13 Best Foods That Kill Parasites In Humans

11 Best foods that kill parasites in humans

You will find the 13 best foods that kill parasites in humans naturally in this article.

What is a parasite?

A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism, causing it harm.

It feeds at the expense of its host, thus depriving it of many key nutrients necessary for its proper functioning.

Moreover, an internal parasite (endoparasite) can also harm its host by releasing toxins, such as metabolic wastes, into its body.

What are common human parasites?

Human parasites include protozoa and worms1.

Parasitic worms (helminths) comprise different groups, such as2

  • Roundworms (nematodes)
    • e.g., Ascaris, pinworms, and hookworms
  • Tapeworms (cestodes)
    • e.g., Taenia and Echinococcus
  • Flatworms (trematodes)
    • e.g., Liver flukes and blood flukes

Protozoa are one-celled animals found worldwide. All higher animals are infected with one or more species of protozoa3.

The most significant parasitic protozoa that infect humans globally are4:

  • Plasmodium
  • Trypanosoma
  • Leishmania

Where do human parasites live?

Internal parasites can colonize different parts of the human body, such as

  • The digestive system
  • Connective tissue
  • The circulatory or lymphatic system
  • Hollow organs (lungs or urogenital organs)

What are the symptoms of intestinal parasites?

The symptoms of parasitic intestinal infection in humans include5,6:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Bloating, gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Weight loss
  • Irritation
  • Insomnia
  • Blood loss, anemia

What are the causes of intestinal parasites?

The main causes of intestinal parasitic infection in humans are:

  • Eating contaminated food, such as undercooked meat or fish (sushi), raw vegetables or fruits
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Touching contaminated soil, water, or feces
  • Transmission in the womb through the umbilical cord

13 Best foods that kill parasites in humans

Here are the 13 best foods that kill gut and skin parasites in humans naturally:

1. Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil is a yellowish oil obtained by pressing seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).

It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, making it beneficial to health7,8.

Studies have shown that flaxseed oil kills different parasites, including:

  • Fasciola hepatica9
  • Plasmodium falciparum10,11
  • Strongylids and strongyloids12

Related: 20 Health Benefits Of Flaxseed Oil And Side Effects

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a fermented food made by slicing raw cabbage, layering it with salt, and leaving it to ferment in an airtight container.

Once deprived of oxygen, probiotic lactic acid bacteria present on cabbage leaves intensively multiply. This process is known as lactic acid fermentation.

During this process, the probiotic bacteria convert sugar into lactic acid.

Unpasteurized sauerkraut kills parasites

The digestive system produces digestive enzymes, such as hydrochloric acid and pepsin, that break down food and kill intestinal viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Lactic acid resulting from fermentation increases the acidity in your stomach, enhancing food digestion and parasite destruction13.

Sauerkraut is also rich in kaempferol14, a flavonoid with antiparasitic properties15,16,17,18.

3. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seed is the edible seed of a cultivar of orange winter squash.

It has a white husk and is green in color after shelling.

Pumpkin seeds kill parasites

Pumpkin seeds help eliminate parasites, such as Taenia, from your body by paralyzing them before they get expelled19,20.

They kill the following parasites:

  • Ascaridia galli21,22
  • Ascaris suum23
  • Fasciola gigantica24
  • Haemonchus contortus25,26
  • Hymenolepsis nana27
  • Ostertagia25
  • Schistosoma mansoni28
  • Taenia19,20
  • Trichostrongylus25

Besides, pumpkin seeds prevent parasitic eggs from hatching29,25,26.

The anti-parasitic component in pumpkin seeds has been identiļ¬ed as cucurbitine19.

Related: Pumpkin Seeds For Intestinal Parasites

4. Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is the red-colored berry-fruit of a Capsicum annuum plant.

It is a moderately hot chili pepper used as a spice in cooking.

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound responsible for their spicy and hot taste30.

Does spicy food kill parasites?

Chili pepper plants produce capsaicin as a defense mechanism against predators, parasites, and microbes.

Capsaicin kills the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease31,

  • Trypanosoma cruzi

The concentration of capsaicin required to eliminate this parasite is 57 times lower than benznidazole, the drug commonly used for treating Chagas disease31.

5. Garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a perennial flowering plant that grows from a bulb.

The bulb has a strong smell and comprises thin sheathing leaves that protect cloves.

Since ancient times, humans have used garlic cloves as a food flavoring and traditional medicine32.

The biological activity of garlic is mainly attributed to allicin and ajoene, sulfur compounds with anticancer effects33,32.

Garlic kills parasites

Garlic is one of the best foods that kill parasites. It eliminates the following parasites:

  • Blastocystis34
  • Cryptosporidium enteritis35
  • Echinostoma caproni36
  • Entamoeba histolytica33
  • Fasciola gigantica37
  • Giardia lamblia and intestinalis33
  • Haemonchus contortus larvae38,26
  • Hymenolepsis nana33
  • Leishmania tarentolae32, major and mexicana33
  • Plasmodium berghei and yoelii33
  • Schistosoma mansoni33
  • Trypanosoma brucei32, congolese and vivax33
  • Trichomonas vaginalis33

Related: An Easy Way To Know If You Have Liver Flukes (Fascioliasis)

6. Figs

The fig is the edible fruit of a small tree (Ficus carica) in the Moraceae family.

It is native to the Mediterranean and western Asia.

Figs kill parasites

Fig fruits have anti-parasitic properties.

They contain, namely, ficin, a proteolytic enzyme that digests the cuticle and destroys the body of Ascarids39.

