Headaches, extreme fatigue and dizziness – sounds like the way many Londoners feel after their daily commute, but if you’re experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis there could be something more serious at play: yeast. It doesn’t exactly sound menacing, but when the yeast in your body grows out of control it can have a massive impact on your health.
This was a lesson I learned the hard way when I found myself experiencing the symptoms above along with a sudden host of food intolerances, hives and more.
The cause was candida albicans, a yeast that occurs naturally in our immune systems and is healthy when kept in check by good bacteria. However, various lifestyle factors and medications including a high sugar and carbohydrate diet, stress and antibiotics can affect the balance, allowing candida to thrive.
With the fast-paced London lifestyle it’s easy to see why many people may be affected by candida. If you suspect you are I advise seeing a nutritional therapist, but generally you’ll have to follow a strict anti-candida elimination diet.
So long sugar, bye bye beer… Refined sugars and carbohydrates have to go, which means no more chocolate and cakes, or even white bread, pasta or rice. Stimulants including caffeine and alcohol should be cut out, and even fruit is best avoided initially.
Many candida sufferers develop food intolerances thanks to ‘leaky-gut syndrome’, with lactose, wheat and gluten key offenders, so these may also have to be cut out of your diet.
At this point you may be wondering: what can I eat? It’s pretty daunting at first but the key is to eat as many fresh, unprocessed and natural foods as possible. Fill up on vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains – there are so many ‘free-from’ options available now you can even swap your cheese for Cheeze if you want to.
To avoid hidden sugars your best bet is to cook from scratch as much as possible, and head to a health food store for more niche products. Whole Foods Market, Kensington is a veritable mecca for people following a special diet, packed with weird and wonderful foods that can be pricey but are always worth it.
To support the diet you’ll also need some quality supplements: anti-fungals such as caprylic acid will kill off the yeast while a high strength probiotic will help restore healthy bowel flora. You can find both in your local NutriCentre.
Eliminating candida can seem an intimidating process, but with a lot of commitment you can get healthy again. Do not start an elimination diet or supplement programme without the support of a nutritional therapist or medical professional.
For more information on candida please check out my blog.
Image by Jade Gordon