Tired of dealing with symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or low-grade allergies? If your digestive health has been lacking for a while, yeast could be the hidden villain. Yeast overgrowth can be a difficult condition to manage, but fortunately there are things you can do to help. The first step is to understand what yeast overgrowth is and how it may be affecting your gut health.
What Is Yeast Overgrowth?
Our gut consists of a large variety of microscopic organisms, which make up a complex system that helps with digestion, absorption and elimination. In the stomach live trillions of bacteria and yeast, both good and bad, that help maintain a balance in the gut.
Yeast (Candida albicans) is a type of fungus, and we all have small amounts of it in our bodies. But when gut balance is thrown off, yeast can begin to grow out of control. Yeast overgrowth, or candidiasis, is a condition that occurs when the yeast in your gut multiplies too much. It’s a common problem that can cause a variety of gut-related symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms
If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could be the result of yeast overgrowth:
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Skin problems like rashes or eczema
- Mood swings or brain fog
- Joint pain or muscle aches
- Recurring vaginal infections or urinary tract infections
- Nutrient deficiencies
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What Factors Can Lead to Yeast Overgrowth?
A healthy digestive system is filled with different strains of good bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bifidus, Bifidobacterium lactis and L. rhamnosus — all of which encourage yeast organisms to starve so they can't grow or out-compete other bacteria in your gut. When this delicate balance is thrown off, yeast can take off like wildfire.
Anything that upsets the natural balance of our body can cause candidiasis. A few common factors that throw off gut health include:
A diet high in sugar and refined carbs. Why? Sugar loves and feeds on yeast. One way yeast can overgrow is if you include an excess of high-sugar, starchy foods in your diet. A poor diet will also weaken your immune response, potentially leaving you susceptible to an overgrowth.
Another factor is a lack of good bacteria in the gut, which can happen if you take antibiotics or manage other illnesses with medications that wipe out all bacteria, good and bad. This creates an environment where yeast flourishes. Biological toxins, such as pesticides and heavy metals, can also alter our internal chemistry.
Leaky Gut Syndrome:
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that can cause yeast overgrowth because it allows proteins from food to enter into the bloodstream, which triggers an immune response from the body.
Healthy Eating: 5 Simple Tips to Improve Gut Health
There are a lot of ways to improve your gut health, but one of the most important things is to make sure that you're eating the right foods. And while there are many different opinions out there about what the best gut-healthy diet looks like, there are some general principles that everyone can benefit from following.
The first step is to reduce sugar and refined carbs in your diet. This includes white flour products like bread and pasta, as well as sweets, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Yeast loves sugar, so eliminating it from your diet will help to starve the Candida. In general, you want to focus on eating plenty of vegetables and whole grains. These foods contain key nutrients that are important for keeping your digestive system functioning properly.
1. Eat plenty of fiber
Fiber is a key part of a gut-healthy diet because it helps to keep your intestinal tract healthy and functioning properly. Good sources of fiber include vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, chickpeas, and lentils, to name a few.
2. Avoid sugar and processed foods
Sugary foods and processed foods can lead to an imbalance with your gut bacteria. Try to stick to clean sources of energy like nut butter, fresh fruit, and whole grains instead.
3. Fermented foods
Fermented foods are teeming with beneficial bacteria that can help combat yeast overgrowth. In addition to a daily probiotic supplement, it's important to make sure that you're getting enough probiotics through your diet as well. Probiotic-rich foods include kefir, yogurt with live active cultures, sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi.
4. Boost your intake of protein
Protein is essential for maintaining strong gut muscles and keeping your gastrointestinal tract healthy. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, plant-based proteins (such as chia seeds), and Greek yogurt. Dr Carolyn Dean MD ND, a leader in the natural health and wellness industry recommends this easy way to calculate your protein needs:
- Multiply your ideal body weight in pounds by 0.35. So if a healthy weight for you would be 110lbs you need 110 x 0.35 = 39g of protein a day.
5. Drink plenty of fluids
Replenishing yourself with fluids will help to flush out toxins and promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water or herbal tea daily.
What You Should Know About The Benefits Of Probiotics
Probiotics act as an important key to restore balance to the gut and fight off Candida overgrowth. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help keep your gut healthy by maintaining the right balance of good bacteria and providing nutrients that help balance the pH levels.
When searching for a probiotic formula, you want to be confident you are actually getting digestive support. To achieve this, make sure to choose a daily probiotic supplement created with soil-based strains. As the name implies, soil-based probiotics are created from bacterial strains that occur naturally in the soil.
Unlike traditional probiotics that “die off” when exposed to stomach acid, soil-based probiotics withstand the harsh environment of the stomach to deliver beneficial nutrients directly to the gut. They work by replenishing the good bacteria and keeping yeast levels in check. Taking a soil based probiotic is a safe and effective way to reduce yeast overgrowth and improve your overall health.
If you are struggling with gut issues, it is worth considering if yeast overgrowth might be the root cause. The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to naturally manage yeast and restore balance to your gut microbiome. By following the tips in this article, you'll be well on your way to a healthy gut.