Candida occurs naturally as part of the flora of the gastrointestinal system. It is kept in check by the bacteria present and the body’s immune system under normal conditions. However, this delicate balance gets thrown off regularly due to the diet many of us in the west take part in. Luckily there are Candida diets out there that will fit any lifestyle and help keep levels under control.
What is the Candida Diet?
The Candida diet focuses on promoting a healthy digestive system by using low sugar and anti-inflammatory foods in nature. The diet’s primary focus includes eliminating junk foods, reducing sugar intake as much as possible, minimizing caffeine consumption, cutting out glutinous grains, and focusing on eating non-starchy vegetables, small amounts of low-sugar fruits, healthy proteins, lots of healthy fats and oils, and fermented foods.
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The Candida Doctors – How it All Began
The story of Candida overgrowth goes back to 1953 when Dr. Orian Truss first discovered the harmful effects antibiotics could have while practicing in an Alabama hospital. He called this mysterious ailment he found “antibiotic syndrome” and worked for the next two decades to treat it. In the 80’s he published a book called “The Missing Diagnosis,” arguing that the widespread use of antibiotics alongside oral contraceptive pills, immune suppressors like steroids, and a high carbohydrate diet has caused a dramatic growth in the yeast found in the human body since the 1950s.
Around the same time Truss’s book came out, Dr. William Crook came out with his book entitled “The Yeast Connection.” Crook learned from Truss about the link between Candida albicans and many common illnesses. In his book, Crook tells us how some modern Western society’s conditions have caused yeast in the body to transform into toxic fungus. He also outlines how to combat these conditions by “starving” the yeast with foods that fight candida overgrowth. If Truss was the first to stumble upon the issue of Candida overgrowth, Crook was the one who got the word out to the public about it.
Primary Goal of the Candida Diet
The Candida diet’s primary goal is to reduce Candida’s overgrowth in your gut flora, causing a reduction in symptoms. This is accomplished through a nutritionally-balanced diet that is low in carbohydrates. The ideal diet for Candida Related Complex (CRC) and Candidiasis recovery reduces or eliminates hard-to-digest foods high in sugar that stress the digestive system and allergens and toxins that suppress the immune and nervous systems.
What is Candida?
Candida is the name given to over 20 species of yeast that propagate throughout the intestinal tract. Candida albicans is the most common and abundant form found in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts of humans. In many instances, it is a natural part of gut flora and beneficial to human health. Still, if an overgrowth is allowed to occur, then conditions like CRC and Candidiasis can form.
Many factors, such as antibiotics and birth control, can contribute to Candida growth, but diet usually plays the most significant role. A diet full of inflammatory, sugary, and processed foods creates the perfect conditions for yeast to thrive and multiply. That’s why eliminating the foods that feed Candida and replacing them with whole, nutrient-dense foods is a crucial step in healing your gut.
To combat this yeast overgrowth, a Candida diet plan can be put in place to reduce its numbers. This diet will consist of foods low in carbohydrates and high in proteins and fats. There are also other measures to help reduce overgrowth. Probiotics are great for restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria present in gut flora. When not enough beneficial gut bacteria are present to keep pathogenic yeasts under control, it transforms from a harmless state into an invasive species. Some anti-fungals are more of a direct assault on Candida’s growth and work by destroying the yeast’s cell walls.
According to the CDC, no test can pinpoint Candida as the cause of gut issues, weight gain, headaches, skin problems, fatigue, or other health issues. The best that can be done currently are blood tests, medical history, symptoms, and physical examinations to confirm invasive candidiasis.
Principles of the Candida Diet
With all the food choices and recipes available, it is possible to set up a Candida diet meal plan in various ways. Regardless of the specific foods chosen, everyone should follow five principles or guidelines to correctly adhere to the diet. With these in hand, choosing the right menu will be much simpler and more effective.
Take enzymes with your meals.
Anytime someone changes their diet drastically, it will take their body some time to fully acclimate. This transition process can be sped up by taking full-spectrum digestive enzymes to improve the digestion and nutrient absorbing function.
Watch for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be prevalent in candida health conditions. This can be especially dangerous with vitamins B12 and D, causing serious and permanent health complications if allowed to progress too far. It is imperative to get a daily allotment of vitamins and minerals, whether through the use of supplements or planning out your Candida diet with this in mind.
Don’t get bored.
Don’t just stick to the same Candida diet recipes if you do not enjoy the meals. There is an incredible number of available foods on the Candida diet list, such as yogurt, Kombucha, sauerkraut, Pau d’Arco tea, desserts, entrees, and much more. There are lots of choices when it comes to foods that fight Candida overgrowth, so don’t eat the same thing every single day on your Candida diet cleanse.
Poor eating habits are a norm these days, and it can be very easy to fall back into old habits even after going to the trouble of researching Candida diet recipes and setting up a meal plan. With patience and practice, a Candida diet meal plan can become second nature, and with it, a balance of your gut garden.
Candida Diet Macros
Nutrients can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that the human body needs in large amounts. Micronutrients, by contrast, are nutrients the body needs in small quantities.
Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Micronutrients include all vitamins and minerals.
According to the Candida diet food list, only foods high in fats and proteins and low in carbohydrates are acceptable. This includes meats, fish, vegetables that are low-starch, seeds and nuts, and certain low-sugar fruits, just to name a few of the Candida diet macros available.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
For sufferers of Candida symptoms, including CRC and invasive candidiasis, a few different culprits can cause the gut imbalance. The problem will most commonly lie in a person’s diet consisting of foods that feed Candida, but that shouldn’t necessarily disqualify other possibilities. Here is a bit more information on this subject.
A high-sugar diet
The modern western diet is chocked full of sugars that Candida albicans thrive on. Whether these sugars come in the form of refined sugars like those found in soda, carbohydrates that are in pasta and bread, or even fruits that are generally considered healthy to eat, they all contribute to the growth of Candida, which can ultimately throw off the balance of your gut garden.