Figs show activity against the following parasites:

  • Angiostrongylus cantonensis40
  • Ascaris39
  • Trichuris, including Trichuris muris39,40

Related: 7 Foods To Avoid When You’re Infected With Parasites

7. Ginger

Ginger is the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, a flowering plant in the Zingiberaceae family41.

Since ancient times, it has been used as a spice to flavor food and as a traditional remedy41.

The health benefits of ginger are mainly attributed to its phenolic compounds gingerols and shogaols42.

Ginger kills parasites

Ginger eliminates the following parasites:

  • Angiostrongylus cantonensins43
  • Anisakis simplex43
  • Ascaris lumbricoides44
  • Blastocystis43
  • Echinococcus granulosus43
  • Fasciola giganta45
  • Fasciola hepatica46,47
  • Giardia lamblia48
  • Hymenolepsis nana43
  • Schistosoma mansoni49
  • Toxocara canis43
  • Toxoplasma gondii43
  • Trichostrongylus axei50
  • Trypanosoma brucei43 and cruzi51

A study showed that ginger’s anti-parasitic activity against Fasciola giganta was more effective than triclabendazole, the drug commonly used45.

Related: How To Get Rid Of Liver Flukes Naturally

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of an evergreen aromatic tree (Cinnamomum).

In addition to being a food flavoring, cinnamon is also beneficial to human health52,53.

Cinnamon aldehyde is the main bioactive compound found in cinnamon bark53,52,54.

Cinnamon for parasites

Studies have shown that cinnamon kills the following parasites:

  • Giardia lamblia48
  • Leishmania infantum54

Cinnamon also gets rid of parasitic eggs.

Related: 7 Guilt-Free Candida Diet Snacks

9. Cloves

Cloves are the dried flower buds of clove (Syzygium aromaticum), an evergreen tree native to Indonesia55.

This food kills the following parasites:

  • Babesia56
  • Blastocystis57
  • Entamoeba histolytics58
  • Giardia lamblia59 and intestinalis58
  • Haemonchus contortus25,38
  • Ostertagia25
  • Plasmodium falciparum60
  • Trichostrongylus25
  • Trypanosoma cruzi51

Cloves contain eugenol

The main bioactive compound of cloves is eugenol, a phenol55.

Besides, studies have shown that eugenol eliminates parasites, including:

  • Fasciola gigantica60
  • Giardia lamblia60
  • Haemonchus contortus60
  • Schistosoma mansoni60
  • Leishmania donovani61

Cloves are well known for eradicating parasitic eggs25.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric is a flowering plant (Curcuma longa) in the Zingiberaceae family62.

Its rhizome is widely used to flavor food, especially in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine62.

Furthermore, turmeric has a very long history of medicinal use in India62.

Its main biologically active compound is curcumin 62.

Turmeric for parasites

Turmeric, or curcumin, kills the following parasites:

  • Acanthamoeba63,64
  • Cryptosporidium parvum65,66,67
  • Entamoeba histolytica68,69
  • Fasciola gigantica70
  • Giardia lamblia71,72
  • Leishmania73,74
  • Plasmodium falciparum75,76
  • Schistosoma mansoni77,78
  • Toxoplasma gondii79
  • Trichomonas vaginalis80
  • Trypanosoma81,82

Related: 17 Health Benefits Of Turmeric Root Powder

11. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of salted and fermented vegetables and seasonings83.

Its main ingredients are cruciferous vegetables, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper powder83.

These functional foods make kimchi very beneficial to human health.

Kimchi for parasites

Homemade kimchi is also one of the best foods that kills parasites.

Just like sauerkraut, it contains probiotic lactic acid bacteria with anti-parasitic properties.

Moreover, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper also have anti-parasitic effects, as explained in the previous sections.

Related: 3 Candida Diet Breakfast Recipes

12. Berries

Berries are small, rounded, fleshy fruits that are often edible. They are generally brightly colored and have many seeds.

Berries include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries84.

Berries kill parasites

A study reported that berries eliminated the human intestinal parasite

  • Giardia duodenalis85

Some of them were as effective as the currently used drug, metronidazole85.

Berries are rich in polyphenols with anti-parasitic activity, such as gallic acid85.

13. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is the fruit of a shrub (Punica granatum), a member of the Lythraceae family.


Pomegranate has anti-parasitic effects

Pomegranate is one of the best foods that kill parasites.

Its peel, namely, eliminates the following parasites:

  • Ascaris suum86
  • Cryptosporidium parvum87
  • Eimeria papillata88
  • Giardia duodenalis and lamblia85,89,90
  • Plasmodium falciparum91
  • Schistosoma mansoni92

Pomegranate peel is high in polyphenols and tannins that have anti-parasitic effects85,87,89,90.

Related: Do Papaya Seeds Kill Parasites?

Side effects of foods that kill parasites

Foods that kill parasites can cause side effects known as “die-off symptoms” or a “Herxheimer detox reaction”.

However, these symptoms disappear over time.

Here is how to prevent a Herxheimer detox reaction or how to reduce die-off symptoms, if you are already experiencing them.

Summary: 13 Best foods that kill parasites in humans

Humans catch parasites by consuming contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or touching contaminated matter.

There are, however, multiple natural foods that kill intestinal and other types of parasites.

As such, by modifying your diet, it is possible to get rid of them and the symptoms they induce.

The 13 best foods that kill gut and skin parasites in humans naturally are:

  1. Flaxseed oil
  2. Sauerkraut
  3. Pumpkin seeds
  4. Cayenne pepper
  5. Garlic
  6. Figs
  7. Ginger
  8. Cinnamon
  9. Cloves
  10. Turmeric
  11. Kimchi
  12. Berries
  13. Pomegranate

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