As medical researcher and former yeast infection sufferer I am often asked about the connection between vinegar and yeast infections. Most experts agree that eating certain foods encourage the growth of yeast and increase the chance of an infection. But what about vinegar? Vinegar has been proven to improve the health of many people. So, does vinegar cause yeast infections or does it help the body fight against them?
Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. Candida lives in small amounts inside everyone's body. In small amounts it is beneficial to the body and certainly not dangerous. Candida becomes a threat to the body when it grows out of control in the digestive system and then enters the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream it circulates throughout the body attacking wherever it finds an opportunity.
Certain foods can create an environment within the body that encourages the yeast to grow. White sugar, refined white rice and flour, and some highly processed foods encourage Candida growth and damage the body's ability to fight off the infection.
The ph level of the body also affects the growth of Candida yeast. The ph level, which stands for "potential hydrogen" is a measurement of the amount of acid in the body. The scales runs from 0 (high acid) to 14 (low acid). The ph level of human blood should be between 7.35 and 7.45. Pure water has a ph of 7 which is considered to be neutral. Even a small change in the ph level can have a significant effect on our health.
The higher the acid level the easier it is for yeast to grow. Anyone who suffers from yeast infections should everything possible to maintain their body's ph level at the lowest healthy point possible.
Several factors that contribute to high ph levels are:
1. High stress level
2. Lack of exercise
3. Excess fat in diet
4. Excess consumption of dairy products
5. Not enough fresh vegetables and fruits in diet
White vinegar is extremely acidic with a typical ph level between 2.4 and 3.4. This extremely high acid level makes an idea environment for Candida yeast to grow out of control. White vinegar should be eliminated from the diet of anyone who has a yeast infection or is prone to getting them. Most other types of vinegar including balsamic, red wine, and rice vinegar are also highly acidic.
The only exception to the rule is apple cider vinegar which has a ph of 7.5. Often sold at health food stores, organic apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered and unpasteurized can actually lower the acid level of the body. Many researchers believe that a teaspoon or two each day will help to prevent yeast infections as well as improving overall health.
The answer to the question, "does vinegar cause yeast infections?" is yes and no. White, balsamic, red wine, and rice vinegars definitely will cause yeast infections. Natural organic apple cider vinegar will not.
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