Berberine: A Powerful Antifungal With Many Benefits

Have you heard that there is a plant-based medicine that can be as effective as pharmaceuticals? When you think of herbal medicine, berberine may not be the first name that springs to mind, but this plant-derived extract has been proven to be a potent medicinal compound. It has been tested in human models too, not just in the laboratory setting which can sometimes be the case.

There are over 5000 studies published in the United States National Library of Medicine that mention Berberine, and the vast majority of these are from the past few years. Berberine has a remarkable range of effects in various medical fields including as a chemotherapeutic and antimicrobial agent, in cardiovascular and diabetes support, and as a potential weight management tool.

Berberine could be helpful on your journey to improved health. Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful natural supplement.

What is Berberine?

Rather than being a name for a specific plant, berberine is an alkaloid compound that can be isolated from a variety of herbs that have long been used in Chinese traditional medicine.

It can be found in the roots, rhizomes, stems, and bark of several different plants, shrubs, and trees. These include Berberis aquifolium (Oregon Grape), Berberis vulgaris (European barberry), Berberis aristate (Indian Barberry), Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal), Phellodendron amurense (Amur Cork Tree), Coptis chinensis (Chinese Goldthread), and Tinospora cordifolia (Heart-Leaved Moonseed).

The berberine extracted from these plants is a deep yellow color, and for this reason, it has a long history of use for dying wool, leather and, wood. It is still used in India for this purpose to this day (1).

The first recorded use of berberine was in ancient China at around 3000 BCE, and it was described in the ‘The Divine Farmers Materia Medica’ which is one of the founding books used in Chinese medicine.

Modern medical bodies are now discovering for themselves exactly how potent berberine is, and the great potential it has for treating a variety of conditions. Berberine shows a broad spectrum of anti-microbial activity against bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Its action against various forms of Candida is potentially stronger than the prescription antifungals that are frequently used.

Health Benefits of Berberine

Berberine extract, and the plants from which it is isolated, has a long history in traditional medicine. It has been used for digestive disorders including diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, and disorders of the blood including high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

In clinical studies, berberine has shown potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

Antifungal effects

Candida yeasts are normally found on the human body, but they are disease-causing agents that can cause devastating infections under certain circumstances. It is one of the most common fungal causes of hospital acquired infections (2). There is a great deal of interest in finding countermeasures to this fungus, especially if it is possible to avoid chemical measures that can cause secondary problems.

There has been research that shows that berberine extract has substantial antimicrobial activity against a range of pathogens that include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and yeasts (3). Berberine is highly effective against Candida in various studies.

Fluconazole is a standard treatment for Candida infections. When Fluconazole is used together with berberine against Candida albicans that has been grown on a plate, the two have a synergistic effect, which means that they are more powerful when used together than the sum of either of them used individually (4).

Further work was undertaken in 2013 which showed that berberine damages the DNA of Candida albicans and fluconazole increases the amount of berberine that can enter the yeast cells (5).

Berberine has been proven to be selective in its effects. This means that it can target Candida, and yet does not harm the beneficial microbes including Lactobacilli and Bifidobacter species, that we wish to encourage as part of a healthy microbiome.

The use of traditional herbs as antifungal agents is currently gaining a great deal of interest by medical professionals. Another example of this is tetrandrine, a Chinese plant-derived alkalide which is showing great promise not only as an anti-candida agent but as a chemotherapeutic agent (6, 7).

Reduces blood sugar levels

Did you know that diabetes is a leading cause of limb amputation, blindness, kidney failure, and heart attacks? It is a condition that caused over 1.6 million deaths in 2016 with a further 2.2 million deaths being attributed to high blood sugar (8). Clearly, as a society, the need to find safe ways of lowering blood sugar and preventing type 2 diabetes is paramount.

There have been extensive studies on the use of berberine as an agent for lowering blood sugar. When a large number of these scientific publications were analyzed, it was clear that berberine was both safe and efficient as a treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus when combined with lifestyle changes (9).