The problem with sugar is two-fold because a high-sugar diet can also lead to the immune system becoming stressed. A healthy immune system will do much to curb the growth of Candida, so when you combine an excellent food source for it and a weak defense against it, you end up with the potential for problems.
This modern miracle of medicine is a double-edged sword when it comes to human health. There is no doubt that antibiotics have done great work to eradicate harmful and potentially deadly infections from the human body. Still, they also affect destroying all the beneficial gut bacteria humans depend on for nutrition and keeping the immune system running strong.
Another problem with antibiotics is that doctors greatly overprescribe them. Data from the World Health Organization shows that antibiotics are losing their potency on a worldwide level. Their overuse has allowed the pathogens they are supposed to eradicate to mutate and adapt, becoming resistant to them. The bottom line is, there are times when antibiotics are needed for serious conditions, but they should not be overused.
Then there is the problem with our food supply. Factory farms are notorious for feeding livestock antibiotics to protect herds. These antibiotics are then passed on to humans through consumption. The result is a gastrointestinal tract devoid of all the beneficial bacteria that keep us healthy.
There are two ways in which stress can cause excessive growth of Candida. When someone is stressed out, their body produces cortisol, an immune depressing hormone that also raises blood-glucose levels. Candida will consume this extra sugar while the depressed immune system will allow its unchecked expansion. There are documented studies showing that psychological stress affects the colonization patterns of the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. This has led some doctors to suggest taking probiotics to help counteract the effects of constant pressure.
The flora ecosystem in the gastrointestinal tract can be a very delicate matter. Not only can sugar and antibiotics disturb the balance, but as we have seen, so can hormones. Estrogen is the main ingredient in contraceptive pills and is also a known culprit for Candida’s growth. Once the balance has been disturbed and there is an excess of yeast, it will travel to other parts of the body. It is the predominant factor in why some women get yeast infections during their menstrual cycle.
There are two reasons that people living with diabetes are more prone to Candida overgrowth. First, people with diabetes tend to have higher than normal blood glucose levels, which Candida feeds off of. These increased levels are either due to the body not having sufficient insulin levels or the body not reacting to insulin present in the blood. Second, people with diabetes generally will suffer from a weakened immune system. Studies have shown that high glucose levels in the blood can cause the immune system to be blinded towards pathogens.
The older silver amalgam fillings have at least 50% mercury in them, which is toxic to humans. As the fillings get ground down from chewing, they give off the dust that gets swallowed. This dust can agitate an already existent Candida issue in a couple of ways.
First, it can complicate existing symptoms associated with CRC, such as brain fog, memory loss, and fatigue. Because mercury also causes these symptoms, giving a proper diagnosis of Candida overgrowth can become problematic in cases where it exists.
Second, mercury is poisonous to the body and dampens the abilities of the immune system. Candida can grow unchecked without the body operating with its immune system at 100%, leading to overgrowth and possibly candidiasis.
Chemicals commonly found in water, such as chlorine and fluoride, kill the beneficial bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract leading to a yeast imbalance and opening the door to Candida overgrowth. Unfortunately for those who suffer from excessive Candida levels, both chemicals are commonly added to drinking water by municipalities worldwide. Over time, both substances’ levels will increase in the body and throw off the bacteria levels that would typically discourage yeast’s overgrowth. This can be combatted by using filters on all incoming water supplies to the home.
There is also a myriad of other chemicals that can affect gut flora. People who work in toxic environments or are subjected to chemicals daily should take precautions to stop inhaling, swallowing, or getting these chemicals on their skin.
Candida Diet Foods – Allowed
Just because there are certain restrictions on what you can eat while on a Candida diet plan doesn’t mean that there aren’t many delicious choices as to what you can eat. There are sources of protein, fats, and non-starchy carbohydrates that are delicious, whether they be on their own or mixed in delicious Candida diet meals. Here is a list of the Candida diet allowed foods.
Vegetables are a good part of any diet, but certain ones should be avoided on a Candida diet. Vegetables low in starch will contain less sugar for Candida to feed off and better the chances to lower levels. Here is a list of acceptable vegetables to eat.
- Brussels sprouts
- Garlic (raw)
At first glance, it would seem like fruits would be a no-starter in a diet designed to minimize sugar. While most fruits are excluded from a Candida reducing diet, few are very low in sugar and nutritious.
Grains And Pseudo-Grains
Grains high in fiber are essential for helping flush the digestive tract and rid the body of excess Candida. One key in picking out the right grains to eat is making sure they are gluten-free. Glutinous grains contain high levels of carbohydrates.
- Oat bran
Meat, Fish, And Eggs
Achieving complete candida control from a diet will mean eating lots of fresh, organic meat, fish, and eggs. Avoid processed meats at all costs as they contain nitrates, sulfates, dextrose, and sugars. When it comes to fish, look for what is freshest and what has come from the ocean. They will have much fewer contaminants in them than farm-raised fish.
- Salmon (wild)
Some dairy products are great for the reduction of Candida because of the probiotics they possess. Probiotics are the name for beneficial bacteria that live outside the body, and when they are introduced, they help balance things out. Probiotics can be incredibly helpful after a round of antibiotics. Be aware that the lactose and casein found in many dairy products such as milk contain high sugar levels.
- Yogurt (probiotic)
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of nutrition and contain virtually no sugars. If the nuts have any mold on them, then soak them in a diluted grapefruit seed extract solution for a few hours to clean them up. Coconuts are great in any form, whether it be solid or liquid.
- Sunflower seeds
Herbs, Spices, And Condiments
There are a plethora of herbs and spices that contain antioxidant and antifungal properties. There’s also evidence that they help with circulation and inflammation issues.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Black pepper
- Coconut aminos
Fats And Oils
Healthy oils and fats should be a part of any Candida diet program. Use cold-pressed oils whenever possible, as heating them can destroy the long and medium-chain fats that are most beneficial to the body.
