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Ideally, it is best to ensure that your diet and lifestyle is such that you can prevent the infection in the first place. The health of the digestive system is paramount; indeed some researchers believe that digestive health is key to maintaining health generally.

There are billions of bacteria and micro-organisms which colonise our guts, known as gut flora. A healthy individual has a precise balance between friendly bacteria (such as lactobacilli and bifido bacteria) and potentially harmful bacteria and parasites such as E. coli and salmonella. The good bacteria are crucial for ensuring efficient digestion and absorption of food, as well as synthesising essential nutrients. A simple and effective way to maintain this balance is to eat natural live yoghurt, or take probiotic and prebiotic supplements.

Candida can be overcome by making certain changes to your diet, centring on reversing the imbalance of intestinal flora. This involves:

- Depriving the Candida yeast of sugar or simple carbohydrates

- Adding "friendly" bacteria into the diet so that they have a chance to re-establish dominance

- Recovering from the nutritional deficiencies caused by the Candida overgrowth and boosting the immune system.

A healthy immune system stands a better chance of safeguarding the body against fungal infection should Candida yeasts grow out of control. Supplements can be a convenient way to obtain the nutrients required for maintaining well-being but it is also important to eat a balanced diet. Here are some tips:

- Restrict sugary foods
- Cut out refined carbohydrates
- Restrict unrefined carbohydrates
- Reduce yeast
- Avoid antibiotics and steroids
- Eat only fresh foods, avoiding limp fruit and vegetables
- Reduce alcohol and fizzy drink intake
- Drink plenty of purified water

How fatty acids help
Omega fatty acids have several properties which help alleviate Candida symptoms. Converted into leukotrienes and prostaglandins, fatty acids such as EPA and GLA help to regulate hormones and increase the natural T-cell immune response. The anti-inflammatory properties also help with IBS-type symptoms, as well as the joint problems which result from fungal infection. Fatty acids also moisturise and protect the mucosal lining of the gut from fungal infection. Stress, a key factor in Candida, is also alleviated with fatty acid supplementation. EPA, in particular, helps to balance mood, and counteract the damaging consequences of cortisol - a by-product of stress.

Another reason to consider supplementing with omega fatty acids is the nutritional deficiencies that result from Candida infection. Low levels of vitamins and minerals (co-factors) inhibit the absorption and utilisation of omega fatty acids in the body. Indeed several Candida symptoms are linked to low levels of fatty acids, including skin complaints, allergies, stress, depression, low libido, weight gain or weight loss and PMS. By supplementing with long-chain fatty acids, you will help to overcome the blocks posed by problems with nutrient absorption in the hostile gut where Candida is dominant.

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