Our gut is a delicate ecosystem that drives most of the body’s processes. Our digestive system does a lot to protect us from diseases, and yeast can either help (or hinder) the way our guts work.
Our immune systems rely on a healthy amount of good bacteria in our gut to help us fight infection. The flora of our gut either provides harmful bacteria with a welcome environment to settle into, or a hostile one.
Certain foods we eat (often processed foods containing sugar and starch) allow dangerous bacteria to fester in our guts and cause an abundance of yeast to build up in the body. Yeast overgrowth in your guts can result in many painful and unpleasant symptoms, and could even harm your long-term health if left untreated.
This post will tell you everything you need to know about the role yeast plays in your health and wellbeing.
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All bacteria are not created equal. The vast majority of strains keep our planet’s ecosystem functioning correctly. Good bacteria is often found in foods and is designed to help all living beings recycle nutrients from the environment.
There are, however, many bacteria strains (known as pathogens) that are harmful to humans.
N.B. Not all of the sources of bacteria in our systems come from the foods we eat.
Harmful bacteria, for instance, can remain in the system long after treatment courses of antibiotics have ended. Even things we take on a regular basis can cause us issues: an overgrowth of fungal infestation is a side effect of the contraceptive pill. Pathogens can also be airborne.
Harmful bacteria are everywhere, but our gut is the central battleground where bad bacteria can start to take hold and wreak havoc on the body.
We, therefore, need to ensure that we consume enough good bacteria to counteract the bad guys and prevent a build-up of harmful yeast developing in our gut.
Many common foods contain live cultures of good bacteria. Lactobacillus is the most common strain which most people know is found in natural yogurt. Probiotics found in natural yogurts are added after the pasteurization process.
Natural yogurts contain added lactobacillus in quantities upwards of 100 million live cultures per gram. Kefir is another popular dairy product. It’s like drinkable yogurt, and it is also packed with Lactobacillus cultures.
Sauerkraut and other fermented foods, like kombucha and kimchi, are an excellent source of probiotics and vitamins A, E, and C. Pickled foods contain leuconostoc mesenteries and lactobacillus bacteria. You can ferment many types of vegetable as a way to preserve them for longer — with added health benefits.
For instance, carrots, beetroot, cauliflower, and tomatoes all retain their vital nutrients in the fermentation process, and pickles are easy to prepare yourself at home.
Food manufacturers can also add live cultures to their products to make them appeal to a broader audience. For example, you can find healthy live cultures in some brands of honey, dark chocolate, milk, whey protein, and almonds. Look for labels that say ‘raw’ or ‘naturally fermented’ to check if it could be a good source of probiotics.
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Healthy bodies contain a controlled amount of Candida albicans cultures in the gut.
However, certain foods can contribute to an overgrowth of this strain, resulting in fungal infections. An abundance of yeast in the system can lead to some knock-on symptoms ranging from itchy hives to feelings of chronic fatigue.
Many of the processed, high sugar foods we see on the supermarket shelves are packed with ingredients that can contribute to symptoms of candida. These foods include processed luncheon meats, some dairy products, high sugar fruits, glutinous grains, tuna and processed sugar. Sugar is found in all sorts of processed foods, even ones that are salty in flavor like condiments and crackers.
Nutritionists recommend that patients suffering severe candida symptoms implement a special diet that acts to reduce the growth of Candida albicans in the gut. Through a series of at home tests and an eating plan that lasts up to four months, you can inhibit the overproduction of yeast in the body and feel a lot healthier.
Restrictive diets can play an essential role in getting a yeast infection under control. However, if you are looking to change your diet, you should first check your plan with your physician. In the long-term, you will need to make sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet, and you may need to find out if you have any food intolerances or allergies.
For example, with some candida plans, starchy vegetables like yams are recommended, whereas some nutrition plans keep starchy foods at the bare minimum. You can also restore the microflora of your gut in check with plans like the GAPS diet, Autoimmune Paleo and the Specific Carbohydrate diet. Supplementary herbal remedies you can buy from your local health foods store can also be beneficial in treating candida symptoms. Check out Pau d’Arco tea, oregano oil, and grapeseed extract.
If this is the first time you have heard about Candida, don’t worry, it is a common condition, and it is not life-threatening.
People with persistent or recurring fungal infections should go to their doctor. Over-the-counter pills and topical creams can cure mild infestations and help eliminate the painful and smelly symptoms. However, bear in mind that your diet may contribute to the overproduction of Candida albicans in your digestive system.
Other pathogens including Saccharomyces Cerevisiae and Cryptococcus Albidus are also found in baking yeast. These ever-present bad bacterias are a feature of our daily lives and hard to avoid.
This is why we need to pay close consideration to our diets as the best means of protecting our long-term health.
EHI Primary Care is run by Cathy, a 20-something fitness guru and yoga enthusiast. This is my blog, where I cover all sorts of topics around my healthy lifestyle.