Parasites can live inside your body and rob you of essential nutrients, sapping your energy. Luckily, there are key foods that kill parasites while also boosting your overall health.
Parasites are a class of living organisms that feed off nutrients and energy from their hosts. They can live in organs like your liver, and also dwell in the digestive tract.
Some types of bacteria and parasites are benign when their numbers are controlled and balanced by other good bacteria in our bodies. However, when these parasites start to multiply and cause inflammation and other side effects, they result in what is considered a parasite infection. (1)
The most popular types of parasite infections are:
These flatworms can be ingested by eating contaminated raw foods like fish, crabs, or crayfish. The most common type of fluke is the liver fluke, which infects your liver and can cause liver, gallbladder, and bile duct disease if left untreated. (2)
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Tapeworms can also be contracted from contaminated raw foods and water, but also from infected pets. They can live in your digestive tract, but also migrate to other areas of your body. (3)
Pinworms are relatively harmless and are common in children. They are easily contracted by coming into contact with their eggs from contaminated sources such as bedding or pets and then touching your mouth. (4)
Giardia is a parasite that infects your small intestine and is often contracted by drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, and touching or other personal contact with contaminated substances. (5)
Wuchereria is a parasitic worm that can infect your immune system. While it is most commonly found in third world countries, it is spread by mosquitoes, making it easy to contract in the outdoors. (6)
What Causes Parasites?
If you’ve ever been told not to drink the water in certain countries, it’s because of potential parasite contamination. However, parasite infections aren’t limited to developing countries. In fact, they are more prevalent in our environment than we may think, especially if we have pets. The reason for this is our animals are in direct contact with dirt and other living areas for parasites, where they can more easily pick up them up and pass them on to us.
Also, parasites and their larvae are often so small our naked eye can’t see them. Therefore, they can easily make their way into our bodies through our foods and touching our faces with our hands. Some parasites can even infect us through mosquitoes or other insects.
While some parasite infections have little to no symptoms, others have a more severe impact. Some common symptoms of parasites are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Skin infections
- Unexplained weight loss
If you suspect you have a parasite, consult your doctor immediately so they can run a blood test, a fecal exam, or even take x-rays or perform an endoscopy if necessary. (7)
Why You Want to Treat Parasites ASAP
Not only can some parasites cause disease, but they can also cause organ damage, and even suppress certain processes of our immune system in order to survive. In addition, they can rob our bodies of essential nutrients, which can cause a lack of energy and lower our immune system further. (8)
This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about a possible infection, along with trying natural remedies and checking out the food list below.
10 Foods that Naturally Kill Parasites in Humans
Several foods can help win the fight against parasites. Even if you don’t have an infection or symptoms, the compounds in these foods can help kill any would-be invaders and even boost your immunity.
Garlic is widely known for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and studies show that it can help kill parasites, especially specific types called nematodes. One study, in particular, found that crushed garlic was 91.24% effective at killing the infection in naturally infected mice. (9)
For best results, chop up garlic and let it sit for several minutes so it can release its beneficial, microbe-fighting compounds. (10) Then, consume it raw by mixing it into a salsa or salad dressing, or spreading on Paleo-friendly toast.
People have used onions as a traditional remedy for parasites for hundreds of years. Onions contain various sulfur metabolites that help inhibit compounds inside parasites necessary for its survival. (11)
For best results, eat garlic and onions together for a synergistic effect.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain compounds that are particularly effective against tapeworms and nematodes. They help paralyze parasites, which prevents them from holding on to the walls of your digestive tract so they can be passed through your stool. In one study done on mice, pumpkin seed extract showed to inhibit the growth of other strains of nematode parasites. (12)
Add a dash of pumpkin seeds to your daily salad, or have a handful as a snack.
4. Papaya Seeds
Papaya seeds can help clear intestinal parasites. One study found that combining papaya seeds with honey had a parasite clearing rate of between 71.4% and 100% in Nigerian children infected with intestinal parasites. (13)
Don’t discard the seeds when you eat papaya and be sure to drizzle a little honey on top for good measure.
While there are no direct studies linking carrot consumption and parasites, there are studies that show that low levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene levels are associated with parasite infections in cattle. (14)
There’s no harm in adding more fresh veggies to your diet, so roast them as a hearty dinner side or toss shredded carrots into your salads to ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamin A and beta-carotene.
As if you needed another reason to indulge in coconut, it’s also effective at fighting parasites. Specifically, studies show that coconut’s medium-chain-fatty acids are able to kill the intestinal parasite Giardia, which is responsible for causing diarrhea. (15)
Sauté your veggies and meats in coconut oil, add it to your coffee or blend it into your favorite smoothie.
7. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are naturally rich in vitamin E, and research finds that vitamin E can help improve immune resistance to nematode infection in livestock. (16, 17) This means that vitamin E-rich foods like sunflower seeds could help fight parasite infections by boosting your immunity.
Enjoy a handful of sunflower seeds as a healthy snack.
8. Fermented Foods
not only help keep your digestion running smoothly due to their high content of probiotics, but they can also help fight parasites.
Studies show the probiotics present in fermented foods help block parasites and microbes from getting certain nutrients they need to survive while also boosting your natural immunity against them. (18)
Berries are rich in a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. Studies show these are able to inhibit the growth and spread of the intestinal parasite Giardia. Researchers believe this effect could also be due to the presence of a compound called ellagitannin found in berries. (19)
Add a cup of strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries to your daily regime.
10. Raw Honey
Honey contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can help fight pathogens. In addition, raw honey provides an abundance of antioxidant compounds that can boost your natural immunity, which can help keep parasites at bay. (20, 21, 22)
For best results, drizzle over papaya seeds, coconut yogurt, and/or pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
The Bottom Line
Many common foods contain natural compounds that can help fight and kill parasites. Give any of the above foods a try to help keep bad bugs at bay, but be sure to visit your doctor if you suspect you have a parasite infection. They will be able to provide you with additional remedies to take care of it.
(Read This Next: 9 Herbs That Naturally Kill Parasites)