Q: I have thrush quite often and also tend to get wind and a bloated stomach. My dietician says I should go on a Fodmap regime. Can you explain what it is, how it works and if there are any alternatives?
A: The Fodmap diet originated in Australia and involves restricting certain foods (see below) that are highly fermentable in the large intestine. ‘This is supposed to reduce digestive symptoms that are common with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) including bloating, flatulence, cramping and diarrhoea,’ explains nutritionist Marilyn Glenville (marilynglenville.com).
But the Fodmap diet does not restrict sugar or aspartame (artificial sweetener). Many nutritional experts advise patients with your symptoms to avoid sugar in any form until they recover.
Your symptoms suggest that the problem is caused by candida, a yeast that occurs naturally on the skin, in the mouth, vagina and digestive system. In a healthy body, candida in the digestive system is kept under control by the levels of good bacteria and the immune system. But if the good ‘bugs’ are reduced by antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, HRT or stress, the single-celled yeast can grow roots, which can pierce the walls of the gut and invade the bloodstream, causing a yeast infection known as candidiasis.
Symptoms of candidiasis include persistent vaginal thrush, bloating and flatulence, craving for sugar and bread, getting tipsy on a little alcohol, brain fog, athlete’s foot and fungal toe as well as food sensitivities. You can test for candida by doing a candida antibody test (£140.40, from naturalhealthpractice.com).
A low-yeast, low-sugar diet (see below) would be much better for you than the Fodmap diet. You could also try NHP Advanced Probiotic Support (£29.98 for 60 capsules) and eliminate the candida overgrowth by using natural remedies such as oregano (Oregano Complex by Biocare, £23.86 for 60 capsules).
The Fodmap diet restricts the following foods: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, eg, lentils, kidney beans, broccoli, and wheat Disaccharides, eg, milk, soft cheeses and yoghurtMonosaccharides, eg, apples, pears, honey and fruit juicesAnd Polyols, eg, Xylitol and stone fruits
The low-yeast, low-sugar dietAvoid sugar and foods containing sugar (eg, cakes, jam and biscuits), foods containing yeast (bread, yeast extracts and pizzas), refined grains (white flour, white rice and fermented products including alcohol, vinegar and soy sauce), peanuts, malted foods and drinks, fruit juices, fruit and dried fruit, dairy products (except those below), and regular tea and coffee.Choose Fish, eggs, tofu, live organic natural yoghurt, butter, vegetables, herbal teas, yeast-free soda bread, nuts and seeds, soya milk and pulses. Stick to apples and pears for fruit, and only eat crispbreads that are yeast-, malt- and sugar-free.
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Our 14-year-old deodorant-obsessed tester has given a resounding thumbs-up to the new lightly fragranced Missy spray deodorant by Keep It Kind, specially formulated for girls aged 11 plus. ‘She dances three times a week and it keeps her fragrant and dry throughout the two-hour sessions,’ her mother reports. Free from aluminium, parabens, alcohol and suitable for vegans, the Keep It Kind range promises 24-hour protection against whiffy bacteria and is suitable for all skin types. It’s available nationwide and from boots.com, £3.29 for 150ml.
Give yourself a youth boost
On Saturday 11 May and Sunday 12 May, the first Anti-Ageing Health & Beauty Show takes place at London Olympia. I will be there on both days with Jo Fairley, my co-author on The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible, and we very much hope that you will come and see the show and say hello to us. There will be lots of other experts on everything from skincare and diet to cosmetic procedures and fitness – the works! There is a special offer for YOU readers who book within the next three weeks. From today until 14 April, you’ll pay just £10 for a standard ticket, saving £5 each, and £65 for a VIP ticket, saving £20 (the VIP ticket includes a glass of champagne, access to the VIP Retreat Lounge, an exclusive beauty treatment and a goody bag worth more than £90). Book on the website anti-ageingshow.com/tickets, or tel: 0844 858 6764, using the offer code GLOW.
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