Do you experience constant gastrointestinal disruption, recurrent infections, and chronic symptoms like fatigue, difficulty thinking clearly, and achiness? If so, you may be suffering from candida.
This common condition is exceptionally difficult to resolve but many experts believe that following a well-structured candida diet may significantly improve patient outcomes. Discover how to better combat candida by learning more about the condition itself, what constitutes a candida diet, and how specific foods may help or hinder recovery.
What is Candida?
Candida albicans is one of over a million microflora that live in the gut. To maintain healthy bodily function, these substances must be maintained at the appropriate levels. Even minor imbalances of the intestinal microbiome can cause harmful spread, infection, or overgrowth of microflora including candida. As the prevalence of candida increases in the gut and elsewhere throughout the body, serious issues may arise. Symptoms and conditions associated with candida include:
- Athlete’s foot and other types of fungal infection
- Changes in mood
- Chronic disease such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cognitive issues including brain fog and ADD
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Loss of libido
- Muscle and joint pain or weakness
- Newly developed sensitivities to previously tolerated foods, allergens, and chemicals
- Recurrent infections most often affecting the urinary tract and vagina
- Reduced immune function and autoimmune disease
- Skin conditions
Treatment of candida is considered to be exceptionally difficult. Typically, resolving candida requires a comprehensive treatment plan that attends to the many systems that may be impacted. However, experts believe it may be possible to prevent or reverse the growth of candida by following an appropriate candida diet.
What is a Candida Diet?
Many experts agree that the best approach to resolving candida is by improving gut health, reducing inflammation, and restoring bacterial balance. All of this may be achieved through following a candida diet. The basic premise of a candida diet is to consume more foods that support gastrointestinal wellness while completely eliminating foods that promote the proliferation of candida.
Foods to Include in a Candida Diet Plan
Eating foods that reduce intestinal stress, bolster immune function, and balance the microbiome can help stop the spread of candida. To better combat candida, consider eating more of the following foods.
Infectious overgrowths like candida sustain themselves through consuming the foods we eat. As such, eating foods that are not easily utilized by candida can help limit its growth. Increasing intake of kale, spinach, Swiss chard, brussels sprouts, celery, broccoli, and other non-starchy vegetables provides excellent nutrition while offering minimal sustenance to candida.
Fermented foods contain an exceptional amount of beneficial microflora that protect the intestine and support immune function. Therefore, eating more fermented items such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir can help keep candida at bay.
The source of your protein matters a great deal when it comes to treating candida. Consuming certain types of meat can actually make candida worse. When treating candida, it is best to eat lean proteins in the form of chicken, eggs, wild-caught fish, turkey, and organ meats.
Fats are also important to consider when constructing a candida diet. Saturated fats and trans fats can put additional stress on the gut whereas healthy fats found in foods like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter, goat milk, and coconut oil actually improve intestinal wellness. In fact, coconut oil specifically has been shown to notably inhibit candida growth.
Herbs and Spices
Many plants provide natural gut-supporting benefits that may also help combat candida. Many herbs have antimicrobial qualities that help eliminate candida. Therefore, cooking with and eating more herbs and spices such as cinnamon, dill, garlic, ginger, oregano, turmeric, thyme, black pepper can be beneficial for treating candida.
Foods to Avoid When You Have Candida
Eliminating toxins, allergenic substances, and other gastrointestinal stressors helps strengthen and restore the gut allowing it to better manage candida. The foods listed below contribute greatly to inflammation and gastrointestinal stress while promoting the development and continuation of candida. Those on a candida diet should limit their intake of the following foods.
Reducing sugar intake is perhaps the most important component of a candida diet. Sugar in all its forms feeds candida and promotes its growth. Try to cut out all unnecessary sugars such as sugary snacks, sweetened beverages, processed sugars, and even high-sugar fruits such as bananas, dates, raisins, grapes, and mango.
Gluten and Grains
Grains, specifically those containing gluten can hinder treatment of candida. Gluten is a protein found in many grains that causes notable intestinal stress, which can result in leaky gut and a worsening of candida symptoms. When on a candida diet it is strongly recommended that most breads and pasta be avoided due to their high gluten content.
Alcohol and Caffeine
Individuals with candida should avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages entirely. Many alcohols and caffeinated drinks contain inflammatory agents that strain the intestine and impede healing of the microbiome.
Processed foods such as deli meats, artificial sweeteners, prepackaged snack foods, and premade products can contribute greatly to candida growth. Therefore, avoiding processed foods, especially those that contain artificial ingredients, preservatives, and pesticides, can help limit infection and slow the proliferation of candida.
Allergens and Food Sensitivities
An important component of any candida diet is avoiding allergens or sensitivities. Although some of the most common culprits are included in the sections above, there may be others that were not mentioned. If you are allergic or sensitive to any foods, it is best to avoid them for the duration of the diet.
Final Thoughts on Candida Diets
A candida diet is only meant to be followed for a short time. Ideally, after symptoms of candida subside, the patient begins to reincorporate and enjoy some of the taboo foods mentioned above. However, it is important not to backslide into an unhealthy or imbalanced diet as it may trigger gastrointestinal disruption and subsequent resurgence of candida. Additionally, it is best to implement a candida diet slowly by cutting out problem foods one at a time. Removing too many types of food at once is not only difficult but may cause unexpected intestinal changes.
If you are suffering from candida, try following a candida diet by eating plenty of gut-supporting nutrient-dense foods and eliminating intestinal stressors. Following the food guidelines suggested in this article may lead to greater intestinal wellness and help protect against or reverse candida overgrowth.
As stated earlier, treatment of candida is considered to be exceptionally difficult and requires a comprehensive treatment plan that attends to the many systems that may be impacted. At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover and address candida . If you suspect you have candida or have already received a diagnosis, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!
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