There have been studies that compare berberine to standard medications used in type 2 diabetes such as metformin, glipizide, and rosiglitazone. Researchers found that there was no difference between berberine and the standard medications, except that berberine use resulted in fewer side-effects (10, 11).

Berberine boosts the number of insulin receptors and makes them more active. This has the effect of increasing insulin sensitivity. The insulin is better at doing the job of moving glucose out of the bloodstream which in turn lowers blood sugar (12).

There are other positive changes that berberine exerts on the body to lower blood sugar:

  • It decreases the amount of sugar that the liver produces
  • It raises glycolysis, another name for cellular respiration, breaking down the sugar in the cells
  • Carbohydrates in the digestive system are broken down at a slower rate which prevents blood sugar spikes
  • It changes the gut microbiome, encouraging beneficial bacteria to flourish and helping to remove unwanted pathogens

In diabetic patients, taking just 1 gram of berberine every day caused fasting blood sugar to decrease by 20%. This change meant the patients’ blood was within normal rather than diabetic parameters and in addition improved the blood lipids cholesterol and triglycerides (13).

Berberine holds great pharmaceutical potential as the future of treatment or combination of treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory effect

It is easy to see inflammation when it occurs at the site of an injury. The swelling and redness are signs that blood and immune cells are flooding to the area to begin the healing process. This defense mechanism is normal and is called acute inflammation.

But what about the inflammation that you cannot see? When inflammation is out of control and inappropriate, it is associated with countless chronic diseases including:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease
  • Type 2 diabetes – inflammation can cause insulin resistance
  • Lupus – an autoimmune disease
  • Colitis – inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Atherosclerosis – narrowing of the arteries
  • Some cancers – chronic inflammation causes DNA damage which can lead to cancer

Numerous natural supplements are known for their anti-inflammatory effect, but berberine is one of the most powerful. There has been a considerable amount of research undertaken on the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of berberine.

Laboratory studies in rats have confirmed the anti-inflammatory effect of berberine (14).

In mice, berberine can reduce inflammation in the airways that was caused by either smoke inhalation or by dust mite allergens (15, 16)

Metabolic syndrome can lead to heart disease due to high blood pressure, an increased risk of clotting factor and abnormal cholesterol. When rats with metabolic syndrome are used as models of the blood vessels (17).

Obesity-associated non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is in simple terms an accumulation of fat in the liver that occurs in people who do not drink a great deal of alcohol but who are overweight or obese. It can lead to serious liver damage and cirrhosis. For diabetics, this is especially problematic as it can also lead to heart issues.

In a mouse model with obesity-associated non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, berberine can reduce the inflammation in the liver (18).

Digestive effects

Berberine has long been used as an anti-diarrheal medicine in traditional medicine. This could be due to the mechanism of inhibition of the toxic secretions of the pathogens Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae that have been demonstrated in animal models (19).

In the condition ‘leaky gut’, the intestine becomes more permeable which can result in bacteria and toxins leaking from the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. This can trigger endotoxemia, widespread inflammation and under certain circumstances, it can trigger an autoimmune response from the body. In a study using mice as a model, berberine was shown to reduce the damage that occurs with leaky gut (20).

Berberine improves the profile of desirable bacteria in the digestive system. In rats, it increases the level of bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acid. Berberine also normalizes the balance of the gut microbiome, preventing dysbiosis (21,22).

Weight loss

Obesity medications often have serious side-effects. The search for a natural alternative with a low adverse event profile continues, and berberine is attracting interest as a candidate. In both laboratory rat models and human models, berberine when used three times daily for three months, resulted in weight loss and an improvement in cholesterol and triglycerides level in the blood (23).

Amongst patients with metabolic syndrome, berberine supplementation over a three month period reduced both their body mass index (a measure of body fat) and leptin (a hormone involved in hunger) which led to weight loss (24).

Berberine also inhibits the production of fat cells (25).

