Breakdown of the anti-candida diet cure for beginners:
- What is Candida?
- Symptoms of Candida overgrowth
- Risk factors of Candida overgrowth
- Candida cleanse/ detox
- Foods to eat
- Foods to avoid
- Candida Complex
- Probiotic Supplement: Jarrow Formulas, Women’s Fem Dophilus Veggie caps(recommended)
What is Candida?
Even though there are more than 150 known Candida species capable of living in different parts of your body, only 15 of these can cause an infection in case they overgrow.
Yet, candida is one of the most common fungi that many of us have experienced in different forms and part of our bodies. Even though candida can grow nearly everywhere, most commonly it is present in the mouth, skin, digestive tract, toenails, rectum and vagina. (1)
We all have Candida and it’s OK! Candida is a normal member of the human gut flora, along with the trillions microscopic yeasts and bacteria that make sure everything is functioning well for us. However, if certain microbes become over-dominant and start to grow in vast amounts, a microbial imbalance develops and this gives us unwanted symptoms.
Symptoms of Candida overgrowth
Possible symptoms of an infection include:
- Bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
- Chronic fatigue
- Skin issues such as eczema, rashes and even psoriasis
- Recurrent urinary tract infection (story of my life that finally ended!)
- Mood swings and irritability
- Anxiety and depression
- Joint pain
The most common culprit of these symptoms is Candida albicans. Candida albicans is a species of yeast and an opportunistic pathogen found naturally in our bodies.
Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption, but when it is overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. These toxic byproducts when in excess can lead to all kinds of health problems ranging from digestive issues to depression.
What are the risk factors of candida overgrowth?
There are several possible factors that can develop candida overgrowth infection.
Some of these are:
- Chronic stress
- High alcohol consumption
- Diet high in sugar and refined carbs
- Long-term use of birth control or antibiotics (My story!)
- A weak immune system
- Imbalance in your microbiota
- A diabetes mellitus diagnosis
- Candida overgrowth treatment
The anti-fungal diet claims to treat these symptoms and reduce candida overgrowth. However, this is not scientifically supported at the moment.
The diet suggests complete exclusion of sugar, gluten, alcohol, most dairy products, processed foods and harmful preservatives and additives from your diet. It also encourages low-sugar fruit consumption, non-starchy vegetables and gluten-free foods.
On top of this, alcohol and caffeine are both also recommended to avoid in order to support a healthy lifestyle. The aim of this diet is to reduce inflammation and stay away from foods that may feed and promote yeast growth.
There are three important things you need to incorporate in order to succeed against candida overgrowth. Each step is very important and has to be strictly followed and completed to the end. This will ensure candida overgrowth won’t return back.
1. Candida cleanse
Before you begin with the candida diet, it is highly recommended to begin with a cleanse. This is a short-term cleanse that will give a break for your digestive tract that works 24/7, always digesting, absorbing and eliminating food waste for us. There are two common ways you can do this by:
Liquid Fasting: If it is lemon water fast or a bone broth fast it will highly benefit and promote a healthy gut functioning. I always advise my clients to go on a bone broth fast. Bone broth is slightly less drastic compared to water fast as it is more nutritious and healing for the gut.
Vegetable Fasting: Eating mainly vegetables that are easy to digest along with small amounts of protein. The vegetables need to be cooked or steamed to promote easy digestion.
2. Candida diet food list (YES-YES)
It is important to incorporate foods that promote healthy gut functioning and support your good bacteria while leaving your candida to starve.
Some of these foods include:
Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, kale, onions, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, rutabaga, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, celery.
Low-sugar fruits: Lemon, limes and berries are not only high in antioxidants they are very low on sugar which can feed your yeast and promote its growth.
Gluten-free grains: Gluten is an allergen and therefore should be avoided during the candida diet. Grains such as millet, quinoa, oat bran and buckwheat are a good choice to add to your diet.
Healthy fats: Avocados, olives, coconut oil, chia seed oil and other oils high in the omega-3 fight the inflammation in your gut caused by the candida.
Herbs and spices: Since I moved to Vietnam I began to incorporate an endless number of herbs and spices that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut. Some of these are turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, dill, garlic, ginger, thyme, basil and rosemary.
Nuts and seeds low in the mould: Almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds.
High-quality protein: When it comes to protein quality always wins over quantity. Buying organic chicken, eggs, salmon, turkey and sardines will ensure good quality protein consumption while avoiding chemicals and preservatives harmful for the gut.
Probiotics and fermented foods: Providing gut with good bacteria support a healthy microbial balance. A good and effective probiotic supplement is crucial to incorporate along with fermented foods such as organic sauerkraut.
