The yeast-like fungus candida is one of the many microbes that resides in your body. Normally, it does not cause any serious health issues, but overgrowth can result in infections of the vagina, mouth and gastrointestinal tract. The idea that systemic yeast growth -- growth throughout the body -- causes depressed immunity, acne and a wide range of other conditions has not been founded. What you eat and do not eat can help curb candida growth, as some foods naturally contain components that fight fungus.
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Coconut oil, rich in a variety of fatty acids, has a reputation as a antimicrobial food able to kill a variety of bacteria, fungus and viruses. A study appearing in the June 2007 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food" tested the effects of coconut oil on 54 different strains of candida, including Candida albicans, the type that most commonly resides in the body. Researchers found virgin coconut oil highly effective against this strain particularly and researchers concluded this treatment has merit as an anti-fungal agent for candida infections. If you decide to add coconut oil to your diet, you must compensate for its high fat content by reducing other types of fat in your diet or you could experience unwanted weight gain.
Garlic has long been known for its anti-fungal properties and alternative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil recommends eating one raw clove -- not bulb -- of garlic daily to fight off candida. An article appearing on American Society for Microbiology's website notes research has shown fresh garlic was effective against Candida albicans. If you find consuming garlic unpalatable, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking its equivalent in supplement form, which should contain 4,000 to 5,000 mg of the active component allicin.
Yoghurt contains a rich store of the friendly bacteria that naturally reside in your body and help fight overgrowth of candida and other harmful microbes. The Mayo Clinic reports small studies have shown women who ate yoghurt reported they suffered fewer yeast infections than they previously did, though it notes these studies did not have controls, meaning there was no group of women not doing this to use as a comparison. The University of Maryland Medical Centers reports some studies have found benefits while others have not.
Anti-Fungal Herbs and Spices
Many herbs and spices have fungicidal properties and the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends adding them to your diet to fight candida. They include oregano, cinnamon, sage and clove.
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- University of Maryland Medical Center: Candidiasis
- "Journal of Medicinal Food"; In Vitro Antimicrobial Properties of Coconut Oil on Candida Species in Ibadan, Nigeria.;Ogbolu DO et al; June 2007
- Mayoclinic.com; Vaginal Yeast Infections Lifestyle and Home Remedies; May 18, 2010
- Weil; Concerned About Candidiasis?; Andrew Weil, M.D.; Oct. 25, 2002
- American Society for Microbiology; Effects of Fresh Garlic Extract on Candida albicans Biofilms ; January 2005