Side Effects of Berberine

Berberine has an impressive safety profile and is generally well tolerated when taken at the recommended dosage. The majority of side effects that have been noted are mild and occur in the digestive system including cramping, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, stomach pain, and distension (26).

Interactions

It is best to consult with your doctor before taking berberine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as not enough is known about its effects during pregnancy.

In the human body, there is an enzyme named CYP3A which is responsible for metabolizing a wide range of medications. Berberine inhibits how these enzymes function which means that your medication may not be metabolized as quickly and spend more time in your body, thereby increasing its effect.

If you are taking tetracyclines, related antibiotics, or oral hypoglycemic drugs, it is especially important to consult with your medical practitioner.

How Do You Take Berberine?

Berberine is usually taken in capsule form. It’s best to start with a low dose to give your digestive system time to adjust, otherwise you might experience temporary digestive symptoms like cramping or nausea.

Candida Cleanse by Balance ONE - Antifungal formula for Candida overgrowthWhen fighting an intestinal Candida overgrowth, it’s best to take a range of natural antifungals. This prevents yeasts like Candida from adapting to a single antifungal treatment. When I formulated our Candida Cleanse formula, I included 8 different natural antifungals. Berberine is one of these, but it also includes oregano oil, caprylic acid, garlic extract, and more. It’s the #1 antifungal supplement that I recommend for Candida, and you can find it on Amazon or in the Balance ONE online store.

The Bottom Line

Researchers are finding out novel benefits that this traditional medicine ingredient has on your digestive system, bloodstream and a whole host of other bodily systems. If you have been suffering from a yeast imbalance like Candida overgrowth, then you may find that berberine can help to rebalance your gut flora.

Berberine is a potent anti-inflammatory, works against disease-causing pathogens, helps to lower blood sugar, can help you to stabilize your weight, and seems to have additional benefits coming to light with each new study.

This plant-based compound has a very low adverse event profile, so you can try it with minimal risk of side-effects occurring. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking certain prescription medications, be sure to consult your doctor.

The post Berberine: A Powerful Antifungal With Many Benefits appeared first on The Candida Diet.

Keto Meatloaf | The BEST, Easy, Low Carb Meatloaf Recipe You’ll Make

This keto meatloaf is SO comforting, satisfying, and delicious! It’s easy to make, only has 1 NET CARB a slice, and doesn’t taste low carb at all. Honestly, it’s THE BEST meatloaf recipe for the keto diet. Oh, and you can even wrap it in bacon to take it to a whole different level of deliciousness.

Slices of keto meatloaf on a cutting board.

The Best Keto Meatloaf Recipe

What makes this keto meatloaf recipe the BEST, you ask?

Easy. It’s the mix of juicy ground beef, flavorful spices, and extra cheesy cheddar and grated parmesan!

This low carb recipe makes a meatloaf so tender, juicy, and flavorful that you’ll wish you could go back in time and feed this to your childhood self. Yup, it’s that good.

An entire meatloaf cut into slices with a knife next to it.

But don’t take my word for it, I highly recommend trying this low carb recipe for yourself and seeing what makes this the absolute BEST keto meatloaf recipe.

This recipe takes a little more time – it takes about an hour – but the result is so worth it.

Plus, you can make this during the weekend and have 10 savory slices of deliciously juicy and flavorful keto meatloaf ready for a whole week of low carb meals.

The secret behind the flavors in this low carb keto meatloaf is in the mix of spices and aromatics.

Slices of low carb meatloaf stacked on top of one another

The Vegetables, Spices, and Beef To Use In This Keto Meatloaf

Sweet onions, savory garlic, and fresh celery make the perfect base for this delicious keto recipe.

Just a few minutes into this recipe and your kitchen already smells fantastic.

We take it even further with a combination of oregano, chili powder, and Italian seasoning. Seriously, the scent of this cooking in your kitchen is mind-blowing.

