What Are Parasites?
Most people think of parasites as something that only affects animals, but the truth is that humans can be infected with them, too. Parasites are tiny organisms that live off of other creatures - including us! - for food and shelter.
There are three types of parasites that can cause disease in humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Protozoa and helminths affect the gut mostly, while ectoparasites include lice and mites that attach or burrow into the skin for long periods. The majority of protozoa and helminths don't cause disease or result in mild illness only. Some, though, can cause severe human illness.
At first, the symptoms of parasitic diseases are usually gastrointestinal infections and issues like diarrhea. However, if parasites invade red blood cells or organs, they can become much more dangerous.
Protozoa are tiny single-celled organisms that multiply inside the human body. The most common type of protozoa that causes illnesses is called Giardia lamblia. These are intestinal parasites that affect the small intestine. Other types of intestinal protozoa include:
· Entamoeba histolytica
· Plasmodium (this is the parasite that causes malaria)
Helminths are parasitic worms that can grow up to a meter in length! The three main types of helminths that affect humans are roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes. Intestinal helminth infections usually occur when people eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water. The worms then travel to the digestive tract and attach themselves to the intestinal wall, where they can live for years. Some common helminths include:
· Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm)
· Trichuris trichiura (whipworm)
· Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)
· Schistosoma (flukes)
Ectoparasites are parasites that live outside a human host. The most common ectoparasites that affect humans are lice and mites. Lice are wingless insects that live in clothing or on the body and feed on human blood. Mites, commonly known as human itch mite, are small arthropods that live in the skin and hair follicles and can cause scabies. Other types of ectoparasites include:
How To Tell If You Have Parasites
Parasites can cause a ton of health conditions; Below, we talk about them in detail:
Aches And Pains Throughout The Body
One of the first signs that something is wrong is when you experience constant and unexplained aches and pains. This can be a sign that parasites have invaded your muscles or are attached to your nerve endings.
Heavily Coated Tongue
If you wake up and find that your tongue is heavily coated or white, this could be a sign of an infection, which is often caused by parasites. This infection can also cause other symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and cravings for sugar.
Another common sign of parasites is experiencing intestinal issues like diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and gas. We know, it doesn't sound fun at all. If you also have a fever along with these symptoms, it's even more likely that parasites are to blame.
If you've been trying to lose weight but haven't been able to, despite making changes to your diet and exercise routine, it could be because you have parasites. Some types of parasites can cause malnutrition by preventing your body from absorbing nutrients from food properly.
For women, another sign of parasites is irregular or missed periods. This is usually caused by hormonal changes that happen when parasites invade the reproductive organs.
If you have anemia, it means that your red blood cells are not able to carry enough oxygen to your tissues. This can be caused by various things, but if you also have other symptoms of parasites, it's worth getting checked out.
Ravenous for Bad Food
Parasites love sugar and processed foods. So if you find yourself constantly craving sweets or carbs even though you're trying to eat healthily, it could be because you have parasites.
Causes Of Parasites In Humans
There are various ways that humans can get parasites. Some of the most common include:
One of the most common ways that people get parasites is by eating undercooked meat. This is because parasites often live in the guts of animals, and these parasites can end up in your gut if consumed.
Drinking Contaminated Water
Another way that people can get parasites is by drinking contaminated water. This can happen if you drink from a river or lake that's not been boiled or properly. It can also happen if you don't clean your own water filter regularly.
Consuming Processed Foods
Processed foods are often loaded with sugar and other ingredients that parasites love. So if you eat a lot of processed foods, you're more likely to get parasites.
Preventing Parasites In Humans
There are various ways that you can prevent parasites from infecting you. Some of the most effective include:
There are a lot of diet changes that you can make to help prevent parasites. Below, we list some of them:
Take Some Tumeric: For decades, turmeric has been renowned as a superfood due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that help boost the immune system.
Tumeric also contains compounds that not only eradicate worms but also heal the damage these creatures inflict on the intestine. This results in a healthier gut overall. There are various ways to take turmeric. You can add it to your food. Or, you can take it in supplement form.
Consume More Coconut: Coconut is another food that can help prevent parasites. This is because it has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Coconut is also effective in killing Candida, which is a type of yeast that can lead to parasitic infections. Coconut can be eaten in various ways. You can add it to your food, or you can take it in supplement form.
Eat More Garlic: Garlic is another food that's effective in preventing parasites. This is because garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Garlic is also effective in boosting the immune system. There are various ways to eat garlic. You can add it to your food, or you can take it in supplement form.
Drink More Water: One of the best ways to prevent parasites is to drink plenty of water. This is because water helps flush out toxins and parasites from your body. Wellness professionals recommend you drink around eight glasses of water a day.
Avoid Processed Foods: As we mentioned earlier, processed foods are often loaded with sugar and other ingredients that parasites love. So if you want to avoid parasites, it's best to avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Fasting has been used for centuries as a way to cleanse the body and get rid of toxins. It's believed that fasting can help get rid of parasites by starving them and cleansing your body. There are various ways you can fast, but one of the most common is to do a juice cleanse or water fast.
What is a juice cleanse? A juice cleanse is when you consume nothing but juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables for a period of time, usually 3-5 days. While a water fast is when you consume nothing but water for a period of time.
There is also another common method of fasting known as intermittent fasting, which is when you eat all your meals within a smaller window of time. For example, you would eat all your meals between 10 am and 6 pm and then fast for the remaining hours of the day.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your gut health. They can help restore the balance of bacteria in your gut and improve your digestion. Probiotics are found in various foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
But beware of taking synthesized probiotics or supplements, as they can do more harm than good by disturbing the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Additionally, you can get probiotics from supplements, but it's always best to get them from food first.
Practice Good Hygiene
One of the best ways to prevent parasites is to practice good hygiene. This means washing your hands regularly, cooking your food properly, and avoiding contaminated water.
Some parasites are transmitted through contaminated food or water. So it's important to be careful about what you eat and drink when you're traveling in developing countries.
Additionally, you can reduce your risk of getting parasites by not sharing utensils with other people.
Wash Your Veggies Before You Eat
One of the easiest ways to prevent parasites is to make sure you're washing your fruits and vegetables properly. This means using clean water and scrubbing them well to get rid of any dirt, bacteria, or parasites that might be on them.
If you're unsure whether your fruits and veggies are clean, you can always soak them in a mixture of water and vinegar for 10 minutes before rinsing them off.
Parasites are organisms that live off of other animals or humans. They can cause a variety of diseases and infections, some of which can be deadly. The best way to prevent parasites is to eat healthy foods and starve them of their regular food sources through fasting. We hope this has helped you understand how parasitic diseases are caused and what you can do to avoid them.
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