What is Candida?
Candida is a fungus (yeast) that is normally present in our body and lives in peace without having hazardous effects. It is present in our mucous membranes, i.e. eyes, stomach, intestines, vagina, etc. It is one of the many friendly organisms that only do harm when they grow uncontrollably.
Diseases and Symptoms
Candida causes no problem as long as it is kept under control but it poses numerous threats and health problem when it out grows. It causes many diseases including oral thrush, vaginal infection, inflammation of esophagus (muscular tube connecting mouth with stomach) and diaper rash in children.
How to intervene?
The growth of candida and its infections need consideration because of their increasing number now a days. Many strategies can be used and some of them are given here:
Candida uses carbohydrates as food and one way to control their growth is to make them starve. Therefore elimination of foods that feed candida is important. Dairy products, sweet potatoes and fruits are rich sources of sugars. Sugar is also present in processed foods such as cereals and ketchup. All such foods should be avoided for keeping the levels of candida in the body under control.
- Strengthening the immune system
Excess of glucose in the body weakens our immune system. Immunity is the natural defense system of our body that helps us fight microorganisms. When our defense against candida is weak, it gives candida an opportunity to have a stronghold in our body. Good hygiene, eating good food, good sleeping routine and regular exercise boosts our immune system and checks the growth of candida.
Probiotics are the microorganisms that have beneficial effects on the body when consumed. They limit the growth of opportunistic organisms like candida by either creating an environment not conducive for their growth or depriving them from their share of food. Certain foods, e.g. cheese and yogurt, have lactobacillus (a bacteria) that help control the growth of candida.
Garlic has been used as a spice and herbal medicine for centuries. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer and cardiovascular benefits. Garlic has a potent antifungal effect as well. It inhibits the growth of yeast and is effective in mucosal and invasive candidiasis (infections of candida). Garlic can be applied on the skin and in the mouth, in the form of a paste, for skin and oral infections respectively. Vaginalcreams are also available and have proved beneficial in candida vaginitis.