- Coconut oil
- Flax oil
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
There are alternative sweeteners out there that will still give the same taste but without the consequences of using sugar or a similar sweetener. These alternatives tend to be much healthier than sugar, so much less of it will be needed.
Fermented foods are a great source of nutrients that contain almost no sugars. A great example is kombucha. If you DIY your fermented products, you can make sure there is even less sugar than store-bought products.
Most drinks that can be picked up at the grocery store will be loaded with sugar. However, some aren’t, and they can tend to be antifungal, especially when of the herbal tea variety.
- Chicory coffee
- Filtered water
- Herbal teas
Probiotics and Fermented Foods on the Candida Diet
An essential component in any Candida diet is probiotics and the fermented foods that they come from. Probiotics are desirable microorganisms that can help balance out the amount of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract. Since Candida is the yeast species most responsible for health problems, it makes good sense to have gut flora well-regulated. But this raises the question, are all fermented foods healthy? To understand the answer, we must first delve into the different fermentation processes and how they affect the changing food.
Different Types of Fermentation Processes
There are several methods for fermenting foods, such as acetic acid fermentation and alkaline fermentation. However, there are only two methods that are used regularly. One process involves using yeast to ferment sugar to make alcohol. The other uses lactic acid-based bacteria on vegetables and dairy products, which increase their preservation and probiotics levels. This second method is beneficial to a Candida diet program, but there is still more to the story.
Just because a food has been through the fermentation process does not mean that it has probiotics. Many mass-produced products (like those found in grocery stores) are made using sub-standard fermentation methods and other items being added to them like preservatives, colorings, sugars, and vinegar. Be careful to look at the labels of store-bought foods like olives, sauerkraut, kimchee, yogurt, etc. to make sure that they contain the probiotics necessary to discourage the overgrowth of yeast. Specifically, make sure that the lactic-acid is present in the fermentation process.
How to Spot Beneficial Fermented Foods and Other Tips
The best way to ensure that your fermented foods are full of beneficial probiotics is to make them yourself. There are many different guides available to learn how to ferment food properly, and the process itself is neither complicated nor time-consuming. If doing it yourself is not an option, then there are a few things to look for. One great fermented food on the candida diet is kombucha. You can also look for apple cider vinegar with “mother.”
A few other foods tips to take into consideration when following a Candida diet include:
- Eat fermented foods with fatty and protein-rich foods. Foods that are fatty or protein-rich can dampen the production of beneficial lactobacillus bacteria in the gut. Consuming some probiotic-rich fermented foods will help negate it.
- Consume unpasteurized products. Processes like pasteurization and sterilization kill off all the beneficial bacteria in the food rendering it useless to heal a gut imbalance. Even if probiotics are added back in after the process, the enzymes that help with digestion are still destroyed, which only adds to the digestion problems someone with Candida issues is dealing with.
- Make sure the food being consumed has no extra sugars added. This one is pretty much a no-brainer for anyone familiar with the Candida diet protocol, but it can never be stressed enough. Avoid any food that will nourish the yeast species growing in the digestive tract.
Candida Diet Foods to Avoid
Some of the foods to avoid listed below are there because they promote Candida growth while others are there because they weaken the immune system, leading to Candida growth.
High Sugar Fruits
Sugars are not only the food of choice for Candida but are also found in many delicious foods like fruits. Almost every fruit out there is loaded with sugar, and that content can be raised even higher by drying it out. This can easily be seen by comparing grapes to raisins. Fruit juices can be even worse in spiking blood-glucose levels because it lacks the fiber found in the actual fruit that acts to slow absorption. In short, avoid pretty much all fruit when dealing with Candida symptoms and treatment.
- Fruit juices
When it comes to the Candida diet and alcohol, the best thing to do is abstain. Suppose someone drinks a massive amount of alcohol. In that case, it can actually lower blood glucose levels but comes at the cost of overloading the liver and often will lead to a horrible hangover. Drinking moderate levels of alcohol will increase blood glucose levels, which will, in turn, feed Candida. Aside from alcohol, there are tons of carbohydrates in alcoholic beverages and even more sugar in popular mixers. Over time, alcohol consumption can lead to decreased insulin effectiveness, impact the immune system, and can increase gut permeability.
Gluten is often associated with Celiac disease, but anyone who suffers from gut issues, including Candida overgrowth, can have a gluten sensitivity. A prevalent trigger for food sensitivities, gluten is highly inflammatory and can cause fatigue, brain fog, cramping, bloating, and indigestion. Those who are already suffering from Candida issues will often see their symptoms compounded by ingesting gluten. Because of the increased need for wheat output from population growth, gluten levels are much higher than they were in the past. Luckily there are a lot of gluten-free options available.
Soda and Other Sugary Drinks
There is a lot of sugar in many of the beverages available in the grocery or convenience store. Still, a lot of the time, caffeine is also problematic. Caffeine not only can cause your blood glucose levels to spike but also can weaken the adrenals and compromise the immune system.
- Black tea
- Diet & regular soda
- Energy drinks
- Fruit juices
These foods are also quite calorie-dense, which means you get a tiny serving for quite a large number of calories. Noom helps teach you about calorie density and why it’s one key to lasting weight loss.
Meat and Fish
Certain meats are acceptable on a Candida diet shopping list such as chicken, turkey, and some red meat, but the big thing to look out for is processed meat. Lunch meats and other processed meats contain lots of dextroses, sugars, nitrates, and sulfates, all of which throw off gut balance and stress the immune system. Eliminate processed foods from your diet, not just in meat, but in all forms.
