Yeasts, bacteria, and other microbes exist in abundance in every individual's digestive tract. The gut lining consists of both beneficial and harmful varieties. When the balance shifts in favor the pathogenic microbes, our immune system suffers.
Symptoms of bacterial and fungal overgrowth include fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, headaches, sugar cravings, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), skin and nail fungal infections, dizziness, and much more. Antibiotics, environmental toxins, a highly processed diet, stress, and the aging process all contribute to microbial imbalance.
There are a myriad of options for those seeking to boost their immune system through diet. In this article we compare and contrast five popular diets designed to restore or maintain health.
Before contrasting these diets, it's important to note their similarities.
- Elimination of processed foods. What exactly are processed foods? The Food and Drug Administration defines them as "any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling." Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, notes that processed foods are natural foods that "get subjected to extreme heat, pressure, enzymes, solvents and countless number of various other chemicals." In addition, she notes, "fats get hydrogenated and proteins get denatured." She says the bulk of processed foods are carbohydrates which, in the form of processed foods, are burdensome to the body.
- Elimination of sugar. Sugar is the primary food for pathogenic yeasts and bacteria. By taking sugar out of our diet, we essentially starve these pathogens. For more information on this concept (specifically relating to toxic fungi), see the article Forget Antibiotics, Steroids, and Medication – Starve This Toxin Out of Your Body by natural health advocate Dr. Joseph Mercola.
- Elimination of grains. With the exception of Body Ecology's inclusion of grain-like seeds such as quinoa or buckwheat, all of these diets are grain-free. Grains and many root vegetables such as yams and potatoes are rich in starch. Digestion of starch requires quite a bit of work for the digestive system, leaving much of the starch undigested. Undigested starch provides food for pathogens. Doug Kaufmann, author of the Phase One diet, notes that mycotoxins are commonly found in grains because "sugar is the staple food of fungi, which makes grains one of their prime targets."
The following chart offers a comparison of the foods that are permitted on each of the diets. The chart is not a comprehensive assessment of each diet, but rather a tool to assist you in your research. See the individual websites linked above for specific protocols.
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momsAWARE Antifungal Diet Comparison Chart