Candida is often associated with vaginal yeast infections, but it can affect the digestive system just as often. When candida gets out of control, it can cause a host of health issues, ranging from diarrhea to food allergies. If you are diagnosed with candida, it is important to reduce your sugar intake to starve the yeast. Some health experts believe it is also important to cut out caffeine as a part of an anti-candida diet. See your doctor to determine the best course of action for you.
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Candida is an overgrowth in the body of a yeast called candida albicans, according to nutritionist Lori Rice in her book, "The Everything Guide to Food Remedies." This yeast is normally present in the body, but an overgrowth can occur due to a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, birth control pills, antiobiotics and stress. The overgrowth can produce toxic byproducts that impact the immune system and may affect tissues. Oral thrush shows up as a yellow-coating on the tongue, and vaginal yeast infections usually provoke a yellowish discharge from the vagina. Other symptoms of candida include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, weight gain and depression.
If you are dealing with candida overgrowth, you should stop drinking caffeine, according to Louise Tenney and Rita Elkins in their book, "Candida Albicans: A Nutritional Approach." This is due to the fact that caffeine destroys vitamin B-1, inositol, biotin, potassium and zinc, and it can hinder the assimilation of calcium and iron. All of these nutrients are important in aiding the immune system and fighting candida. Health educator Lewis Harrison states in his book "Healing Depression Naturally" that one cup of a caffeinated beverage can kill up to 75 percent of friendly bacteria in the colon.
There are certain other beverages that you should avoid if you are dealing with candida, according to nutritionist Pat Connolly in her book, "The Candida Albicans Yeast-Free Cookbook." These include all alcoholic beverages, many of which contain yeast and all of which contain sugar. Also, avoid milk products, as they contain the sugar lactose, fruit juices and coffee. Drinks you should focus on include filtered water, and herb teas such as pau d'arco, which is considered antifungal, and lemon grass.
Candida is not necessarily an easy condition to diagnose, so be sure to check with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms. Since it shares symptoms with other conditions, you may be suffering from something else besides candida. When working with candida, it is important to eat foods containing probiotics to help balance flora in your system. Other dietary changes may be necessary besides cutting out caffeine.