The problem with fish is mercury levels. Many ocean-dwelling fish, especially the older larger ones, have varying mercury levels that get digested when eaten. Mercury is poisonous to humans and will tax the liver as well as lower the immune system. Make sure if getting fish that it comes from a clean water source.
- Processed Meats
Sugars and Sweeteners
There are over 50 different names for the sugar found in food. This is an important fact to mention because when reading the ingredients list on the back of a container of food, there needs to be a level of understanding to avoid ingesting sugars.
- Cane sugar
- Corn syrup
- Maple Syrup
Fats and Oils
Certain oils like olive and coconut oil are suitable for the body and contain antifungal compounds making them very useful for dealing with Candida issues. There are some other oils and fat sources, however, that have been refined and processed to the point that they are not only not beneficial but harmful. Avoid these in favor of healthier alternatives.
- Canola Oil
- Fake ‘butter’ Spreads
- Soybean Oil
- Sunflower Oil
There are many condiments and salad dressings out there that have lots of sugars in them. Be careful that even products labeled with sayings like “healthy choice” will probably still be loaded with sugary sweetness.
- Barbecue Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- White Vinegar
Drink Choices on the Candida Diet
While striving to get complete Candida control, there will be many different drinks that will have to be given up. Alcoholic beverages and high sugar drinks, in particular, need to be avoided for several reasons. The most straightforward of these reasons is that Candida thrives on sugar and needs it to reproduce. However, alcohol has some other issues regarding the body and health that can affect Candida levels.
Alcohol is mildly toxic to the human body, and the liver needs to process it to detox. However, Candida releases over 70 toxins upon death, and if someone is trying to detox a bunch of those toxins, then the added stress from alcohol consumption isn’t helpful. There are also issues with immune system weakening and gut proliferation common with alcohol use that can amplify Candida symptoms.
Here is a list of some of the drinks that have positive benefits for those on the diet.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – The acid and enzymes help to get rid of yeast.
- Green Drinks – Leafy green vegetables alkalize and detox the body.
- Unsweetened Cranberry Juice – Helps regulate pH levels reducing Candida growth.
- Cultured Dairy – Products like yogurt and goat milk are full of probiotics.
Candida Diet and Eating Out
Everybody eats out at least once in a while. Whether it be a family function, work-related, or taking someone out on a date, there will come a time when going somewhere other than your kitchen to enjoy a meal will happen, and that could potentially spell trouble for sticking to a Candida diet. However, all is not lost. Eating healthy has become a popular trend, and many restaurants offer viable alternatives to the sugar-laden foods that will send Candida production into overdrive.
Don’t Make it a Habit
One tip is to avoid eating out all the time. The more you are not in control of what and how food is being prepared, the more likely it will end up either having too much sugar in it or something else that could affect the immune system or digestive tract. Any of these issues will increase Candida growth, and symptoms will persist.
Before stepping out of the house, make some preparations to minimize any possible harmful effects from the food that will be available. If possible, pick a restaurant that will have the most gut-friendly choices. Drink lots of fluids to fill up a bit before going out. Lastly, when dining, chew, and swallow food slowly and deliberately. It will ensure full digestion and will cause you to eat smaller portions.
While some bread products are acceptable on the Candida diet, they should be avoided for the most part. They are full of carbohydrates that metabolize into sugar and have gluten in them, and gluten is highly inflammatory to people with gut sensitivities.
Keep it Green
Regardless of the establishment in question, most restaurants will offer a salad of some sort. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and red peppers are an excellent choice for the Candida diet. Just make sure to avoid croutons and salad dressing for their sugar and gluten content. You can always substitute black pepper or lime juice.
The Main Course
If possible, have turkey or chicken for the entree. If there are steamed or baked vegetables with the meal, then ask for some raw ones on the side. This will help balance out the enzyme intake. Avoid anything breaded or anything with a glaze. Don’t eat anything processed. Eliminate processed foods from your diet entirely. They are full of nitrates, dextrose, and sulfates, which stress the gut and immune system.
Stick to water or herbal tea if available. Make sure to drink only when not eating to ensure food is adequately masticated before hitting the stomach. You can also put some lemon into the water to give it some taste. Avoid alcohol and anything with sugar.
What is the Candida Cleanse?
To maximize Candida diet results for those suffering from symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, cramping, chronic yeast infections, and the many other problems that plague those with Candida overgrowth, it’s best to start first with a cleanse. There are different Candida cleanse recipes available that can quickly destroy the Candida growing in the gut and help detox the byproducts that come about as a result of their demise. There are two kinds of cleansing options available that can either be completed separately or combined.
Before diving into these cleansing options, remember that cleansing is not an option for weight loss, and it’s not safe for everyone. Noom suggests eating healthy foods in the right portion sizes for weight loss, not skipping meals or consuming all liquids.
Liquids-Only Candida Cleanse
This Candida juice cleanse is only for one to two days and is a hardcore method for culling as much Candida as possible from the body. Start by preparing a vegetable broth using organic onions, celery, garlic, kale, and sea salt. Once the broth is done, throw out the vegetables and put the broth in the refrigerator. For the duration of the cleanse, sip on warmed broth while drinking a lot of water. Make sure to keep hydrated during the candida juice cleanse, as this will help flush the toxins out of the system. This method works great as a precursor for the next cleanse or moving on to the first of the Candida diet stages.
This cleanse lasts from three to five days and will do wonders for removing toxins. These types of Candida cleanse recipes call for eating non-starchy vegetables that have been steamed. Avoid beets, carrots, red and white potatoes, and other similar items in favor of the sorts of vegetables used in the first cleanse. Also, mix in one salad a day using either leafy or bitter greens, and topped with a bit of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Notice that as far as vegetables are concerned, the cleanse is very similar to the Candida diet foods to eat stage 1, but lacks the meats and probiotics.