Then, you mix those in with 80/20 ground beef – this ratio of fat to meat is perfect for creating a totally moist and juicy low carb meatloaf.

A meatloaf covered in ketchup cut into slices with spices next to it.

Cheeses

I incorporated shredded cheddar and grated parmesan into this recipe.

The cheese melts into the beef and creates a super delicious and addictively cheesy finish!

Kind of like my favorite keto cheeseburger casserole recipe.

Pro tip: to save carbs shred the cheddar yourself if you can. Pre-packaged cheddar usually comes with additional starches to keep it from sticking and that will increase the carb count.

Meatloaf slices stacked on top of one another.

Flours

Almond flour and eggs bind everything together and provide the best texture for this keto meatloaf.

As always, if almond flour isn’t your thing, you can sub in walnut flour or sunflower seed flour on a 1:1 basis.

Do not substitute almond flour with coconut flour. Not only will your meatloaf end up dry, but you’ll also end up with a faint hint of coconut that just doesn’t go with the flavors in this recipe.

Meatloaf cut into slices.

Cooking The Meatloaf

After 40 minutes of baking, just cover it with keto ketchup and bake until it’s ready.

The ketchup toasts on the meatloaf and adds the perfect amount of tanginess that complements the rich cheese and ground beef. It’s, in one word, amazing.

Also, don’t be intimidated by the cooking time of this recipe. A lot of it is just spent waiting for the meatloaf to finish baking, so that gives you time to meal prep other dishes for the week.

Plus, when you’re done it yields 10 glorious slices worth of this awesomely juicy and flavorful keto meatloaf – at only 1 NET CARB per slice!

Not gonna lie, I’m kind of impatient. But even I can tell you that the wait for this low carb meatloaf is definitely worth it.

I don’t call it the best keto meatloaf for nothing!

There’s so much to love about this tender and flavorful keto meatloaf recipe.

I absolutely can’t wait for you to try it!

Pieces of keto meatloaf laying on top of each other.

Bacon Wrapped Meatlaof

You can take this low carb keto meatloaf recipe to the next level by wrapping it in bacon!

And who doesn’t love bacon?!

Besides vegans…lol.

Anyways, the bacon adds a ton of flavor and a fantastic crispy texture to the outside of the meatloaf.

So to do add it, just wrap 6-8 slices of bacon around the shaped loaf before baking.

Sliced meatloaf on a cutting board with spices and ketchup next to it.

Air fryer Meatloaf

This low carb recipe calls for baking, but it’s so versatile that you can make it in your air fryer too!

For an air fryer version of this keto recipe, shape the meatloaf on a tray, then set the air fryer to 380°F. Add some foil to the bottom of the air fryer, then bake.

Make sure to check the progress of your meatloaf on the 20 and 30-minute marks because the cooking time will be less on the air fryer.

If for some reason it starts browning too quickly, just cover it with foil.

Then at the 30-minute mark, cover it with keto ketchup and bake until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Meatloaf sliced on a cutting board with text displaying why it's the best option for the keto diet.

 

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Keto Meatloaf | The BEST, Easy, Low Carb Meatloaf Recipe You’ll Make

A meatloaf covered in ketchup cut into slices with spices next to it.

This keto meatloaf is SO comforting, satisfying, and delicious! It’s easy to make, only has 1 NET CARB a slice, and doesn’t taste low carb at all. Honestly, it’s 100% THE BEST meatloaf recipe for the keto diet. Oh, and you can even wrap it in bacon to take it to a whole different level of deliciousness.

