep, chronic stress, etc. 

Common tell-tale signs of Candida overgrowth, include:
  • Skin and nail fungal infections
  • Oral thrush
  • White tongue or bad breath
  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Digestive issues like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Multiple food sensitivities 
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Skin issues like eczema, acne, psoriasis
  • Chronic urinary tract infections or vaginal yeast infections
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Strong sugar cravings 
  • Mood swings 
  • Weight loss resistance 
  • Yeast infections 
  • Athlete’s foot 

If you’re experiencing any combination of these signs and symptoms, it’s likely you have a yeast overgrowth that needs addressing. But have no fear! Despite the frequency of Candida overgrowth symptoms, it is possible to balance bacteria and yeast in the body to get rid of these symptoms for good.

HOW CANDIDA AFFECTS THE GUT & AUTOIMMUNITY 

As you may have guessed, Candida directly affects the gut, which therefore contributes to autoimmunity. 

When Candida cells switch to their hyphal shape, they pierce holes in the gut wall. This causes leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. Leaky gut allows pathogens to pass through the gut wall, which then increases inflammation as the immune system fights off these pathogens. As leaky gut continues, inflammation gets worse and your immune system becomes bogged down. This leads to autoimmune conditions.

Once you have an overgrowth of Candida, the yeast can also disrupt the mucus on your gut wall. The damaged mucus creates bacteria biofilms, which are groups of bacteria protected by a layer of film that attaches to the cell wall. This makes the unhealthy bacteria difficult to control, because they’re protected by the biofilm. 

HOW TO NATURALLY CURE CANDIDA OVERGROWTH

Candida Albicans feeds on sugar, which is why diet and nutrition plays such a large role in Candida overgrowth and other microbiome imbalances. When there is excess sugar in the body, Candida becomes greedy, helping itself to additional servings, daily. 

Fundamentally, the best and most effective way to naturally cure Candida yeast is to starve it of its food source (AKA sugar). It will then struggle to survive. It is also key to repopulate the good bacteria in your gut to fight off the overgrowth of yeast at the same time. 

Foods to limit and and to enjoy to naturally cure candida overgrowth
In the case of Candida overgrowth, it’s best to avoid the following sugar-filled foods, including:
  • Refined sugar: As I’ve said before, sugar feeds Candida. In order to starve the yeast, it is essential that you cut out refined sugar in your diet.
  • Processed foods: Processed foods tend to have a lot of hidden sugar, chemicals, and preservatives that contribute to an imbalanced microbiome. 
  • Grains: Grains are a form of sugar when it comes down to it. While carbohydrates are essential for energy, it’s best to stay away from carbs like grains, especially if they contain gluten. 
  • Conventional Dairy: Conventional dairy is extremely processed and the cows are often given antibiotics and hormones. Plus, the protein in milk called casein can be very difficult to digest for those with gut imbalances. 
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, squash, carrots): Starchy vegetables tend to have more natural sugar content than non-starchy veggies. 
  • FODMAPS: FODMAPS are certain types of carbohydrates that don’t digest properly in the gut, which causes GI distress. Some examples include beans, chickpeas, lentils, apples, peaches, asparagus, and cabbage. 
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a toxin and causes inflammation and lowers immunity, contributing to yeast’s ideal environment. 
  • Fermented foods: Although fermented foods are beneficial for the gut, there is a time and place to add them into your routine. Unfortunately fermented foods can make candida overgrowth more susceptible to bacteria imbalance and should be avoided until it is under control. 
Alternatively, focus on consuming whole foods that encourage microbiome balance and growth of healthy bacteria, like: 
  • Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, etc.)
  • Pasture-raised meats (chicken, beef, pork)
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Healthy fats (avocado, olives, coconut oil, ghee, nut butter)
  • Bone broth 
  • Raw garlic

Adopting a low-sugar, whole food diet is a great start to naturally starving off any Candida overgrowth. However, for additional Candida-fighting power, ask your healthcare practitioner about the use of supplementation, like: oil of oregano, caprylic acid, and probiotics. 

Top antifungal foods and herbal remedies for yeast removal and to treat candida overgrowth
TOP 10 ANTIFUNGAL FOODS 

In addition to foods that support your microbiome and health as a whole, there are specific anti-fungal foods that target and kill yeast naturally. I suggest incorporating these into your daily meals! It’s a delicious way to fight off Candida overgrowth. 