Candida Cleanse Side Effects
Eliminating Candida from your diet can alleviate many of the often misdiagnosed symptoms that can plague people for years. Still, depending on the amount of Candida being flushed, there can be some unforeseen side effects. The problem is that Candida cells are full of toxins (some studies suggest there are over 70 of them), and when those cells die off, they release them into the body. Luckily, we have a liver whose primary function is to eliminate toxins from the body, but it can become overwhelmed under the strain of massive amounts of these toxins hitting it all at once, causing what is known as a Herxheimer reaction (or Candida Die-Off).
Because of many toxins in Candida cells, the potential threat to a person undergoing this phenomenon will vary. One of the toxins, acetaldehyde, is a neurotoxin and can kill brain cells and affect the nervous system. In addition to neural issues, many other symptoms can mimic those of the common cold or seasonal allergies.
Symptoms of a Herxheimer Reaction
While there is a wide variety of symptoms associated with a Herxheimer reaction, which will vary from person to person, they will most certainly lead to inflammation, which can present as anything from a runny nose to joint pain or stiffness. Once you add to this all the effects of neurotoxins on the brain, it is easy to see how these symptoms can get misdiagnosed. This is generally how many people suffering from Candida issues like overgrowth end up with it for years. Here is a list of the symptoms.
- Swollen glands
- Bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- Increased joint or muscle pain
- Elevated heart rate
- Chills or cold feeling in your extremities
- Body itchiness, hives, or rashes
- Skin breakouts
- Recurring vaginal and sinus infections
It is clear from this list of symptoms that a Herxheimer reaction can be nasty to deal with. The best to deal with it would be to avoid it entirely by sticking closely to a cleanse plan and staying vigilant for any symptoms that might creep up.
Candida Cleanse Recipes
Starting any diet change can be a great way to acclimate your body to the new Candida diet plan menu and see results more quickly. The nutritional requirements for a cleanse are stricter than those of the Candida diet stages, but since they only last one to four days, it shouldn’t be too difficult to stick to. Some basic guidelines need to be followed when it comes to the foods and drinks of a cleanse.
What Can You Eat on a Cleanse?
The food eaten during a cleanse is similar to the majority of the Candida diet duration, but with a few differences. More emphasis is placed on eating steamed vegetables that are low-starch, salads, and eggs for protein during the cleanse. Some low sugar fruits like lemons, olives, and avocados are okay but should be kept minimal. These items can be flavored with all sorts of herbs and spices that will help make delicious meals and are also beneficial from a health standpoint. Over the length of a few days, this way of eating will kill off droves of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract as it boosts the immune system to help combat the toxins released by dying Candida.
Another great cleanse item from the Candida diet list is vegetable broth. Using onions, garlic, celery, kale, cayenne pepper, and salt, you can make a broth that is not only delicious but will stimulate the body’s immune response while giving Candida nothing to consume. Bring the veggies to a boil then let simmer for 60 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and toss them away. The broth recipe calls for 2 onions chopped, 1 large handful of kale or chard chopped, 4 stalks of celery chopped, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, and cayenne pepper to taste. Place ingredients in 2 quarts of water.
Antifungal Foods List
A significant part of the Candida diet is going to involve antifungal foods. While depriving Candida of their sugary nutrients is important, they will hang on much longer than desired without foods with antifungal properties. This will only prolong symptoms, whether they come from conditions like CRC or chronic yeast infections. Here are 10 food items with excellent antifungal properties that should be included in any Candida diet.
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Lemons and limes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cayenne pepper
Side Effects of Candida Leaving the Body
As Candida is cleared out of the body, there will be positive and negative effects depending on how much and how quickly it is expunged. On the positive side, the symptoms associated with CRC, yeast infections, and Candidiasis will be alleviated.
On the negative side, if too much of the Candida infestation is killed off at once, it can cause Candida Die-Off (also known as a Herxheimer reaction). This comes as a result of toxins that are released when Candida cells die. Some research has indicated that at least 70 different toxins present, and a massive influx of them will overload the liver and lead to a host of symptoms. Here’s what to watch out for while on a Candida cleanse.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Skin rash, acne, itching
- Sinus infection
- Swollen glands
- Brain fog
- Joint and muscle pain
- Constipation or diarrhea, yeast in stool
- Bloating and gas
- Increased mucus productionTypes of Candida Infection
Once Candida starts to build up in a person’s gastrointestinal tract, it can develop into an assortment of different problems. This build-up takes the form of a fungal infection called Candidiasis. There are over 20 different Candida species in existence, but the primary one that causes this fungal breakout is Candida albicans.
According to the CDC, when Candida becomes overgrown and pathogenic, it can travel throughout the body, manifesting in fungal breakouts. Most commonly are infections in the mouth and throat called thrush, conditions in the vagina called yeast infections, and blood infections called invasive Candidiasis.
Also, some might wonder can candida cause weight loss since it absorbs many of the sugars that are ingested, but the opposite is true, and in fact, can lead to an overgrowth in the stomach, causing food not to get properly digested and leading to infection.
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
The truth about Candida overgrowth is that it can lead to some very nasty infections if not treated quickly. Some telltale signs that someone is experiencing an overgrowth of Candida in the gut, and they can happen throughout the body. Some of the symptoms include headaches, yeast infections, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, fungal infections under the toes or on the skin, joint pain, and oral thrush.
Medical Conditions Related to Candida Overgrowth
This occurs when there is a buildup of Candida in the mouth and throat. Symptoms include white bumpy lesions, redness, and pain.
Candida overgrowth in people is often accompanied by a nutritional deficiency from a poor diet or a compromised immune system from a prior illness that can lead them to feel fatigued.
Chronic Yeast Infection or UTI
Candida is present in many women’s vaginal tract, and an overgrowth can lead to a yeast infection. One chronic yeast infection treatment is a round of antifungal medication aimed at lowering Candida levels. Much less commonly, Candida overgrowth can happen in the urinary tract leading to a UTI.
