As a certified health and wellness coach, I love discussing food, health benefits, and how to keep weight in check.
Yeast may be good leaven for bread but ask any women inflicted with yeast infection and they will have a mouthful to say. Burning, swelling, redness, pain, itch are just some of the common complaints—there is also pain while urinating and having sex, not forgetting undesirable cottage-cheese looking discharge. No woman wants to go there, yet according to Womenshealth.gov., 75% of women experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime with half of the women having 2 or more infections in their life time.
Cause of Yeast Infection
A healthy vagina has many kinds of bacteria and some yeast living in it at any one time. Usually, the balance of these good and bad bacteria are kept in check by a common bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus. However, a number of factors can tip the balance and allow the yeast fungus to grow out of control. Most yeast infections are caused by a type of yeast called Candida albicans. Before we go any further, let’s look at some of these factors:
- · High estrogen levels caused by pregnancy or hormone replacement therapy
- · Diseases such as diabetes and HIV infection
- · Taking certain medications such as birth control pills, antibiotics, and steroids
- · Hormonal changes during your periods
- · Poor eating habits
- · Stress
- · Lack of sleep
- · Tight-fitting undergarments
As you can see, any change in lifestyle or habits can make you a good candidate for Candida to flourish in your vagina. To fight yeast infection, there are a number of things you can do to effectively tame Candida—fight it, hold it in check or kill it --all within your power to win this yeast battle. Of course, you can fight it with over-the-counter medications but since food and lifestyle play a big part, you may want to go that route to keep getting repeated infections.
Candida diet diehards will tell you that a healthy diet can boost your immune system and help build up your flora of healthy bacteria to fight infection. Eat a wide range of foods that are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients to fight free radicals in your body and provide nutrients for overall good health. Choose a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables (they are colored because they are full of healthful anthocyanins), whole grains, legumes, nuts and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna.
Most people (ok, maybe not health nuts) like sugary snacks, and unfortunately, so do Candida. Refined sugars and carbohydrates are stripped of nutrients and once consumed; they readily raise blood sugar levels as well as provide great feasting for yeast. So, starve Candida by limiting white flour, refined sugars and nutrient-depleted processed snacks. We’re talking cinnamon rolls, chocolate cake, little Twinkies and just about anything in the snack aisle made with refined sugars.
Probiotics are microscopic bacteria that normally live in the intestines of healthy animals and much of our immune function is dependent upon this healthy gut flora. However, taking antibiotics, poor diet, stress, among others can reduce the level of probiotics in your body, causing Candida to proliferate out of control. You can effectively restore the balance of these good bacteria by eating a diet with probiotics.
Where do you get probiotics? They can be found in yogurt and kefir, even yogurt cheese. However, it is better to choose plain unsweetened yogurt or kefir made from pure, unadulterated dairy as opposed to pasteurized versions.
If dairy is not your cup of tea, how about fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi? Kimchi is made by fermenting Napa cabbage and it is also used extensively in soups and pancakes in the Korean cuisine. The fermentation process encourages the growth of lactobacillus acidophilus, the live cultures that kill Candida. You can ferment many vegetables into probiotic wonders—including cucumber, radishes, Napa cabbage and chili peppers.
Interesting related reads:
Eat Colorful Fruits and Vegetables to promote health: http://hubpages.com/hub/Anthocyanins--Colors-of-Health
Holistic Cures for Yeast Infections: http://hubpages.com/hub/-Holistic-Treatments-for-Yeast-Infections--Candida-Albicans
Yeast Infection in Men: http://hubpages.com/hub/YeastInfectionMen
Diet with Probiotics : http://www.candida-cure-recipes.com/probiotics-candida.html
How to make fermented vegetables: http://www.nourishingdays.com/?p=1883
4 Simple Ways to Fight Heartburn Naturally: http://healthbitsntips.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/4-simple-ways-to-fight-heartburn-naturally/
anglnwu (author) on January 05, 2010:
Pamela, thanks for dropping by. Appreciate your comments. I had no idea until I was researching probiotics. It was a happy discovery because I love kimchi and sometimes--if I don't mind the trouble--I actually make it too. It's very yummy on its own or you can make kimchi soup or kimchi pancakes.
Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on January 05, 2010:
I had no idea kimchi was good for keeping yeast infection away. That is so cool.
anglnwu (author) on August 15, 2009:
You're totally right on that one. Thanks for dropping by and for your great support.
Melody Lagrimas from Philippines on August 15, 2009:
We need to keep the number of good bacteria greater than that of the harmul candida to avoid yeast infection. Great hub, my friend.
anglnwu (author) on August 09, 2009:
I do too! Just don't overload your system with simple sugars--you can use Stevia,a natural sugar substitute.
Thanks for visiting.
VivienneG from Florida on August 09, 2009:
Hmmm, sugar-rich foods increases the likelihood of yeast. What do I do now? I have a sweet-tooth! lol! Very informative! Learned something new today.
anglnwu (author) on August 08, 2009:
LOL-- I really need to re-read your article. Thanks for dropping by. No, we don't need yeast infection--life has too much to deal with as it is.
Charia Samher on August 08, 2009:
If the two male commenter above thank you for this, I guess I should be more thankful..as you've said we don't know what life will throw unto us..but I hope not yeast infection LOL. Thanks for the info. BTW regarding your comment on one of my hub..I'm not pregnant..sorry for misunderstanding.
anglnwu (author) on August 06, 2009:
Thanks, jayb, for being a great supporter. I will see you around in hubs.
jayb23 from India on August 05, 2009:
Great hub anglwnu,informative to the core. keep up the good work.
anglnwu (author) on August 05, 2009:
Thanks, maggs224. How's your hub money tree doing? The last time, we laughed over our paltry sum.
maggs224 from Sunny Spain on August 05, 2009:
An interesting and informative hub thanks