Fungal infections can happen to anyone, no matter how strict your hygiene regimen is, or how healthy you are. We live in a world filled with bacteria, toxins, and most of us have a history of poor eating habits that can set us up for developing fungal infections more easily. For instance, high amounts of processed foods, (specifically sugar), meat and other animal-based foods, along with junk and fast food all contain additives, chemicals, hormones, pesticides, and damage our gut bacteria and weaken our bodies’ immune systems.

Antibiotics and prescription drugs only contribute to this problem, therefore we’re not able to fight off fungi we encounter every day like we normally would. Or, if you come in contact with spoiled food, some type of dangerous bacteria in the environment, or drink bacteria-laden water, you might also develop a fungal infection. The possibilities are endless, and though you needn’t walk around scared all the time, it’s still helpful to know how to fight fungal infections more naturally with your diet as much as possible. The healthier you eat, the better chance your immune system has for thriving.

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Here are some especially powerful anti-fungal foods to add to your regimen:

1. Coconut

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Coconut is one of the best anti-microbial foods you can eat that also comes with many other benefits too. It’s high in lauric acid and caprylic acid that has been shown to fight candida yeast in the body, which we all have in our digestive systems, but when it grows and becomes out of control, it causes symptoms like a rash or breakout, an itch, chronic fatigue, sugary cravings and even moodiness and depression. Coconut’s lauric acid content also helps boost immunity and its healthy fats improve your liver function.

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Try to use whole coconut meat (or coconut butter) versus just the oil in your foods, then apply the oil on your skin to protect your skin from unhealthy bacteria you encounter through the environment. It also makes for a great non-toxic lotion and shaving cream.

2. Garlic

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Another popular natural bacteria-fighting food is garlic, but not garlic powder or pre-minced garlic at the store – fresh garlic cloves. Garlic contains vitamin B6, potassium, it detoxifies the body, boosts immunity, strengthens the liver, and promotes a healthy heart. Garlic specifically fights bacteria in the digestive tract and helps build good bacteria since it’s a natural prebiotic food.

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Use a clove a day to get the benefits; this is easy to do if you put a little fresh garlic onto a salad, in some roasted veggies or in soup, or if you eat raw, the cloves are easy to purée into raw soups and sauces. Here are some easy tips to grow your own garlic if you’d like to try that too.

3. Oregano

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Many people use oregano oil to fight bacteria, but the whole leaf is also a smart choice. Oregano is one of the easiest herbs to grow yourself and also one of the most nutritious. A few leaves (about a tablespoon worth) contains more antioxidants than a whole cup of blueberries!

It helps fight bacteria in the body, strengthens the immune system and even reduces stress due to high levels of vitamin B6. Oregano is also a natural source of chlorophyll that also fights bacteria and acidity. Plus, let’s be honest – it’s pretty delicious!

4. Pumpkin Seedspumpkin seeds veganism

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Pumpkin seeds are especially helpful at fighting parasites (which yes, are very easy to encounter through food, water, and even contact with animals and the general public!). They contain properties that bind to parasites and help excrete them through the digestive tract. Pumpkin seeds are also a wonderful source of plant-based protein, providing 13 grams in just 1/4 cup. Try to buy fresh, raw pumpkin seeds (organic is optimal) instead of roasted varieties with oil and salt for the most benefits.

Pumpkin seeds are also an overlooked source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s help improve your thyroid and can relieve dry skin that’s often associated with rashes due to skin fungal infections. Eat 1/4 cup of the seeds a day for the benefits to see how they work for you. You can use them in oatmeal, in or on top of a smoothie, top soup with them, or snack on them raw instead of unhealthy chips or candy.

5. Onions

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A cheap and humble food, onions are a great addition to your diet, not just for flavor, but also for your health. Like garlic, they are healthy for your liver and heart, help fight the growth of bacteria, and are perfect to use whether you have a mild cold or even something more serious like a fungal infection. One reason is that they’re so high in immune-boosting properties. They’re a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, antioxidants, and potassium. You can use them raw or put them into a homemade broth to drink daily or use as a base for a healthy soup.

You might also look into some natural skin care creams for fungal infections that include tea tree oil, oregano, and natural substances versus chemical-based options at the store. Be sure to keep your diet as healthy as possible emphasizing clean, fresh foods and avoid animal products, refined sugar and grains, yeasty foods like bread, beer, baking (brewer’s) yeast, processed foods and fast foods. Avoid energy drinks, sodas, processed drinks, and consume water and herbal tea instead. If you must drink coffee, try to use fresh beans and buy organic since coffee is a highly sprayed crop coated with chemicals.

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Try adding these foods to your diet and check our 5 Tips on How to Improve Your Gut if you need more tips on how to fight fungi and viruses more naturally.

Lead Image Source: Kim Wasseneer/Flickr