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Can Parasites Cause Serious Health Problems?

What are parasites?

A parasite is an organism feeding off another organism. Intestinal parasites are microorganisms that live in the intestines that feed off your nutrition and can cause health problems. There are many different types of intestinal parasites that we may be exposed to in our environment, and children are especially susceptible. There are over 100 different types of parasites in different shapes and sizes. Most common ones include roundworm, tapeworms, pinworms, whipworms and hookworms


There are many ways a parasite can enter your body

  • Contaminated food and water
  • Uncooked fish or meat
  • Unwashed contaminated fruits and vegetables
  • Animals
  • Parasite can travel through the bottom of your foot
  • If a person has a parasite and they don’t wash their hands after using the toilet, they can pass microscopic parasite eggs on to door handles, telephones, salt shakers in restaurants or anything they touch. It is vital to keep washing your hands to prevent parasite transmission especially if you are travelling in developing countries


Intestinal parasites can cause many symptoms. One or more of these symptoms may be experienced depending on the individual and the severity of infection, such as;

  • Constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating
  • Chronic fatigue, anxiety or depression
  • Skin irritations, rosacea, eczema or rashes
  • Troubles falling asleep or waking up numerous times during your sleep
  • You have had food poisoning, and you develop chronic digestive issues
  • Food allergies
  • Grind your teeth during your sleep
  • You have been diagnosed with anemia
  • Muscle aches, headaches and joint aches
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss


Testing for parasites

The most accurate test for intestinal parasites is comprehensive stool test


Foods that reduce risk of becoming infected with intestinal parasites and helping your gut stay healthy

  • Raw Garlic – use in salads and dips
  • Ginger – excellent in curries, stir-fries and soups
  • Turmeric – stews, soups, turmeric tea
  • Thyme – soups, stews, salads and sauces
  • Antioxidant-rich foods high in vitamin C – fruit salads, fresh fruit
  • Also eating fiber rich foods will keep your gastrointestinal system healthy, which helps to prevent intestinal parasites because of regular elimination – lentils, beans and nuts


Get inspired and check out these healthy gluten-free recipes. The selections include vegetarian, paleo, egg-free, dairy-free and kids favourites


If you suspect that you have parasites, consult a naturopath or physician for comprehensive stool test and if necessary the best treatment for intestinal parasite infection


References: University of Maryland Medical Center

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice

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