According to Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine and nutrition, you are not what you eat; you are what you digest. Essential to the process of digestion are the fungi in the mouth and intestine. These fungi, including the fungi Candida, are necessary to break down food and help the body absorb nutrients. However, there is a delicate balance when it comes to these fungi in the microbiome. An overgrowth of the fungi Candida is a type of yeast infection. While Candida overgrowth is rarely serious and commonly treatable through diet and lifestyle changes, those with higher levels of this yeast and or a weakened immune system may experience more severe symptoms. Overtime, if left untreated, the overproduction can compromise the intestinal lining, resulting in leaky gut syndrome.
Any factor that upsets the balance of bacteria—both beneficial and harmful—in the gut can contribute to Candida. Antibiotics, birth control pills, acne treatments, exposure to harmful chemicals, and poor diet all can either kill good bacteria or feed bad bacteria. In terms of diet, Candida overgrowth is specifically linked to high-sugar diets, as this strand of yeast feeds off of sugar.
Signs of Candida vary by person, however there are many common symptoms. The gut is connected to all other systems of the body, but it is especially linked to the brain and immune system. As a result, fatigue, mood changes, “brain fog,” and sinus infections, vaginal infections, and skin or nail fungal infections are all common signs. Testing for Candida can occur in the doctor’s office or at home using saliva kits purchased online.
Treating Candida holistically involves understanding the root of the Candida symptoms. For those on medications like hormone contraceptives or antibiotics, speak to your doctor about alternatives. In general, following a low sugar diet is beneficial for all with Candida overgrowth in order to “starve off” the yeast. All refined sugar and processed carbohydrates including breads, pastas, crackers, and chips should be avoided completely. Additionally, it is recommended to limit fruit, especially high sugar fruits like bananas and mangos, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and taro root. Many anti-Candida diets call for the elimination of all grains and beans and suggest eating animal-based proteins, instead. Ayurveda typically recommends a vegetarian based diet, but at times does include animal products like ghee and organic, grass-fed meats. If you opt to include animal proteins, focus on the quality. Go for organic meats, pasture-raised eggs, and wild caught fish. If you are looking to treat Candida while upholding vegetarian standards focus on nuts and seeds for protein and keep grains and beans to ½ cup servings per meal. Be sure to consume ample amounts of healthy fats like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils, and a variety of low glycemic vegetables and leafy greens.
There are also several foods with particularly healing qualities that can be included in an anti-Candida protocol. All of these foods are antibacterial, antimicrobial, and help rebalance the levels of good and bad bacteria. Garlic, onions, asparagus, and artichokes are rich in prebiotics to feed the good bacteria. Apple cider vinegar, oregano oil, coconut oil, dandelion and milk thistle tea, and fermented foods all have cleansing properties. If you are not vegetarian, bone broth is a great ingredient for anyone with Candida to include. This is because bone broth not only nourishes the gut, but it also can help repair a compromised gut lining to help treat leaky gut symptom. It is rich in collagen, and soothing and gentle on digestion.
Finally, taking proper supplements helps to alleviate Candida symptoms and restore a healthy microbiome. YouVeda My Health Digestion is specifically formulated with a blend of Ayurvedic herbs, probiotics, enzymes, and multivitamins to holistically aid the digestive process. The key ingredients help regulate bowel movements and support the liver processes. Having a healthy liver is essential for supporting the body’s natural detoxification system in order to prevent fungi overgrowths like Candida. We recommend taking the My Healthy Digestion with your evening meal if you are seeking to treat or prevent Candida.
Bloating, gas, and indigestion can physically and energetically weigh us down. Our gut has been referred to as our “second brain,” as we have “gut feelings” that are a key source of intuition. Therefore, on both a physical and spiritual level it is important to implement practices to support a healthy gut. By implementing these diet and supplement suggestions, you can banish the bloat and quite literally feel more centered.