The gastrointestinal tract is a delicate mix of bacteria and fungi that can get knocked out of balance by using antibiotics, having immune issues, or eating a high-sugar diet. This can cause many gut problems, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, cramps, and bloat.
Sinus infections affect 1 in 8 adults in the United States. Many of these infections are bacterial, but there is growing evidence that long-term chronic sinus infections are fungal.
Skin and Nail Infections
Just as in the gut, there are also bacteria and fungus on our skin. The FDA states that the overuse of antibacterial soaps can allow Candida on the skin to overgrow, causing infection.
If invasive Candidiasis takes hold in the bloodstream, it can travel to every part of the body, including the joints. An infection in the joints will cause pain, stiffness, and even arthritis and bone infection if left unchecked.
15 Recommendations for the Candida Diet
- Prepare most of your meals yourself instead of going out to eat. The more control you have over how and what food is prepared, means less chance of eating something with sugar.
- Nutrient-rich organic foods from a small farm atmosphere will be free of antibiotics and toxins that can affect Candida growth.
- Eat foods loaded in essential fats like omega 3 and omega 6 to give your body the building blocks it needs for a strong immune system and digestive tract.
- Mix up what you eat. Have variety in your diet to keep from getting bored and straying off it.
- Drink plenty of water regularly. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces every day. If you are drinking tap water, then use a filter to remove any particles in the local water supply.
- Using alcohol and tobacco products weakens the immune system allowing Candida to grow unchecked. Also, most alcoholic drinks are loaded in sugars that Candida thrives on.
- Regular exercise will help keep your body in peak physical condition, including the immune system and gastrointestinal tract.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Lack of sleep can cause stress, which in turn can weaken the immune system.
- Find ways to deal with the stresses encountered in everyday life. Whether it be work, school, or home, stress can lead to many physical and psychological side effects.
- Don’t use steroids unless necessary. Steroids help promote the growth of Candida.
- The estrogen found in birth control pills can cause an imbalance in the vaginal tract’s flora, leading to Candida overgrowth and possible yeast infections.
- Stay on your diet! Candida diet duration is essential to keep levels of the yeast at a minimum. Remember the Candida diet foods to avoid.
- Use coconut oil as much as possible. Coconut is high up on the antifungal foods list with caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid, which are all antifungal agents.
- If you notice candida diet symptoms during a cleanse, then you could be experiencing a Herxheimer reaction and should slow down on Candida removal.
Candida Diet Recipes and Sample Menu
A fine Candida diet breakfast is Baked Eggs Skillet With Red Peppers And Onions.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers (thinly sliced)
- 1 large white onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 red chili (finely chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 medium eggs
- Parsley to top
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat cooking the onions and peppers until soft. It should be about 6-8 minutes.
- Add smoked paprika, chili, and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Make 4 indents in the mixture.
- Break eggs into each indent and place under the broiler with medium heat for about 5 minutes until the eggs are cooked.
- Top with parsley to finish off this delicious Candida diet breakfast meal.
For a delicious lunch, try out this Buckwheat and Brussel’s Sprout Salad.
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup whole buckwheat groats
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp oil, such as extra virgin olive or coconut
- ¼ cup shallots, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 leaves Swiss chard, cut across into ribbons
- Fresh herbs, such as thyme or parsley, minced
- Crushed, toasted nuts, such as hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts
- In a medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add whole buckwheat groats, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- While buckwheat groats are simmering, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, celery, garlic, Brussel’s sprouts and saute until vegetables begin to soften and brown (about 5 minutes).
- Next, add fresh or dried thyme leaves, broth or water, salt, and pepper to taste and simmer covered over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Then add the Swiss chard, stirring to wilt for about 1 to 2 minutes. Lastly, add cooked buckwheat groats to the skillet, and stir to combine.
- To serve, you can garnish with fresh minced herbs and crushed, toasted nuts. For a salad, cool it to room temperature and toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Try this tasty Tarragon Chicken with Leeks recipe.
- 1 4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp either olive or coconut oil
- 1 leek
- 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
- 1/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh tarragon for a garnish
- Put chicken between a couple of sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and tenderize with a meat mallet to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Season both sides with dried tarragon, salt and pepper, and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil. Sauté chicken until lightly browned on both sides and juices run clear. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
- Trim away dark green leaves and root end of the leek. Split leek in half lengthwise and rinse under running water, separating layers, to wash away any dirt.
- In the same skillet over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Place leek halves cut side down in skillet and sauté for 5 minutes. Add water or chicken broth to skillet, cover, and cook until leeks are tender and nicely caramelized. Transfer leeks to a platter with chicken.
- Add unsweetened coconut milk to the skillet, scraping brown bits from the pan’s bottom with a wooden spoon. Simmer until the sauce has heated through, about 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken breast and leek halves. Garnish the dish with fresh tarragon. Serve immediately and enjoy one of the great Candida diet dinner recipes.
For delicious Candida diet snacks, try Strawberry Muffins.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, canned coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp powdered stevia
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
- 6 fresh strawberry slices for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line 6 cups of a 12 cup muffin tin with paper baking cups or brush generously with oil, set to the side.
- In a medium bowl, sift coconut flour, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine. In another medium bowl, add unsweetened coconut milk, stevia, melted coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla, whisk thoroughly.
- Pour liquid ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients, then stir to combine for one minute as coconut flour absorbs liquids. Fold diced strawberries into the muffin batter.
- Spoon muffin batter into the prepared tin, smoothing tops, then press a strawberry slice on the top of each. Bake muffins until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool, serve, and enjoy great candida diet snacks like this one.
Feel free to adapt these recipes to meet your tastes, needs, and dietary requirements. And remember, on Noom, you can lose weight and gain better health eating foods that you love along the way.