  • Author: The Diet Chef
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 57 minute
  • Yield: 10 Slices
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Keto

Ingredients

1 Tbsp (14g) Macadamia Nut Oil
1 Medium Onion (100g ) chopped
1 Cup Celery (100g) chopped into tiny pieces
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tsp. Oregano
1 Tsp. Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Lbs. (907g) 80/20 Ground Beef
1 Cup (112g) Shredded Cheddar
1/3 Cup (35g) Almond Flour
Heaping 1/4 Cup (25g) Grated Parmesan
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp (30g) Liquid Aminos – or Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional Topping:

1/3 Cup (80g) Keto Ketchup

Optional Wrapping:

68 Slices of bacon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set it aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add and heat the Macadamia Nut Oil.
  4. Now, add the onion & celery and cook until soft and translucent.
  5. Next, add the garlic, oregano, and chili powder, and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant.
    Once fragrant, let the mixture cool.
  6. Now, when the mixture cools, use a large bowl to add and combine all of the ingredients – except for the ketchup.
  7. Shape meat mixture into the size of a large loaf, and add it to the pan. *If using bacon, wrap it in bacon before adding the meatloaf to the pan.
  8. Cook for 40 minutes, remove, and cover with ketchup (if using)
  9. Return to oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes (once the internal temp gets to 165°F).
  10. Let it rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into it.
  11. Garnish with fresh oregano, or more Italian seasoning.

Air Fryer Cooking Instructions:

  1. Cover the air fryer basket with tin foil.
  2. Add the meatloaf to the basket.
  3. Set the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add the keto ketchup if using, and if it’s browning to quickly cover it with foil.
  5. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. *Just make sure the internal temp. reaches 165°F

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 335
  • Fat: 27
  • Carbohydrates: 2.25
  • Fiber: 1.25
  • Protein: 21

Keywords: keto meatloaf, keto meatloaf recipe, meatloaf recipe, best keto meatloaf, meatloaf recipe best, meatloaf, How to make keto meatloaf, easy keto meatloaf, easy meatloaf recipe

 

The post Keto Meatloaf | The BEST, Easy, Low Carb Meatloaf Recipe You’ll Make appeared first on The Diet Chef.

How Does Stress Affect Your Digestive System?

The more we learn about the body and how it functions, the more we understand that it must be treated as a whole. Something that affects one part of your body is likely to have consequences elsewhere, and symptoms that appear in one area might be caused by the condition of another.

Much research has already been conducted into these connections between various body systems. Scientists have made incredible discoveries about the HPA axis, the neuroendocrine system, and the gut-brain axis – and how they relate to your overall wellbeing.

What Does This Mean For Digestive Health?

The essence of the ‘gut-brain axis’ is that what is happening in your brain can have a direct impact on the environment in your gut (and vice versa).

Your thoughts and feelings can affect the composition of your gut flora, increase inflammation, and increase your susceptibility to pathogens such as Candida albicans. In short, your brain can hinder your digestion.

These feedback loops mean that an imbalanced and inflamed gut can contribute to depression and anxiety too.

That’s why reducing your stress levels can be so beneficial to your digestion and your gut health.  And rebalancing your gut can make you feel happier and less stressed! Here’s how it works.

What Is Stress?

When we are stressed or worried, the body switches into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is a built-in characteristic that hails from our hunter-gatherer times.

Back then, a typical “stressor” was the very real danger of coming face-to-face with a warring tribe or dangerous animal. This would stimulate the adrenal glands to start pumping out the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

These stress hormones cause our muscles to tense up, our heart to race, and our whole body to feel alert and ‘wired’. Stress also shuts down the digestive system, which may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

How Stress Affects Your Digestive System

Have you ever had a “gut feeling” about something? Or have you felt depressed and irritable even when things are going okay?

It could be all in your gut! Your gut contains just as many neurons as the spinal cord, which is one of the reasons why researchers now refer to your gut as the ‘second brain’. (1)

A complicated network of neurons, hormones and chemicals make up an intricate connection between your gut microbiome and your brain. When you’re stressed out, this network carries signals from the brain that make real, physical changes to the way that your gut operates.

This powerful link between your gut health and your nervous system has shed light on many issues related to mood and mental health.

There is substantial evidence that the lining of your gastrointestinal tract has a direct influence on your brain, and that that your gut is very sensitive to emotions. Whether you’re angry, sad, anxious or elated, you’ll feel it in your gut. And in the same way, your brain has a direct effect on the nervous system within your stomach and intestines.

