My mother's name is Candida. Candi for short (with an "i", not a "y"). Her name suits her as it is Latin for "dazzling white"; and if ever you meet my mother, you will no doubt notice that despite never undergoing any orthodontic care, she has Colgate perfect teeth, which enhance her dazzling smile - dimples and all. (Guapisima mi mami!)
Alas. If your nutritionist tells you, you've got a case of "candida" -- she's not referring to your dazzling white smile. There is simply nothing charming about having candida.
Candida is the overgrowth of yeast fungus in the gut. Generally, it is the result of a diet too low in fiber and too high in processed foods & refined sugar.
It is also a condition that has become much more prevalent as the use of antibiotics & the birth control pill has increased. These medications destroy friendly bacteria that normally keep the bad ones in check. As a result, the fungus multiplies unhindered.
Symptoms of excess yeast in the gut (or candida) include:
- cravings for sugar, bread or alcohol;
- indigestion or discomfort after eating fruits or sweets;
- severe reaction to perfume, tobacco and chemicals;
- rectal itching;
- coated or sore tongue;
- chronic sore or scratchy throat;
- feeling of being in a mental fog;
- feeling totally drained and tired despite getting adequate sleep;
- anxiety or depression;
- thrush, frequent yeast infections; athlete's foot or fingernail fungus.
Back in the day when my Sugar Beast was purring comfortably in its cozy gut-nest, I could definitely tick off at least 5 of the above symptoms.
It takes perseverance to eradicate a candida problem, as you're dealing with the very delicate microbiota of your gut. Bacteria's very nature is to act antagonistically so there is a "good vs evil" struggle happening constantly between the healthy and nasty bacteria in your gut.
Also, candida -- in and of itself -- is a symptom of a weak digestive and immune system. And stress is a big factor in creating the conditions for such weaknesses.
So the best thing is to work with a nutritionist to develop a programme tailored to your unique situation. Having said that, in my continuous efforts to help you trade up from coffee, may I introduce you to a tea made from the inner bark of the Pau d'Arco tree.
Pau d'arco - also known as Tabebuia - is quite effective at repressing candida and significantly reducing sugar cravings.
The Pau d'Arco bark has an active component called lapachol that packs a powerful anti-fungal punch. In laboratory studies, compounds extracted from pau d’arco showed antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and anticancer properties.
I really like this tea which is available in most health food stores and on iherb.
Next time on Thrive, we're going to be looking at solutions to curb those sugar cravings that emanate from stress. In the meantime, enjoy a cup of Pau d'Arco and flash that candida a dazzling smile of triumph!