Parasites frequently contaminate food and water supplies, promoting illness when ingested. Other modes of transmission include air, insects, animals or other people. Intestinal parasites tax the immune system and deplete the body of essential nutrients. To return the body to a state of equilibrium, it is important to consume natural foods that contain anti-parasitic properties. The diet should also be high in fiber to improve colon function, and maintain a suitable intestinal flora (beneficial bacteria).
Gut Friendly Foods
Parasitic infections show up in the human body when the immune system is compromised. This is frequently associated with an overgrowth of bad bacteria, and a lower percentage of good bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. Include plain yogurt enriched with healthy bacteria in your diet to replenish intestinal flora. According to Larry Trivieri and John W. Anderson in their book "Alternative Medicine: the Definitive Guide," fiber-rich ingredients are essential to flush out parasites embedded in the intestinal wall. To help remove a parasitic infestation, use a combination of pumpkin seeds, papaya extract, flaxseeds, beet root, citrus pectin and psyllium husks.
According to Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, author of the book "Guess What Came to Dinner: Parasites and Your Health," certain foods are anti-parasitic. These include pineapple, papaya, pomegranate and blackberries. These fruits can be eaten, pressed as fresh juice or consumed in supplement form to combat parasites. Drink up to four glasses of pomegranate juice daily for an anti-parasitic effect. Each glass should contain eight ounces of pomegranate juice; to avoid irritating the intestines, limit consumption to four or five days at a time. Pineapple contains the digestive enzyme bromelain and helps to clear certain parasitic infections, such as tapeworms. Papaya seeds contain enzymes that help to digest protein.
Foods renowned for their general anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties include onions, garlic, raw cabbage and kelp. To ward off intestinal parasites, consume two cloves of raw garlic daily. Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the book "Ultraprevention," also recommends various herbs and extracts, including oil of oregano, citrus seed extract, berberine and caprylic acid. A natural source of caprylic acid is coconut oil, composed of medium-chain fatty acids that have shown anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties. Oil of oregano, according to the authors of the book "Healing Foods," contains two powerful anti-microbial agents known as thymol and caryacrol. These substances have shown to be more effective in treating certain infections than the commonly prescribed drug tinidazole.
Anti-parasitic Nuts and Seeds
Ground almonds and pumpkin seeds are great additions to the diet for their anti-parasitic effects. Almonds help cleanse and discourage intestinal parasite growth. According to a study conducted by Desrivot et al, published in "The Journal of Ethnopharmacology" in January 2007, the anti-parasitic effect exhibited by almonds may be related to the high concentration of fatty acids. Almonds also have a soothing effect and help to reduce intestinal irritation. Authors of the book "Alternative Medicine: the Definitive Guide" suggest adding fresh pumpkin seeds to an anti-parasitic diet. The compound curcurbitin found in pumpkin seeds is responsible for the reported anti-parasitic activity. Consume up to one ounce of pumpkin seeds a day.