Candida Diet And:
Meal Replacement Shakes
These are a great alternative to eating a whole meal for those looking to shed a few pounds or just feel lighter after eating. You can use the Candida diet to lose weight, and you can do it with meal replacement shakes. Just remember that common ingredients like berries, bananas, and other fruits will have to be out. Instead, substitute with kale, green apples, ginger, and protein.
Frozen Meal Replacements
Anything that you can generally eat on the Candida diet fresh, you can also eat after it has been frozen. Freezing foods or liquids will not deprive them of their nutrients.
By nature, the Candida diet is a low carb diet since so many carbohydrates have sugars. If you are looking for even lower carb intake, you can modify the diet pretty quickly to be fully keto. You can even get away with eating some low-carb diet desserts because of their low sugar count.
Much of the Candida diet is already vegetarian, so it would be easily modified to fit the criteria. There are great Candida diet recipes breakfast lovers who are vegetarian will enjoy. Just be sure to replace proteins and fats, so you don’t become deficient. You can use legumes, hummus, tofu, nuts, split peas, and lentils to do this.
A modified Candida diet that vegans can take advantage of is doable; you will just have to properly supplement yourself for what is given up from meat products. Use the same products listed above for vegetarians to increase proteins and fats and take supplement pills to cover the rest. It’ll take a little work, but a modified Candida diet for vegans is still effective. Here are seven common supplements vegans have to take while on the candida diet for vegans.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3
Candida Diet For:
If you’re wondering whether the Candida diet can cause weight loss, the answer is it depends. If someone were to have a Candida flare-up, they could gain weight due to various reasons. By ingesting fewer sugars, your body has to burn fats instead of energy. You can use the Candida diet to lose weight, but you still need to keep your portions in control and focus on eating less calorie-dense foods. There are even delicious Candida diet desserts that won’t put on extra pounds.
The Candida diet is entirely in sync with what is required for bodybuilding. Beans, eggs, walnuts, almonds, and beef are just some of the protein and fatty-rich foods that will help put on mass. Don’t fall for some Candida diet myth that you’ll end up thin or frail without excessive carbs.
While there is some support to suggest that Candida overgrowth can cause weight gain in people, the question next becomes, is it hard to gain weight on the Candida diet. The answer is not at all. To put on pounds, just increase your servings of proteins and fats along with caloric intake. The amount of food you consume will affect your weight, in this case, not the type of food.
Muscle gain is all about putting enough of the right stuff in your body. On the Candida diet, you can eat all sorts of foods full of healthy fats and proteins to help you in the gym. Ensure portion sizes are large enough that your caloric intake will compensate for what you’ll burn while working out. Other plans out there stress eating many carbs daily, but you can get just as many gains from a low-carb high-fat diet.
Once you have reached a weight level that you feel comfortable at, the next stage is maintenance. The Candida diet has a lot of healthy options that will keep you fit and lean. You can enjoy a nice steak if you wish, just be sure to have a salad with the meal. There are a ton of Candida diet recipes out there that will help you stay where you’re at. Moderation and diversity are the keys to healthy weight management, and there are plenty of Candida diet foods to help.
Pros and Cons of the Candida Diet
- Helps alleviate symptoms.
- It makes you feel better.
- Helps build the immune system.
- Prevents future Candida overgrowth.
- Candida diet symptoms can occur during a cleanse due to a Herxheimer reaction.
- Very restrictive diet.
- Can not stray from the diet; otherwise, it will not work.
- No alcohol.
- No caffeine.
- No gluten.
Studies on Candida
There are many organisms that people might encounter throughout their lives, and one of the most common is Candida albicans, usually shortened to Candida. Candida is a type of yeast. Yeast is found in everything from bread to beer and even leads to diaper rashes. In some cases, Candida can even lead to infections. Fortunately, Candida has been studied extensively, and there are a few critical points from academic studies that everyone should note.
Studies on the Mechanisms of Candida Infection and Spread
Candida Albicans Pathogenicity Mechanisms
Published in the Journal of Virulence back in 2013, this study reviewed what makes Candida dangerous. In most people, Candida is harmless; however, there are certain circumstances where Candida can lead to superficial infections, skin infections, or even systemic infections. Some of the factors that make Candida dangerous include hydrolases, hyphae, biofilms, and other tools that could allow it to invade host cells.
Growth Of Candida Albicans Hyphae
In Nature in 2013, researchers took a closer look at the hyphae, which are like long whiskers, which Candida can excrete from its tips. They reviewed how Candida uses hyphae to attach to host cells. Finally, the researchers also found that specific oxygen concentrations and pH changes can impact Candida’s viability, particularly in immunocompromised patients.
Azole Antifungal Resistance in Candida albicans and Emerging Non-albicans Candida Species
A study in Frontiers in Microbiology examined Candida’s resistance to certain medications. Traditionally, a medication class called azoles is used to treat Candida infections; however, Candida’s resistance to this class increases. The researchers posit that new medications are needed to treat Candida.
Candida Albicans, A Major Human Fungal Pathogen
The Journal of Microbiology published a study that took a look at how Candida impacts immunocompromised patients. In particular, the researchers looked at Candida’s genome and its relationship to its virulence and pathogenicity in patients with weakened immune systems, such as individuals with AIDS.
Gene Flow Contributes To Diversification Of The Major Fungal Pathogen Candida Albicans
Published in Nature Communications in 2018, this research team looked at how Candida’s genes have evolved over the years. The researchers explored how these genetic changes impact the infectivity of Candida. The researchers also looked at specific clonal populations and analyzed their diversity related to the spread of Candida.
Sugar Sensing and Signaling in Candida albicans and Candida glabrata
Research shared in Frontiers in Microbiology found that both species of Candida adapt to specific host environments. The researchers found that these species rely on sugar to survive. This paper also analyzed particular proteins that play a role in the uptake and metabolism of sugar in Candida.