You may have already experienced how psychological stress can affect your body.

Remember how your stomach reacts when you’re nervous: butterflies in the pit of your stomach on your first date, or when you were going for that important job interview? That’s a direct result of the “fight or flight response”.

This is when your body senses a threat, so it quickly redirects blood flow away from parts of the digestive tract and towards muscle tissue. That “butterfly” feeling is triggered by decreased blood flow to your stomach.

The short-term fight-or-flight response reprioritizes your internal functions, leading to a slowing of your digestive processes. This is just one of the immediate effects that stress has on your digestion. Chronic, long-term stress that has even more serious consequences for your digestive health. (2)

Chronic, Long-Term Stress Is Much More Problematic

Extended psychological stress has been linked to a host of changes in the gut. Research has shown that stress changes the crucial balance of microorganisms that exist in the intestines, which can have major implications for your overall health. (3)

If you’ve ever been stressed for a long period of time, you may have noticed that you got sick more often – and took longer to recover. This is because your gut flora forms a very important part of your immune system.

When the bacteria in your intestines are healthy and in balance, you’ll have more ‘good’ bacteria than ‘bad’. As a result, your immune system is primed to attack and overthrow any invaders.

But when this balance is disturbed – as can happen with chronic stress – you immune system is weakened. The result is that you become more vulnerable to pathogenic organisms such as Candida and other undesirable infections.

Although research in humans has been limited, studies on mice have shown that stress leads to very significant changes in the gut flora. The diversity of microorganisms in the gut is reduced, and certain microorganisms begin to colonize more effectively and aggressively than others. (4)

Chronic stress doesn’t just lead to reduced immune function. Stress impacts the body in a number of ways, beginning with the gut. Digestive disorders such as GERD, ulcers, and IBS have all been linked to psychological stress. Researchers have also suggested that chemical changes in the gut may lead to a weakening in the intestinal walls, contributing to Leaky Gut Syndrome.

How An Imbalanced Gut Can Cause Stress, Anxiety and Even Depression

Much of the way that poor gut health affects your mood is to do with serotonin. Serotonin is one of your ‘happy chemicals’ that is required for good mood and healthy sleeping patterns. Around 90% of your serotonin receptors are located in your gut, which has major implications for how your diet and nutritional status can affect your emotions.

What’s more, the serotonin made in your gut is structurally similar to the serotonin in the brain but made by different cells. If your gut microbiome is fighting an overgrowth of bad bacteria, its ability to make enough serotonin will be severely affected.

A recent study showed that low serotonin in the neurons of the gut can lead to physical symptoms such as constipation. In the same way, low levels of serotonin in your brain can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness and depression. (5)

Gastrointestinal distress is an additional burden for people with depression and there is evidence that both conditions arise from low serotonin. A study also conducted in mice found that a shortage of serotonin in the neurons of the gut can cause constipation, just as a serotonin shortage in the brain can lead to depression (6).

What Can You Do About It?

Overcoming a dysfunctional gut-brain axis can’t be done overnight. It takes time and effort – and a good plan.

The important thing to remember about the gut-brain axis is that it’s a two-way street. This means you have to attack it in two ways. Work on your stress levels, and you’ll improve your digestion. At the same time, you’ll need to work on optimizing your gut microbiome in order to improve your mental health.

This is even more important when you have a Candida overgrowth. Your recovery plan will need to include strategies for tackling both your digestive and psychological health. This might involve antifungal treatment, stress mitigation and probiotics.

Here’s how to get on top of your digestive health AND your mental health:

Tips To Improve Digestive Health

The first thing you need to do to improve your gut health is to quit sugar. Excess sugar is the underlying cause of many digestive disorders, particularly yeast overgrowth. It’s the ‘fuel’ for pathogenic yeast and bacteria, allowing them grow and spread throughout your body.

