Going through Dietetic school, we never learned about diets to treat Candida Albicans. When I first heard about this yeast, I was working in Bali, Indonesia and thought it was something that manifested itself primarily in foreign countries. Since then, however, I’ve learned about so many people suffering from Candida right here in the States. More upsetting is that it could just be another symptom of our Standard American Diet (SAD), much like diabetes, food allergies, immune system dysfunctions, cancer, hypertension and chronic fatigue among other conditions, or the overuse of antibiotics.
What is Candida?
Candida Albicans is a yeast belonging to a family of molds, mildews and fungus. It's normally found in manageable quantities in humans, particularly in the bowel. Under these normal, balanced conditions when friendly bacteria are active, yeasts are passive, but when the body is stressed, exposed to antibiotics, or just unhealthy, they multiply rapidly.
The SAD creates an ideal environment for bad bacteria to thrive and crowd out the good gut bacteria, eventually leading to yeast overgrowth. Yeast does not thrive in a healthy body. They are well fed by those whose diets are high in sugar and refined, processed starches. Candida can also act as an allergy when toxic byproducts from the yeast leach into the blood stream. Therefore, those with Candida often experience symptoms such as fatigue, IBS, joint pain, itchy skin, “food hangover,” and headaches.
Help Treat Candida and Its Symptoms
Treatment should include starving and killing the yeast, replacing the “good” bacteria in the gut, and rebuilding your immune system. Some of the foods listed below may help you do that. Please work with your doctor and a dietitian for an appropriate plan that works for your.
- Coconut oil contains lauric acid and caprylic acid, which exhibit antimicrobial, antifungal properties
- Tons of non-starchy, raw or steamed vegetables
- Proteins – fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds, tiny amounts of beans and peas, lean organic white meats
- Grapefruit seed extract (GFE) is an anti-fungal that is found over the counter
- Oregano oil is another antifungal
- Powdered, buffered vitamin C contains calcium, potassium and magnesium and helps relieve allergic reactions and symptoms of yeast die-off; take in between meals
- Garlic is an anti-bacterial pre-biotic that also helps feed the healthy bacteria
- Probiotics (L. Acidophilus and Bifidus) NOT from yogurt, since yogurt contains the milk sugar lactose
- Brands I like include: Dr. Ohirra’s, Primal Defense, Healthforce Nutritionals (Friendly Force), and MegaFood’s Megaflora, and Jarrow-Dophilus
- