Parasites are organisms that live on or inside another organism, known as the host. They can cause a range of health problems, from mild digestive issues to serious illnesses. Parasites can enter the body through contaminated food or water, insect bites, sexual contact, or even just walking barefoot on contaminated soil.
Best Anti-Parasitic Foods To Add To Your Diet
One way to help prevent parasitic infections is to add anti-parasitic foods to your diet. These foods have been used traditionally to kill parasites and promote overall health. Here are some of the best anti-parasitic foods to add to your diet:
1. Raw Garlic
Garlic is a powerful anti-parasitic food that has been used for centuries to treat various infections. It contains allicin and ajoene compounds with anti-parasitic and antimicrobial properties. Eating raw garlic or adding it to your meals can help kill parasites and support your immune system. (1)
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is essential for immune function. They also contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin, which has anti-parasitic properties. Eating pumpkin seeds regularly can help prevent and treat parasitic infections. (2)
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties. Drinking pomegranate juice or eating fruit can help kill parasites and improve overall health. It is important to note, however, that most studies on pomegranate are actually referring to the extract that comes from the peel, not the fruit itself. Still, the fruit is high in vitamin C, which is important for fighting parasitic infections. (3)
Read: What is Candida Overgrowth, and Do You Have It?
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which supports immune function and helps fight off infections. They also contain fiber, which helps with the elimination of parasites from the digestive system. Other high beta-carotene foods that can be beneficial are sweet potato and squash. (5, 10)
6. Honey and Papaya Seeds
In one study, researchers found that a mixture of honey and papaya seeds cleared stools of parasites in 23 out of 30 subjects. Papaya seeds contain an enzyme called papain, which may help kill worms when taken 30 minutes before or after meals. However, papain may increase bleeding in people with clotting disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin). (6)
Drinking plenty of water is essential for flushing out parasites and other toxins from the body. It also helps keep the digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Make sure that this is treated and filtered water so that you do not inadvertently give yourself another infection. (7)
Eating a high-fiber diet can help flush out parasites and other toxins from the digestive system. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and help maintain a healthy digestive system. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut can help prevent and treat parasitic infections. (8, 10)
10. Papaya Seeds
In a 2015 study, a group of 326 schoolchildren in Kenya ate porridge with ground papaya seeds in it for two months. Other groups were given porridge with an anti-parasitic medication added or plain porridge.
The group that ate papaya seed porridge had 63.9% fewer roundworm eggs in their stool after the test. The group that ate medicated porridge had 78.8% fewer eggs. The students who ate untreated porridge had higher egg counts overall.
Read: Parasitic worm populations are skyrocketing in some fish species used in sushi
Oregano is a potent anti-parasitic herb that can help kill parasites and prevent them from reproducing. You can take oregano as a capsule, tincture, or tea. It is important to note that not many studies have been done on oregano’s efficacy, and more research is needed. (9)
In addition to these foods, herbs such as garlic, barberry, goldenseal, Oregon grape, anise, wormwood, curled mint, and black walnuts have been traditionally used to treat parasitic infections. Please speak to your healthcare provider before adding any of these herbs into your routine, particularly in supplement form. They may have side effects that could be dangerous to your health if taken improperly or in combination with other medications. This is especially important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Foods To Avoid
There are also some foods you will want to avoid if you attempt to get rid of an active parasitic infection. Please note that it is not necessary to cut these out all the time, only if you have a confirmed infection you are trying to eliminate. These include simple carbohydrates found in refined foods, fruits, juices, dairy products, and all sugars except honey. You’re also best to avoid raw meat and fish until you know that you are clear of the infection.
The Bottom Line
Adding anti-parasitic foods to your diet can help prevent and treat parasitic infections. These foods are effective against parasites and promote overall health and well-being. However, if you suspect that you have a parasitic infection, it is important to seek medical attention and follow the appropriate treatment plan.
Keep Reading: 7 Signs Of Intestinal Parasites Living Inside Your Body
- “Anti-Parasitic Activities of Allium sativum and Allium cepa against Trypanosoma b. brucei and Leishmania tarentolae.” NCBI. Sonja Krstin, et al. June 2018.
- “Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts—In Vitro and in Vivo Studies.” MDPI. Maciej Grzybek, et al.
- “Pomegranate Peel Extract Is a Potential Alternative Therapeutic for Giardiasis.” NCBI. Asmaa M. El-Kady, et al. June 2021.
- “Evaluation of antiplasmodial potential of Beta vulgaris juice in Plasmodium berghei infected mice.” Science Direct. Haleema H. Albohiri, et al. April 2022.
- “Parasites, nutrition, immune responses and biology of metabolic tissues.” Wiley Online Library. T. Shea-Donohue, et al. February 24, 2017.
- “Fortification of Carica papaya fruit seeds to school meal snacks may aid Africa mass deworming programs: a preliminary survey.” BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. M. Kugo, et al. December 7, 2018.
- “Intestinal parasites.” Mount Sinai
- “Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo.” Pubmed. M Force, et al. May 2000.
- “What is a parasitic cleanse?” VeryWellHealth. May 30, 2023.