The Candida Diet: Top Five Foods to Eat and to Avoid

The Candida Diet: Top Five Foods to Eat and to AvoidNaturopathic Doctor, Maura Scanlan discusses the Candida Diet; she lists the top 5 foods to avoid and the top 5 foods that can help eliminate Candida.

So far in this series we have looked at the causes and symptoms of Candida overgrowth (or yeast infection). If you missed any of the previous articles, or want to remind yourself, you can follow the links below to catch up:

*Part 1: Candida – The Most Misunderstood Chronic Health Problem
*Part 2: Is Your Sugar Addiction Feeding Your Intestinal Candida?
*Part 3: Is Candida Overgrowth Causing Your Chronic Gas & Bloating?
*Part 4: Rashes and Candida – The Connection between Skin and Gut
*Part 5: Is Candida Making You Fat?

In this sixth and final article, we will look at what you can and can’t eat when you are tackling Candida overgrowth. I will tell you the most common foods that feed and contribute to the symptoms of Candida and the best foods you can eat to help suppress and control it.

As we have seen throughout this series, Candida is a simple organism that doesn’t need much to thrive. The damp, warm environment of our digestive system, a reduction in healthy bacteria (usually caused by taking antibiotics) and lots of sugar is all Candida needs to flourish, grow and take hold in your gut, causing any number of unpleasant symptoms such as digestive symptoms, emotional problems, skin, weight issues, muscle and joint pain, food allergies, itching and frequent infections to name just a few. These symptoms, alone and in combination all contribute to making you feel seriously under par. However, a few simple changes to your diet can help alleviate all of them. Isn’t that great news?

If you have, or suspect you may have, Candida there are steps you can take to help minimize its growth Candida- starting with your diet. Here is a list of foods that I have found in my Naturopathic practice to be most aggravating to people with Candida overgrowth.

Top Five Foods to Avoid

1. Sugar

Any form of processed sugar including white or brown sugar derived from the cane sugar plant and any simple sweetener derived from maple syrup, honey, agave, brown rice syrup or malt. You also need to take great care to avoid high fructose corn syrup – this processed form of sugar, derived from the corn plant, is especially problematic for yeast overgrowth and should be eliminated. Read labels, you may be surprised to find all the hidden sources of sugar that you may be consuming. Packaged soups, coffee creamers, packaged seasonings are all potential sources.

2. Simple Carbohydrates

Processed carbohydrates such as white flours, white rice contain no fiber and turn into simple sugars in the digestive system. Foods in this category include crackers, chips, pasta and noodles.

3. Yeast

Candida is a yeast and, when you consume foods that contain yeast, you are adding more yeast to an already yeast-heavy environment. High yeast foods include:

*Alcohol which is fermented using yeast. Wine and Beer contain the most yeast and people who are yeast sensitive tend to react more to them than they do to distilled spirits like vodka, gin & tequila which contain less.
*Fermented products, including all types of vinegar, soy sauce, tamari, salad dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and most other condiments that include vinegars.
*Many breads contain yeast – it is what makes the bread rise so that it is fluffy and light. Sourdough bread gets mixed reviews on being allowed on a Candida diet. Sourdough is made with a starter so there is no active yeast added to the mix. However, the starter comes from naturally occurring yeast spores that float around in the environment. For this reason, I recommend avoiding sourdough when doing a Candida cleanse. Tortillas do not contain yeast and can be used to replace bread.

4. Mold

Foods that are high in mold can add to the fungal spores in the intestinal tract that contribute to the growth of Candida. Foods that may have mold on them include:

*Meats that are pickled, smoked or dried such as hotdogs, smoked salmon and cured pork bacon.
*Cheese, especially ‘moldy cheese’ such as brie and camembert. I recommend avoiding all cheeses during the Candida cleanse.
*Peanuts & Pistachios
*Dried fruits and fruit that has been bottled, canned or jarred. These belong in the sugar category as well as the mold category as they contain both concentrated sugar and often mold spores on the skin as well.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a fungus and, as such, can also contribute to yeast overgrowth. Mushrooms have a role to play in medicine and some species can boost the immune system. However, for the purpose of treating Candida, any foods that have a fungal component to them are best avoided to minimize yeast growth in the intestines.

