Pet owners are aware that parasites may be lingering in their furry friends, hence why annual cleanses and deworming are the norm. But we’re mammals too – so why do so many of us exempt ourselves from this practice?
What if I told you there’s a possibility that a parasite is in your brain at this moment, influencing your very thoughts and behaviors, causing physical symptoms, and at times, diseases? Have you ever even considered that you may be infected at all?
Today, parasitic infections in hosts can present as some of the autoimmune diseases and mental disorders that are prevalent in our society. But hospitals frequently don’t test for parasites, so it’s difficult to tell how many illnesses are actually caused by these protozoan life forms.
For most Evie readers who are invested in nutrition and health, it probably comes as no surprise that two billion people’s brains are infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a microscopic parasite found in cat feces, unwashed produce, contaminated water and meat, dust, soil, and other areas. So is it really surprising to think that maybe most people are infected when processed foods contain plenty of contaminants?
If this is the case, we need to educate ourselves on the foods that actually nourish parasites, in case deworming isn’t 100% successful. In this day and age, especially in cities where areas are mostly polluted and dirty, I would imagine it’s probably difficult to avoid parasites or harmful bacteria altogether. Perhaps starving them out could be the next step in keeping them from multiplying.
Here’s a list of things we can try to limit or avoid to prevent protozoan life cycles from continuing.
This is one of the top substances you will need to cut out if you want to starve out any worms in your body. Parasites utilize sugar for energy, making it their number one food source. In one study, antimalarial drugs were found to be more effective by blocking the malaria parasite’s uptake of sugar. (The malaria parasite is spread through mosquito bites. It then travels to your liver where it matures before entering your bloodstream and infecting your red blood cells.)
Parasites utilize sugar for energy, making it their number one food source.
Parasites are known to influence their host’s behavior by manipulating their biology (like secreting hormones and disrupting proper cell communication), so it’s highly likely that your sugar cravings may not just be yours.
A glass of wine here and there won’t hurt, but with chronic alcohol use, your chances of having a parasite might actually be higher. Strongyloides stercoralis is a parasite that showed prevalence in alcoholic individuals compared to the general population. They found that alcohol intake had a direct influence on this specific parasite. In fact, individuals who had it drank more than the ones who didn’t. And in 2001 (that’s literally two decades ago!), 30 million people globally were revealed to have this worm living in their small intestine – we can’t even imagine where that number could be now.
3. Heavy Metals
People who contain toxic levels of heavy metals in their bodies may have a weaker immune system, making them more susceptible to parasitic infections. Parasites like malaria were also shown to be dependent on heavy metals when it came to procreation. Though some of these metals are not completely avoidable since they’re prevalent in the environment, you can limit them by cutting down on certain foods like brown rice (which has 80% more arsenic than white rice varieties) and only consuming leafy vegetables that you grow yourself to avoid cadmium. Unfiltered water can also be ridden with heavy metals, so invest in a good water filter or only purchase water that underwent a reverse-osmosis process.
Parasites like malaria were also shown to be dependent on heavy metals when it came to procreation.
If you’re a coffee, tea, soda, or energy drink lover, you may want to switch to drinking more water. Drinks that contain caffeine are typically acidic in nature, and acidic environments allow parasitic infections like Toxoplasma gondii to thrive. Another parasite affected by caffeine is pinworms. Pinworms are one of the causes of pruritus ani (anal itching), and studies reported that avoiding acidic beverages like coffee reduced symptoms within two weeks.
What To Eat Instead
We can all agree that starving out parasites may be challenging and almost impossible in the long run, but luckily, we can counteract infections by consuming the following antiparasitic herbs and foods:
Black walnut hulls
Black seed oil
The topics that we’re least educated on should be the ones we should remain wary of, and such is the case with parasites. Currently, humans are hosts to hundreds of different kinds of parasites. Deworming may be effective in removing most of them, but in case not all of them can be removed, it’s important that we make dietary changes in order to inhibit their chances of survival. Read our article here for more information on how to get rid of parasites.
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