You’ve probably heard of candida before. We all naturally carry around a small amount of candida albicans yeast in our gut.
Most of the time we peacefully coexist with the yeast, but if the candida begins to grow—say because of a suppressed immune system or certain drugs—it can cause infections in different parts of the body.
A debate has raged for years about how common hidden candida overgrowth actually is, and what ill effects the undetected overgrowth may have on our health, especially if we have a compromised immune system. But there’s no doubt some folks do fall victim to candida.
Common candida symptoms
Commonly reported candida overgrowth symptoms include…
- Brain fog
- Gas and bloating
- Bad breath
- Joint pain
- Cravings for sweet foods
- Loss of libido
- Chronic urinary tract infections
But one of the biggest controversies surrounding candida is what its link is to cancer.
You see, candida infections are fairly common in folks who are suffering with… and being treated for … cancer. For years most researchers believed the yeast was simply taking advantage of cancer patient’s already compromised immune systems.
But some experts have theorized that the yeast may actually play a role in the development or progression of certain cancers. And now a new study has added fuel to that theory. According to research published in the journal Critical Reviews in Microbiology, candida is capable of promoting cancer.1
Research into the connection is just beginning, and a lot more needs to be done before we totally understand the relationship between the yeast and cancer. But there’s no reason to wait around for those results. There are antifungal foods that can help you keep the upper hand against candida now.
Curb candida with yeast-busting foods!
Following are our three favorite candida-fighting foods…
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of coconut oil around here. Lucky for us this awesome oil is a natural antifungal. Coconut oil is rich in capric and lauric acids, both of which can help put up a fight against candida.
In a Nigerian study, seventeen different strains of candida where shown to be susceptible to coconut oil.2 In another study, capric acid quickly, and effectively, annihilated three different strains of candida by targeting their cell wells. And in the same study lauric acid was shown to be quite effective at killing the yeast in lower concentrations.3
Coconut oil is affordable, has a long shelf life and is great for cooking (it’s super heat stable, meaning no unhealthy trans fats to worry about). Look for a high-quality, virgin organic oil and aim for two to three tablespoons a day.
Garlic can do double duty in the fight against candida. This delicious spice, which is naturally rich in bug-busting allicin4 and diallyl disulfide, is a natural antifungal.
In an in vitro study, published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, researchers showed that fresh garlic is active against particularly hard to kill candida albicans biofilms.5,6 And diallyl disulfide has been shown to deplete the glutathione in candida, effectively killing the fungus.7
To get the most out of your garlic be sure to choose organic and eat some of it uncooked. When using garlic in cooking you can boost its effectiveness by letting it sit for at least ten minutes after crushing or mincing it to increase its allicin content, and make it more stable during cooking.
We’ve told you before about the humble horseradish’s ability to combat cancer. (If you missed that article click here to catch up.) Now you have another reason to add horseradish to your menu, it’s a natural antifungal, and an effective candida killer.
Similar to garlic, horseradish targets the glutathione in candida cells, rapidly killing them, according to a study published in the Journal of Basic Microbiology.8
To harness horseradish’s candida-slaying ability avoid the grocery store junk, which is typically packed with sugar (both candida and cancer thrive on sugar), and make your own using fresh horseradish root (you’ll find a recipe here) instead. Stir some homemade horseradish into burgers, meatloaf, tuna salad, deviled eggs or even mashed cauliflower.
1. “Candida albicans and cancer: Can this yeast induce cancer development or progression?,” Critical Reviews in Microbiology, Volume 42, 2016 – Issue 2
2. “In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria,” J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7
3. “In Vitro Killing of Candida albicans by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides,” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2001 Nov; 45(11): 3209–3212
4. “Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic,” Microbes and Infection, 2, 1999, 125−129
5. “Effects of Fresh Garlic Extract on Candida albicans Biofilms,” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Jan; 49(1): 473
6. “Understanding biofilm resistance to antibacterial agents,” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2, 114-122 (February 2003)
7. “Diallyl disulphide depletes glutathione in Candida albicans: oxidative stress-mediated cell death studied by two-photon microscopy,” Yeast. 2007 Aug;24(8):695-706
8. “Glutathione protects Candida albicans against horseradish volatile oil,” J Basic Microbiol. 2016 Jun 7.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.