Discover the Best Foods and Natural Remedies for Nail Fungus
We hear the word, “fungus,” and we immediately cringe with worry, but what exactly is it? Technically speaking, it’s an organism that feeds on organic matter – and these such organisms include molds, mushrooms, and yeast. Fungus can wreak havoc in our bodies. Both fingernail fungus and toenail fungus are typical occurrences. Below are the most common questions asked about nail fungus.
What is nail fungus?
Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection, usually starting underneath the nail as a white or yellow spot.
What are the symptoms of nail fungus?
As there are many different kinds of fungi, symptoms of a fungal nail infection may vary depending on the type. You may have a fungal infection if one or more of your nails appears:
• Crumbly or brittle edges
• Distorted shape
• Thickened and dark in color
• Dullness in color, loss of natural nail shine
• Separation from the nail bed
• Pain in the affected fingertips or toes
• A slight foul odor from the nail
It is important to note that nail conditions may be a sign of other conditions or diseases. If your infection does not respond to treatment a visit to your medical practitioner is recommended.
What causes nail fungus?
As mentioned previously, fungi are microscopic organisms that develop and live off organic matter. It doesn’t need sunlight to survive, but thrives in warm, moist environments such as water tanks, pools, and showers/bathrooms. Fungi can get into your nail through tiny cuts near the nail bed or if there’s a separation of the nail from the nail bed. It becomes a problem if your nails are continually exposed to the fungi or the environment where it thrives. This is why these infections are more common in toenails than fingernails.
Who is most at risk?
Aging is one of the most common risk factors. As we age, our blood circulation to the extremities of the body may reduce (this is often related to diabetes), which may affect the ability of toe and fingers nails to recover from infections.
Nail fungus also tends to affect more men than women, especially if there is a family history of nail fungus. Other risk factors include:
• Athlete’s foot
• Minor nail injuries that damage the nail
• Diabetes, compromised immune system diseases, or circulation problems
• Heavy sweating
• Humid work environments
• Walking barefoot in damp, moist environments
• Wearing shoes and socks that don’t absorb moisture (wearing non-cotton socks may be a factor)
Can you cure nail fungus?
Although it is sometimes difficult to treat quickly, especially if the infection becomes extensive, it is a curable condition. You can use home remedies, change your diet, use over-the-counter products, or ask your doctor for a prescription. If you have a history of nail infections or any of the above risk factors, then there is the possibility of recurrence. This is why you’ll want to pay close attention to your nails if you have one or more of the above risk factors.
Best Treatment for Nail Fungus
If you are someone who would rather take a more natural and alternative route for curing your nail fungus, then the options below may be a good place to start. There are some foods that you will need to avoid because they provide natural sugars that fungi thrive on. Changing your diet over the long-term can help prevent the fungus from recurring in the future as well.
It’s important to note here that fungus can sometimes take quite a long time to disappear. If you go one to three months without seeing any improvement at all in your symptoms or if symptoms get worse, it is recommended that you visit your medical practitioner.
The best foods to avoid if you have nail fungus
It would be easier to list the foods you should avoid than give a list of foods that are helpful for fungal infections. You should avoid the following foods while fighting a nail fungus:
These are high in natural sugars which feeds the fungus to help it grow. You should still eat fruit regularly, but while fighting this infection, limit your intake.
White or complex carbohydrates
Carbohydrates of any sort will break down into glucose sugar in the food. As fungus requires sugar to grow it is best to completely eliminate or significantly reduce your intake of cakes, cookies, bagels, ice cream, donuts, muffins – or indeed most processed foods.
This will be a tough one because nearly everything contains gluten. Avoid wheat products such as pastas, breads, and other gluten products by simply shopping for gluten-free substitutes for a while instead
In essence, for the next several months, aim for a gluten-free diet with less added fruits. Keep in mind that it’s the sugar the fungus will feed off of. Eat more wholesome, natural, and organic foods to avoid an excess intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Natural Remedies and Creams
Here are some good home remedies if you don’t want to buy over-the-counter creams or get prescriptions or you have not found them to be effective. When using these creams and oils, dip your nails in and also apply liberally to the whole tip of the toe/finger and nail.
• Tea tree oil foot with vitamin E oil: Tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic. Both tea tree and vitamin e oils can be found easily in drug stores. Mix these oils in equal parts and apply to the infected nail twice a day using a cotton ball.
• Vinegar, water and vitamin E: Soak your infected hand or foot in equal parts warm water and vinegar for about 15-30 minutes. Dry and apply vitamin E oil to the infected nail. Do this twice a day.
• Vicks Vapor Rub, if caught early: Apply this to the infected nail using a cotton ball (making sure that you do not place an infected nail into the vapor tub) and wrap a band-aid around it. You can remove the band-aid once the rub is dried. Do this twice a day.
• Organic Apple cider vinegar and baking soda: Soak the infected area in the organic vinegar for 10-15 minutes. Make a paste with baking soda and warm water and apply liberally to the nail. Leave to dry and then wash off.