Candida and fats
It’s really easy to go overboard with your fat intake on the candida cleanse, especially when a candida cleanse protocol recommends to eliminate all sources of carbohydrates, like fruit, grains, and starches. When we cut out all sources of carbohydrates from the diet, we are left with a diet primarily based on animal protein and low starch vegetables, and it’s often inevitable that we run into a heavy intake of fat. This is one of the reasons why I don’t believe in strict candida cleanses. So many of our bodily organs need the fiber and antioxidants from those foods in order to function optimally.
If you have done any of your own research, I am sure that you have read about how amazing coconut is for eliminating eliminating Candida. It contains natural fatty acids, caprylic acid and lauric acid, which have strong antimicrobial capabilities, which can interfere with the growing and duplicating processes of Candida. However, for many individuals with a severe overgrowth of candida, coconut or caprylic acid can contribute to symptoms of nausea and intestinal upset. Caprylic acid can also be really hard on the gallbladder, which is commonly affected in people with candida or bacterial overgrowth as well.
Even though coconut contains tons of anti fungal properties, it is still a source of saturated fat. On the candida cleanse, I believe it is important to be mindful of how well you are digesting fats within your diet and to not go overboard with consumption. One of the reasons being, a heavy intake of saturated fat can contribute to damaging the gut lining, which can further promote inflammation and the growth of pathogens within the body.
Another reason being, too much saturated fat is not supportive of bile flow from the liver. Insufficient bile flow can prohibit digestion and detoxification. But first, I'd like to give some background information on the liver and gallbladder so you can understand the role that these organs play in helping you fight candida.
Liver & Gallbladder
The liver and gallbladder need a ton of support on a candida cleanse. One of the reasons why is because candida pathogens emit many different types of mycotoxins within the body, a couple of the major ones are acetaldehyde and alcohol. It is the liver's job to detoxify all of these toxins and if the liver doesn’t get enough support, their numbers can rise, which can damage tissues, and eventually overburden the liver’s detoxification abilities. This can lead to sluggish liver and gallbladder function, which can then lead to toxins circulating around the body and even more symptoms.
One of the liver's many functions is bile secretion and the gallbladder is the organ that stores it. When we eat a meal that contains fat, the liver and gallbladder are stimulated to release bile. Bile has numerous functions within the body, a few of them include digesting fat and absorbing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. However, the most important purpose of bile flow for candida cleansing is that it functions to clean up the digestive system. It removes heavy metals, drugs, chemicals, cholesterol, metabolic waste, and excess hormones from the body. It also has antimicrobial properties so it is crucial for keeping our system clear from pathogens.
When the liver is overloaded with toxins or too much fat, bile flow can become thick and sludgy, which means the removal of toxins will be slow. Sufficient bile flow plays a very important role ensuring candida pathogens and toxins are eliminated from the body. For this reason, it is important to ensure that the channels of elimination are open within your body before you start any sort of detoxification protocol, such as a candida cleanse.
If we don't prepare for the cleanse properly (i.e open the emunctories) and if there is a high toxic load in the body, if you start pushing the liver too hard, you may end up experiencing extreme die-off reactions. Intense die-off reactions can really overwhelm your body and as a result, your cleanse may be unsuccessful as organs of elimination can buckle under too much pressure.
Here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate you aren't digesting fats well:
Bloating/abdominal distension, cramping or gas, worsened after a high fat meal
Your digestion may feel slow or sluggish after a high fat meal.
Nausea or headaches, worsened after a high fat meal.
Light coloured, foul smelling, greasy or sticky looking stool.
Tenderness under the right rib cage.
Diarrhea or constipation.
Fatigue due to malabsorption/nutrient deficiencies.
If any of these symptoms are experienced on the severe side, it may be necessary to go to the Doctor to have your gallbladder checked. In my candida program, I provide my clients with a detoxification preparation protocol first, to ensure that the channels of elimination are open before they start their candida cleanse. This ensures the body is properly supported to fight off candida and to digest and detoxify properly.
Here are some quick tips that can support the liver and gallbladders ability to digest fat:
Take a digestive enzyme with lipase.
Take a digestive bitter tincture before meals (as long as you don't have any symptoms of gastritis or a history of ulcers).
Support the liver by eating foods with bitter and cholagogue properties, such as lemons, radishes, artichoke, beets, ginger, dandelion, etc.
Start your day with a hot water with lemon or consume fresh ginger and lemon in some water, sip throughout the day.
Avoid rich fatty foods that are high in saturated fat and mucus forming foods, such as sugar, dairy, etc.
Be mindful of your fat intake per meal. If you struggle to digest animal protein, try splitting up your concentrated protein intake during the day. This lessens the load on the digestive system per meal.