Garlic 

Garlic is not only delicious, but has strong antifungal properties! It can kill pathogenic bacteria while also keeping healthy bacteria intact. It also helps with natural detoxification as it boosts the lymphatic system, allowing your body to get rid of toxins more efficiently.

Onions

Onions are antifungal, antibacterial, AND anti-parasitic! This is super helpful in targeting Candida overgrowth. Plus, they also help flush fluids from the body as they support the kidneys which helps in detoxification. 

Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil contains lauric acid and caprylic acid, both which help destroy yeast like Candida albicans. It’s a powerful antifungal. You can either cook with it or practice oil pulling during your oral hygiene routine. Make sure you also use organic virgin coconut oil! 

Ginger 

Ginger is super healing and anti-inflammatory! It helps the liver flush toxins and supports the immune system! Candida attacks a compromised immune system so it’s very important to keep your immunity up. Ginger is also very soothing for the digestive system and can help with the irritation caused by Candida. 

Lemon 

Lemon can actually help your digestive system by aiding the muscles in moving waste along efficiently. An efficient digestive system is key when ridding the body of Candida overgrowth! I like adding lemon to my water every morning as part of my morning routine.  

Ceylon Cinnamon 

Ceylon cinnamon is an antifungal! It can also stabilize blood sugar, which is important for Candida because the yeast actually feeds on sugar. Ceylon cinnamon is “true” cinnamon and is more antifungal than cassia cinnamon, so look out for ceylon at the food store! 

Papaya Seeds

Papaya seeds are super powerful in killing the Candida and help destroy the parasite once and for all. It’s recommended to use papaya seeds at the later phase of healing Candida overgrowth, after the yeast cells have already been weakened. I like adding these to my smoothies and smoothie bowls! 

Turmeric

Turmeric is super flavorful, tasty, and very anti-inflammatory. It is effective in reducing fungus, and therefore inhibiting the growth of Candida. Adding it to any meal has wonderful health benefits and adds a ton of flavor!

Pau D’arco Tea

Pau D’arco tea contains naphthoquinones, which target bacteria, fungi, and parasites. It also contains lapachol, which has been shown to be as effective against Candida as pharmaceutical grade medication!

Olive Oil 

Olive oil is essential in a Candida healing protocol! It contains oleuropein, which supports the immune system and stabilizes blood sugar. Oleuropein is also a powerful antifungal! I love cooking with olive oil and using in as an ingredient in salad dressings.

5 HERBAL REMEDIES PROVEN TO SUPPORT CANDIDA REMOVAL

The best way to eliminate candida is to modify the diet while also initiating an antifungal and anti-candida herbal protocol. This is where I suggest working with a health practitioner who can help you with the right plan based on your unique chemistry! Below are a few remedies that can support candida removal. 

Berberine (Oregon Grape Root) 

Berberine can actually target and destroy Candida yeast, while keeping beneficial bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacter intact. According to scientific studies, it’s an effective natural treatment against Candida yeast. 

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil was shown to be most effective in killing Candida yeast. A compound of oregano oil called carvacrol is very effective in destroying yeast. It’s actually able to destroy five different types of Candida. 

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract has been shown to inhibit pathogenic Candida and its mechanisms for survival. This scientific study listed grapefruit seed extract as one of the plants with anti Candida properties.

Olive Leaf 

Olive leaf contains oleuropein, which has powerful antifungal properties against Candida. Studies show it’s able to target factors that the fungus needs in order to survive and inhibit it from growing. Plus, it’s rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. 

Caprylic acid 

According to a scientific study, caprylic acid was found to be effective at killing Candida yeast. There is caprylic acid in coconut oil! A remedy for oral thrush (candida overgrowth of the mouth) is oil pulling. This is when you swish coconut oil in your mouth for several minutes during your oral hygiene routine. 

THE BEST WAY TO NATURALLY CURE CANDIDA FOR GOOD

That said, the best way to naturally cure Candida for good is to test, not guess! I always recommend working with a functional medicine practitioner to identify your unique microbiome imbalances and create a custom plan of action. We use state of the art functional medicine testing to truly understand your unique chemistry and inform your path to healing with detailed and customized protocols.

If you think you may have an overgrowth of Candida albicans, it’s so important to have a plan to conquer the yeast before it gets out of control. For more information on my one-on-one programs, head to my programs page here

How to naturally cure candida overgrowth
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"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."

-Nikki Yelton, RD

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