The Five Best Foods to Eat to Eliminate Candida

The best diet to keep Candida overgrowth to a minimum is one that is high in healthy protein, fats and complex carbohydrates. Here are my top five food groups for beating Candida:

1. Protein

*From animal sources such as chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs
*From non-animal sources such as beans, legumes (such as red or brown lentils), nuts and seeds (except peanuts and pistachios)

2. Fresh Vegetables

Especially dark leafy greens such as spinach, cabbage, kale and collards. Root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes can be eaten in moderation but beware as they contain carbohydrates that will turn to sugar once eaten. Frozen, canned or jarred vegetables can be eaten but should be consumed in moderation – in general fresh is always best.

3. Fresh Fruits

1-2 servings of fresh fruit per day will provide good fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, if you notice symptoms of gas, bloating and brain fog after eating fruit you may be sensitive to it and should eliminate it from your diet as well.

4. Complex Carbohydrates

Some people can handle having whole grains in their diet. If you find you get gas, bloating, stomach pain, blood sugar crashes or weight concerns after eating whole grains then you will need to avoid them. Otherwise, you may be able to consume grains such as:

*Oats
*Barley
*Kamut
*Brown or wild rice
*Millet
*Teff
*Buckwheat
*Quinoa

5. High Quality Oils (Good Fats)

All our cells have an outer layer of fat that makes up the cell membrane. When we eat high-quality oils this membrane are healthier and work optimally. When our cell membranes are working properly then we are healthier and have more energy. Unrefined and cold-pressed oils are the best when available. Good fats include (but are not limited to):

*Coconut oil
*Olive oil (avoid olives themselves as they are pickled in a brine so fall under the fermented foods category and should be avoided)
*Avocados & avocado oil+
*Sunflower oil
*Safflower oil
*Fish Oil
*Flax seed oil
*Chia Seed

In addition to eating the right foods it is important to stay well hydrated. Drinking 1-2 liters of water a day will contribute to a healthy digestive system and help minimize yeast overgrowth.

Closing Thoughts

Candida overgrowth can be the hidden culprit in many chronic health concerns.  It can build up over a long period of time and symptoms may not be obvious at first. It has been my experience that most people, at some point in their life, do well to do a Candida cleanse and eliminate sugar- and yeast-promoting foods from their diet for a certain period of time. Cleaning up ones diet, adding high quality probiotics and reducing sugar will always help to put people on the path to good health.

If you suspect you might have Candida overgrowth and would like to find out more about my specially designed Yeast and Candida Detox Program, please click here. This is a three-tiered supported treatment that:

*Eliminates the foods that cause the yeast to grow
*Kills off the yeast
*Repopulates the intestines with healthy bacteria

I love to read your comments; if you have any thoughts or experiences you would like to share about your battle with Candida, or if you have any questions, please use the comments box below.

This concludes the series on Candida overgrowth and its role in your health. Look for my new, upcoming series of articles focusing on deadly food allergies. To be sure you don’t miss it you can subscribe to this blog using the subscription box on this page and have it sent directly to your inbox.

Dr. Maura Scanlan N.D, L.Ac.
19thAugust 2015

 

DrMaura, Naturopathic Doctor

MAURA SCANLAN, N.D, L.Ac. is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and licensed acupuncturist. Starting her extensive studies in holistic medicine 1990, she established her professional practice in 2000. Over the years, Dr. Maura has specialized in food allergies and sensitivities, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, women’s health and fertility, and fatigue. Her diverse professional background has enabled her to combine Eastern medicine and herbalism with the Western medical practice. As a mother to a child with deadly food allergies, she personally knows how challenging day-to-day living can be for people with food-related health conditions. As she has seen so many people with chronic health conditions feel “dropped” by the modern mainstream medical system, she is passionate about helping people take back control of their own health – naturally. Based in Washington State, she serves patients worldwide through her private practice ‘A Path to Natural Health’.

2 thoughts on “The Candida Diet: Top Five Foods to Eat and to Avoid”

  1. Once again, a very informative article! Just one question….I have read that fermented foods are good probiotics, yet you don’t recommend them, have I got that wrong?

    1. Hi Peggy,
      Sorry this question got missed. The reason I don’t recommend fermented foods for the purpose of the Candida diet is because yeast is hard enough to treat and for the purpose of killing off the yeast I don’t recommend adding more fermented products in at that time. In general fermented foods are part of a health diet and most traditional diets include some type of fermented food. Hoefully that clears that up for you.- Dr Maura Scanlan N.D,. L.Ac.

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