You might not realise it, but we are quite simply covered in bugs. Yep, our bodies contain literally trillions of microorganisms inside and out – outnumbering our own cells by 10 to 1!
One of these microorganisms is a fungus called candida. Generally, these guys come and live on and in us in peace. But an overgrowth of candida can lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms.
Cue the candida diet – a meal regimen touted to alleviate the symptoms of candida overgrowth. But does it really work?
What is Candida?
There are around 150 known strains of candida commonly found on and in the human body – they usually call the mouth, skin, digestive tract, toenails and genitals home.
Some strains actually help out around the body, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption. But others, in large enough numbers, can wreak an all sorts of havoc on the body.
Science has linked candida overgrowth to yeast infections and oral thrush, sinus infections, fatigue, skin infections, UTIs, and digestive issues like nausea, bloating and IBS.
All sorts of things might fire up candida numbers or make an overgrowth worse. Diet, stress, antibiotics, certain types of birth control, other infections or a weakened immune system are all thought to be potential causes.
Unfortunately, diagnosis and treatment options for candida overgrowth and its symptoms are not particularly well studied or understood.
The Candida Diet
One piece of advice for treating candida overgrowth that does the rounds is the candida diet. This regimen sees followers ditch sugar, gluten, alcohol, certain dairy products and food additives, opting for low-sugar fruits, non-starchy veggies and gluten-free foods.
Overall, the candida diet is designed to reduce inflammation in the body and encourage healthy eating practices, that might give the body a boost, reducing the risk factors for candida overgrowth.
Does it work?
There’s little doubt that less sugar, less processed foods and less boozing can only be a good thing for your body long term. And the Candida Diet website is awash with testimonials supporting the regimen.
But to date, no studies have confirmed the diet’s effectiveness or otherwise.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of candida overgrowth problem and you can’t find relief, it could be worth giving the diet and try to see if it works for you. The diet’s proponents claim that people may experience relief in a matter of weeks, while others may need months to see improvement.
Remember, it’s really important to chat to your doctor about addressing other risk factors – especially another underlying infection – and to ensure you’re not doing more harm by cutting out nutritious food options like dairy and gluten unnecessarily.
If you’re thinking of giving the diet a go, watch out for our next post where we’ll break down the candida diet what-to-eats and what-to-avoids.