Candida albicans and Early Childhood Caries
Published in Caries in 2018, this paper took a look at the relationship between Candida and cavities. The researchers found that children with higher rates of Candida developed more cavities. The researchers also looked at the relationship between diet and Candida as both relate to cavities in kids.
Candidalysin: Discovery And Function In Candida Albicans Infections
Recent research in Current Opinion in Microbiology looked at Candidalysin, which leads to systemic Candida infections. Researchers found that this protein triggers an inflammatory response in the body, leading to the recruitment of the immune system.
Candida Albicans Infection And Intestinal Immunity
Based on a 2017 study published in Microbiological Research, researchers found that Candida commonly starts in the gut before it spreads through the blood. Finally, the researchers explored the defense mechanisms that exist in the gut against Candida.
Candida glabrata Binding to Candida albicans Hyphae Enables Its Development in Oropharyngeal Candidiasis
The research examined the development of thrush, which is a yeast infection in the mouth. The study found that these two yeast species often work together to lead to the development of thrush.
The Gut, The Bad And The Harmless
Current Opinion in Microbiology in 2020 shared research on Candida, which generally lives in the gut without causing harm. The researchers explored triggers that cause Candida to become pathogenic in the gut, leading to infections. The researchers also examined potential therapies for treating a potentially severe yeast infection.
Cell Biology of Candida albicans
Researchers wanted to uncover how Candida survives in people by manipulating the immune system. They found that Candida has several mechanisms to survive in people, including by controlling the white blood cells of the host.
Studies on Candida as a Complicating Factor in Other Diseases
Candida albicans in celiac disease
This research study was published in Autoimmunity Reviews in 2019 and took a look at Candida with a relationship to Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune condition that leads to gluten intolerance. The researchers found that there are similarities between Candida proteins and Celiac Disease proteins, believing the Candida infections could play a role in the development of Celiac.
The Candida albicans exotoxin candidalysin promotes alcohol-associated liver disease
Alcohol is a major risk factor for liver disease. The research paper found that candidalysin, a Candida protein, increases the risk of someone developing alcohol-related liver disease.
Significantly higher faecal counts of the yeasts candida and saccharomyces identified in people with coeliac disease
Published in Gut Pathogens in 2017, this research looked at the feces of individuals with Celiac Disease. They found that two types of yeast, Candida and Saccharomyces, were more likely to be identified in people with Celiac Disease. The researchers believe that these two types of yeast could play a role in the development of Celiac Disease.
Diet as a Treatment of Candida
The influence of diet on gastrointestinal Candida spp. Colonization
Published in 2019, researchers compared two diets and their impacts on the rate of Candida growth. The researchers found that people who consumed wheat flour were more likely to develop Candida than those who ate cheese. The researchers believe that fatty acids may inhibit Candida growth.
The dietary modification and treatment of intestinal Candida overgrowth
This 2018 study took a look at the ability of diet to prevent Candida infection. The researchers found that Candida treatment is more effective if patients follow specific dietary modifications after being treated with nystatin, a common anti-fungal agent.
Supplements as a Preventative Measure Against Candida
Silymarin, a Popular Dietary Supplement Shows Anti–Candida Activity
Published in Antibiotics in 2019, authors took a look at the ability of Silymarin to work with certain antifungals in treating Candida. The researchers found that Silymarin worked well with antifungals as well as dietary supplementation in the treatment of multiple types of Candida.
Probiotic Yeasts Inhibit Virulence of Non-albicans Candida Species
The researchers explored the use of specific probiotic yeasts and their ability to combat Candida infections. They found that probiotic yeast reduced the colonization of the gut with certain types of Candida, such as Saccharomyces, but not Candida.
Review of flavonoids: A diverse group of natural compounds with anti-Candida albicans activity in vitro
Scientists working on this study took a look at Flavonoids, also called polyphenols, and their ability to prevent fungal infections, such as Candida. The researchers found that flavonoids have multiple ways of attacking and destroying yeast infections.
So, after all is said and done, what do we know about Candida? We know it is present in the human body and that, in most cases, the natural processes that occur keep overgrowth from taking place, but in certain circumstances, Candida overgrowth can lead to various irritating symptoms. In severe cases, there’s even the possibility of requiring medical intervention. While there is no test for general Candida overgrowth, if you are concerned you may be experiencing such an issue, speak with your healthcare provider.
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Questions and Answers on the Candida Diet
What foods kill Candida?
Foods that contain caprylic acid kill yeast. You can find the acid in palm oil, coconut oil, and cow’s milk. High-antioxidant foods are also encouraged.
What are the symptoms of Candida in the gut?
If you are experiencing Candida overgrowth you may feel weak or fatigued, experience headaches and itchy skin. You may also find you crave sugary foods.
How long does it take to get rid of Candida?
Some symptoms may resolve as early as two weeks with more significant improvements by two to three months.
Can probiotics kill Candida?
Probiotics have been shown to reduce Candida, based on clinical research.
How do you know if Candida is dying?
Some symptoms of Candida die-off include fatigue, difficulty concentrated or foggy thoughts, fever, sweating, difficulty sleeping, and altered mood.
Can you have Candida for years?
Yes, you can have Candida present in your body for years because it’s naturally present in the body for everyone. It’s Candida overgrowth that causes symptoms.
How do you know if Candida is in your bloodstream?
There are blood tests that can identify if an invasive Candida infection has occurred. Healthcare providers also use other sterile fluids to test for Candida, such as cerebrospinal fluid.
Can Candida go away?
No, Candida is naturally present in the human body. The idea is to control overgrowth, not eliminate it.
How can you test for Candida at home?
There is no home test for Candida at this time. The only testing that can verify Candida overgrowth is testing for systemic candidiasis, which is an invasive infection that can cause severe health problems.