Most of us women know about yeast overgrowth. This is by no means a fun topic, but it’s well…there. After all, at some point in your adult life, you’ve probably had a vaginal infection caused by yeast overgrowth. Another common type of yeast infection is oral thrush, an inflammation of the mouth and throat. Yeast overgrowth can affect the entire body, as well, leading to an array of health problems. Even more surprising, many people have chronic multi-systemic yeast infections that go undiagnosed for years or even an entire lifetime, leading to many health problems that diminish quality of life, and are horribly annoying.
Just What Is Yeast, Anyway?
Most people are familiar with yeast. In cooking, it is a leavening agent that you buy in little packages at the grocery store. Known as baker’s yeast, is just one type of around 600 species of yeast, which is a type of single-celled fungus. The yeast that commonly occurs in the human body is called Candida albicans, which is different from but related to baker’s yeast.
By the way, nutritional yeast, which is a B-vitamin and amino acid-rich ingredient I use and recommend in dressings and recipes, is the genus and species Saccharomyces cerevisiae and does not contribute to Candida.
Yeast and Your Body
Almost every body has some yeast in and on it. It’s found in oral cavities, the digestive tract, and even on the skin. In a healthy biological system, the presence of helpful bacteria keeps yeast in balance. If you’ve ever taken a course of antibiotics and then suffered a yeast infection, then you are aware of some of the consequences that occur when your body gets out of balance. Post-antibiotic yeast infections occur because antibiotics kill off more than just the harmful bacteria in your body. They also kill beneficial bacteria. The result is often Candida overgrowth.
Post-antibiotic yeast infections manifest as a sudden onset acute infection with a well-known culprit, but many other factors may predispose you to chronic yeast overgrowth, or candidiasis.
- Medications other than antibiotics such as steroids, birth control pills, and other prescription meds
- Dietary factors
- A weak or compromised immune system
- Toxins in food, drink, and your environment
- Chlorine in tap water
- Chemical sensitivities
So, if you don’t have an active yeast infection, how can you tell if you are suffering from chronic candidiasis? People with chronic yeast overgrowth present with multiple symptoms.
- Tiredness after eating
- Constipation, diarrhea, or other forms of bowel irregularities
- Feelings of anger, depression, aggression, or anxiety after eating
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Cravings for simple carbohydrates
- Anal itching
- Skin infections
- Memory loss
- Night sweats
- Food allergies
- Feeling “drunk” after a high simple carb meal
- Repeated fungal infections like jock itch or athlete’s foot
- Joint pain
- Sensitivity to extreme environments
- Chronic pain
- Acid reflux
Candida albicans overgrowth may be a major player in a number of health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, alcoholism, anxiety disorders, food allergies, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and a host of other autoimmune conditions.
Do You Have a Yeast Problem?
While you can go to your doctor for a yeast test, sometimes these tests do not always detect a problem. There is a simple, at-home test you can perform to determine whether yeast may be an issue for you. Commonly called the “spit test,” it requires you to spit into a glass of room temperature bottled water the very first thing in the morning before you put anything in your mouth (including your toothbrush). Check the water every 15 minutes or so. If you have a potential yeast problem, you will notice one of several things:
- The saliva will have strings extending in the water,
- The saliva will remain as cloudy drops suspended in the water, and/or,
- Cloudy saliva will sink to the bottom of the glass.
If the saliva remains floating after a full hour with no strings, then candida is probably not a problem for you.
Controlling Candida – The Yeast/Diet Connection
Diet plays a significant role in yeast control. Yeast thrives on certain foods you eat, including sugar, vinegar (except for apple cider vinegar), alcohol, and simple carbohydrates. When you ingest foods containing these ingredients, the yeast in your body feeds on them and can quickly grow out of control. To help control Candida, eliminate the following foods:
- All forms of sugar, including honey and fructose (especially agave)
- Processed foods
- Inorganic produce
- Anything containing artificial ingredients or chemicals (including diet soda)
- Wheat, rye, farrow, and barley
- Simple carbohydrates like bread, white rice, and pasta which immediately break down to simple sugars in your body
- Dairy products, which contain both simple sugars and antibiotics from processing
- Alcoholic beverages
- Animal products, which rely heavily on the use of antibiotics
- Soy, which can throw off your hormonal balance and lead to yeast overgrowth
- Yeast fermented foods, like wine and beer
It is important, as well, to minimize any prescription medications you take and select a source of non-chlorinated water. If you believe birth control pills are contributing to hormonal imbalance that supports yeast overgrowth, then switch to a non-hormonal form of birth control.
The Beauty Detox Solution offers an ideal diet to help you control candida. In the Blossoming Beauty phase, you eat a diet that is free of foods that support yeast. Instead, you rely on raw fruits and vegetables, as well as unprocessed, gluten-free whole grains. If you do eat meat during the Blossoming Beauty phase, choose locally grown, antibiotic-free animal products.
Building “Good” Bacteria
The other way to keep yeast in check is by supporting growth of the beneficial bacteria in your intestines. Eat my Probiotic and Enzyme Salad a few times per day, which contains beneficial bacteria to repopulate your intestines. If you don’t want to make the salad, you can purchase raw sauerkraut from the refrigerated section of your local health food store, although it may be fairly high in salt.
I also recommend taking a probiotic twice a day. These supplements contain live organisms that take root in your intestines to support digestive health and control yeast overgrowth. I strongly recommend Dr. Ohira’s probiotics which contain 12 strains of bacteria, as well as prebiotic ingredients that remain in the intestines to support growth of beneficial bacteria strains.
Yeast can wreak havoc on your health. In a normal, balanced, healthy body yeast causes few problems, but when you become out of balance due to illness, diet, medication, or other factors, then you may experience difficulty. The best way to control yeast is by choosing a healthy, plant-based diet free of processed foods and chemicals. By doing so, you will create an environment where yeast stays under control, leaving you healthier and more energetic.
Personally, every once in a while, I like to flush out my system with the green smoothie diet. I feel energized and revitalized, ready to take on the world!