Switching to a low-sugar diet should be your priority. Cut out anything that contains refined sugar: candy, chocolate, biscuits, cakes and almost anything that comes in a packet. If in doubt, check the nutritional information label on anything you buy in the supermarket.

The next thing you need to do is to add plenty of high-fiber foods and plants to your diet. These will help to keep you regular and promote a healthy gut microbiome. Look for antifungal foods too – these include garlic, coconut oil, onion, and seaweed. Use plenty of antifungal herbs in your dishes too: oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, ginger and cinnamon.

Probiotics are also very important! Probiotic supplements are an effective way to restore and maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. When your levels of good bacteria improve, they’ll help to crowd out the ‘bad’ bacteria and yeast. Probiotic bacteria help to prevent harmful organisms from sticking to the walls of your gut and causing further problems.

Probiotics have been shown to restore and maintain healthy, balanced intestinal flora and support optimal digestive health. They can reduce the recurrence of yeast infections caused by Candida overgrowth and support the integrity of your gastrointestinal tract. Research also shows that probiotic supplementation can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and elsewhere.

When you’re buying a probiotic, make sure that it uses time-release tablets to get its safely bacteria to your gut. My recommended probiotic for Candida is the Balance ONE Probiotic.

4 Tips To Reduce Stress

1. Identify Your Stressors

Start by asking yourself, “What’s causing my stress?” Is it family, relationships, work, or something else? Write out a list of the things that make you unhappy, anxious, or negatively affecting your life. Be as honest and detailed as you can. Think about the times of day you feel most stressed or upset and make a link to what causes those feelings.

Then, write another list of the positive things. What makes you feel happy and alive? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes you laugh?

Once you’ve identified both the negative and the positive in your life, your goal should be fairly obvious: reduce the negative and increase the positive!

2. Meditation

Stress affects all of us in different ways, and it’s not always possible to avoid completely. But you can take steps to minimise the effect that stress has on your mind and body and allow yourself to recover from stressful episodes more effectively.

Meditation is a fantastic way of reducing your stress levels. Studies have shown that mindfulness-based meditation helps to relieve stress and anxiety and improve the ability to respond to stress in the future.

Researchers believe that meditation trains people to allow certain thoughts or feelings to pass by without causing stress or anxiety, and that they spend less time focusing on negative thoughts. It also appears that those who practice meditation regularly are less judgmental, more accepting, and treat themselves with more kindness. This is a crucial benefit of meditation practice. (7)

3. Get Moving

Exercising regularly not only improves your digestion; it can really cut down on your stress levels too. (8)

Try to get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day. This can include running, cycling, swimming or anything that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe harder. (9)

You’ll be increasing your body’s production of endorphins (the ‘happy chemicals’ that boost your mood and energy) and also stimulating your digestive function simply through movement. Exercise is a proven remedy for both stress and gut health, and it can cost nothing at all.

Getting outside in the fresh air in itself can help bring down your anxiety too. In Japan, walking mindfully in nature is called forest bathing, and it’s a recognized treatment for stress.

4. Get More Sleep

As adults, we’re supposed to get at least 7-9 hours sleep per night – but most of us don’t get anywhere near that. Sleep is crucial to not only managing your stress levels and maintaining your immune system function, it allows your body adequate time for cell repair and restoration.

Help yourself to sleep better each night by going to bed at a set time. Prepare your bedroom by ensuring it’s dark and peaceful, without any noise or distractions. Turn off your phone, computer and the TV at least an hour before going to bed. And most importantly, cut down on your caffeine intake or at least don’t consume any foods or beverages that contain caffeine after midday.

Bringing it all together

If you focus only on your mental health or only on your digestion, you might be setting yourself up for failure. The connections and feedback loops between the brain and the gut, known collectively as the ‘gut-brain axis’, have been demonstrated time and again.

When you understand that your brain and gut are intrinsically linked, you might find it much easier to overcome your gut health issues. Best of all, your improved mood will motivate you to keep working on your gut!

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