Diet for Parasite Cleansing
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Nutritionist
There are some who postulate that all disease starts from a parasitic infection. Now I’m not so sure how true that statement is, but I do know that parasites are not your friends.
Parasites in the body can originate from different sources, such as raw meat, tainted water, or from animals (pets), as well as an array of other sources that can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, fatigue, food cravings (especially for sweet things) and unstable blood sugar levels.
Parasites thrive in an environment that is conducive to their growth and development, particularly where the host (your body) has a weakened immune system or is fed too many starches and/or sugar.
Yet with a healthy digestive system, parasites normally go straight through and out the other end. Consequently, a parasite cleanse diet contains foods that support the immune system and is low in sugar and starches.
It is best to follow a parasite cleanse diet for about three months to give your body an opportunity to get rid of all kinds of parasites and their eggs that can be hidden in different organs.
Some people seem to be ‘prone’ to repeated parasitic infections, so the diet is great for general maintenance as well as a support during a cleanse and medical/herbal eradication program.
During a parasite cleanse you need to exclude any ‘bug-friendly’ foods so your immune system and any herbs/antibiotics you may use can do their best job possible. This diet may also help to prevent a recurrence of parasites.
The core of this diet is about good gut health and integrity of the bowel wall, because parasites love to burrow deep into your digestive system and cause all sorts of havoc.
A Parasite Cleanse Diet should be gluten-free, dairy-free and additives-free to allow the body to have every opportunity to clear and heal the gut. It is also very low in sugar and grains to avoid feeding the bugs and has some special ingredients to help your body flush them out of your system.
You will need help from your health practitioner to guide you with supplemental herbs and spices (or antibiotics if needed and prescribed) to kill off any current infection. The combination of diet and supplements can make a huge difference to clear out the bugs and help prevent them from returning.
If you feel your parasites are resistant to treatment, or you are sensitive to herbs or antibiotics to treat the parasites, or if your symptoms get worse during the treatment, then you may have histamine sensitivity. Some parasites secrete histamine and if this is the case, I suggest to first follow a Low Histamine Diet for a few weeks, and then return to the recommended foods in the Parasite Cleanse Diet, including supplementation suitable for your body.
Before you commence a new diet, see your medical or health care professional for qualified guidance about what foods and supplements are best for you. While on the diet do not stop any medications or supplements previously prescribed unless advised otherwise by your medical or health care professional.
During the early stages of a new diet, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches or body aches, which may occur because your body is detoxifying. However, if you are unsure about a symptom at any time, check immediately with your medical or health care professional.
Sugar feeds parasites and eats up the supply of B vitamins and minerals in the body. A parasitic infection may lead to cravings for carbohydrates and refined sugar, so it’s best to avoid these types of foods to starve parasites of their fuel. Eating a teaspoon of coconut oil or a few almonds or brushing your teeth can help to alleviate sweet cravings.
Refined carbohydrates like cakes, bread, cookies, cereal and pasta (basically any grain foods) should be avoided. All lead to major fluctuations in blood sugar control and therefore put an extra strain on an already burdened system that’s infected with parasites, plus they all convert to sugar which feeds the parasites and encourages more growth.
Herbs prescribed by your health care provider can make a big impact on your parasitic infection and the prevention of re-infection. These may include: wormwood, cloves, black walnut hulls, citrus seed extract, berberine, oregano oil and the mineral zinc.
Your health practitioner will probably want to understand more about your body to be able to treat and prevent parasitic infections. This could involve checking your digestive system, stomach acid, digestive enzymes, immune system and lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and stress.
The bottom line: avoid sugar and starches and eat plenty of the anti-parasitic food ingredients (below) and follow any prescriptive instructions from your practitioner.
Following are some of the foods to include in a good parasite cleansing diet. You may also need some adjunctive herbs from your health care provider.
Anthelmintic is the term used for any substance that can help expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
Garlic, when crushed or cut, releases an enzyme called alliinase, which is a natural anti-parasitic and antibiotic food that also helps support bowel detoxification.
Green leafy vegetables with high nutrient content help the body to get rid of toxins created by the parasites.
Coconut oil contains Lauric acid, which produces a substance that effectively kills parasites, viruses, yeasts, as well as bad bacteria in the digestive tract.
This fruit has a powerful ability to destroy worms, such as tapeworms and most intestinal worms. The dried seeds from papaya, which can be ground and eaten like pepper, are a great anti-parasitic spice to use.
Like garlic, green onions release the enzyme alliinase when crushed or cut.
Contains an anti-parasitic enzyme known as bromelain, especially when the pineapple is eaten a little on the green side.
Fish and organic meats
These high-quality protein sources can support your immune system and provide the body with the essential fatty acids needed for fuel.
Help eliminate tapeworm and roundworm. Great as a snack, the pepitas that is, not the worms! 🙂
Fennel seed tea
Can irritate certain kinds of parasites to flush them out of the body.
Spices like cayenne, chillies, horseradish, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves all help to eradicate parasites.
Client name and identifying information changed
Joe had parasites that just kept coming back. Not sinister parasites, these were the worms that you mainly get from kids and animals. They were very irritating for him and every full moon they would near drive him crazy with rectal itch.
I’m not kidding, worms love to come out to the light to lay eggs. Perhaps they like to go out for a full-moon party (now I’m kidding).
For years Joe had taken various over the counter medications for worms and had even tried herbs. They did all work, but the worms kept returning so he knew that he had to do more and that’s why he came to see me.
Joe loved drinking beer (full of yeast, gluten and sugar) and loved cheese and crackers on a Friday evening (starch and lactose which is the sugar from milk). He also loved to eat pasta for dinner three nights a week and two to three cups of coffee with sugars every day. See a pattern here?
It was clear that he had far too many sugar hits and combined with the rest of his diet it meant his blood sugar would have been spiking and dropping up and down, all day, every day. This was a super recipe to encourage ‘worms’, candida and other parasitic critters. No wonder he couldn’t keep on top of those infections.
I told Joe he needed to go on a parasite cleanse to eradicate his current infection, and to also adjust his diet to balance his blood sugar levels so he wasn’t constantly feeding those bad bugs in his body.
Once he realised why the infections kept recurring, it was easy for him to understand why he needed to change his diet and lifestyle. He was sick of the worms and was ready for a healthier body.
Initially we used some herbs concurrently with a low sugar diet and no alcohol.
We also introduced a breakfast smoothie which included papaya (with seeds), pineapple (with core), blueberries (anti-inflammatory), some green vegetables, chia seeds, pepitas (zinc for immune system and Anthelmintic), sunflower seeds (B vitamins), coconut yoghurt (good bacteria) and coconut oil (anti-most bugs), topped with some cinnamon and turmeric.
Yum, what an explosion of nutrients – and all in one (big) glass!
Joe enjoyed the smoothie every day and felt it was great to keep worms at bay. He continued to do so after his program was finished as he said it felt like it kept his insides healthy.
Needless to say, the worms didn’t revisit Joe (or if they did, they passed through very quickly). He felt much better cutting out sugar, most grains, gluten and dairy. He still had the occasional drink, coffee and pasta meal, but very rarely as he doesn’t want the worms to return and stay.
Sounds a bit like visiting relatives who are fine to catch up with briefly…but not for a stay-over!