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Thrush occurs when a yeast-like fungus called candida accumulates and forms creamy, often painful lesions on the surfaces of the mouth. If left untreated, it can spread to other areas, such as the throat. While thrush can affect anyone, infants, people with weakened immune systems and those who take certain medications or wear dentures are most at risk, according to MayoClinic.com 1. In addition to medical treatments and proper hygiene, certain foods may help reduce your symptoms.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide significant amounts of antioxidants, which are nutrients that enhance your body's ability to protect itself from infections and disease. The antioxidants in vitamin C and vitamin E may help minimize inflammation associated with candida overgrowth, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) 2. Fruits and vegetables particularly rich in vitamin C include:
- citrus fruits
- leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts
- bell peppers
- skin-on baked potatoes
- winter squash
Yogurt and Kefir
Yogurt and kefir contain beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. According to research published in the "Journal of Dental Research" in February 2007, regular probiotic intake may help reduce thrush symptoms 3. In the study, 276 elderly adults consumed 50 g of cheese containing probiotics or not containing probiotics for 16 weeks. At the study's end, researchers found significant reductions in candida in the saliva of participants who consumed the probiotics. Those who consumed the placebo showed increased candida prevalence. For potentially similar benefits, you can consume yogurt and/or kefir containing live active cultures on a routine basis. For added antioxidant benefits, top the yogurt with colorful fruit.
Cold Water Fish
Cold water fish are prime sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are fats your body needs and must obtain from dietary sources. The UMMC suggests that people who are prone to candida overgrowth cut back on red meat and consume more cold water fish for reduced inflammation and, potentially, fewer symptoms. Fish particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids include:
- albacore tuna
- lake trout
Non-inflammatory cooking methods include baking, broiling, steaming and grilling atop nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
Seasoning your food with natural spices may also help alleviate thrush symptoms. The UMMC recommends consuming more anti-fungal spices such as garlic, sage, cinnamon, oregano and cloves. Whole grain bran muffins and hot cereal — valuable sources of fiber and B-vitamins — can be seasoned with ground cinnamon and cloves. You can also prepare cold water fish in diced or chopped garlic. For an anti-fungal butter alternative, you can bake whole garlic cloves in your oven until soft, then spread the soft insides atop whole grain breads or other foods. Additionally, you can add diced garlic and oregano to chunky tomato sauce for a vitamin C-rich, anti-fungal dish. Herbs that are consumed fresh, dried, powdered or in tea form are also beneficial.
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