3. Candida diet food list (NO-NO)
A healthy microbiome is a key to a healthy gut. To establish this healthy balance your diet needs to be balanced too, and therefore you need to adopt the right relationship between the foods you include and the foods you avoid. You need to eliminate foods such as sugar, gluten, alcohol and certain dairy products that often help candida to grow.
The list of foods you need to avoid:
High-sugar fruits: bananas, raisins, dates, grapes and mangos.
Grains that contain gluten: Wheat, barley, rye and spelt.
Processed meats: Deli meats and farm-raised fish are often packed with nitrates, antibiotics and preservatives harmful for the gut. This is why high-quality products are crucial.
Condiments: Ketchup, soy sauce, white vinegar, BBQ sauce, horseradish and mayonnaise are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar.
Certain dairy products: Cheese, milk and cream.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, agave, cane sugar, maple syrup, molasses and honey need to be avoided during the candida diet.
Caffeine, alcohol and sugary beverages: Coffee, caffeinated teas, energy drinks, fruit juices, beer, wine or spirits.
Probiotic Supplements for candida overgrowth
Probiotics have been shown to prevent and treat Candida overgrowth. The role of probiotics during the candida cleanse is to suppress the yeast infection but not to kill the yeast too quickly. When this happens, you’ll have a large number of yeast toxins circulating in your bloodstream.
1. Type of strain/s
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
This specific probiotic strain has been found to prevent or minimize the growth, adhesion, and morphogenesis of Candida. (Allonsius et al., 2017)
Saccharomyces cerevisiae (boulardii)
I know it may sound weird but this is actually a yeast. You may think consuming more yeast can just promote the growth of candida but there is beneficial yeast that fights off the bad guys.
Just like there are good and bad bacteria ;).
And just like the good bacteria, this beneficial yeast is believed to reduce the risk of Candida translocating from the digestive tract to other areas and inhibits its growth in the intestines by inducing caprylic acid, an antifungal substance. (Gabrielli, 2018)
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14
These cool strains have evidence for use with both Candida albicans and Candida glabrata and are most effective when combined together. (Martinez et al.,2009) (Kohler et al., 2012)
2. How strong should my probiotic supplement be to treat candida overgrowth?
To answer this question accurately is a real challenge.
Because the severity varies from person to person. You may be a victim of candida overgrowth for years without even realising or you may have noticed after a couple of weeks or months (if you’re the lucky one!).
A recommended average dosage though should contain at least 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per day or more.
3. How long should I take a probiotic supplement to treat candida overgrowth?
You may not see improvements within hours or even days and that’s why it is best to continue taking any probiotic supplement for at least 7-10 days to establish if they have any effect.
Many people first experience a die-off effect with flu-like symptoms, but this may be avoided if starting in small dosages and gradually increasing the strength of the probiotic.
If you notice any negative side effects that make you feel uncomfortable such as, bloating, upset stomach or abdominal pain, half the dosage for a couple of days before symptoms ware off.
To achieve optimal health and depending on the severity of the overgrowth you should take probiotic supplements between 1-3 months at least.
What probiotic supplement is best for treatment of candida overgrowth
Probiotic supplements are a funny one when it comes to effectiveness. With a huge variety and competition, it’s hard to know what to trust. This is why doing your research before investing in your health is crucial, so you don’t get burnt and have to start all over again.
First thing you want to look at is the manufacturing process. Bacteria (a.k.a probiotics) are alive creatures and so, they are sensitive to things like heat and stomach acids. Therefore, you want a probiotic that was manufactured by a special process that protects the probiotic strains from stomach acids and enhances probiotic bacteria survival to the lower intestine where the microbiota is.
Secondly, you want to focus on a product that is specific to your problems.
One of my best recommendations is Jarrow Formulas, Women’s Fem Dophilus Veggie caps.
The candida diet is a very strict diet. No questions asked! But if you follow it firmly you will start to see its benefits in no time. For some, it can take days and for other weeks or even months. The healing process all depends on how severe your candida overgrowth is.
I had clients who seen great results within days whereas for some it took a little bit longer. The bottom line is if they stick to the diet and followed it step-by-step they killed the candida overgrowth and reduced it to a healthy amount that benefited their body.
Even though there is no current strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of the candida diet, many find it transformational for their life. In spite of this, if you are suffering from a candida infection, it may be helpful to see if this diet works for you.
Just imagine, waking up full of energy, symptom-free and happy as a clam at high tide!
If you tried the candida diet by yourself along with the recommended probiotic supplement but the candida is kept reoccurring you may want to consider hiring a nutritionist to give some further guidance to finally get to the root cause of your health problems.
Happy & Bubbly,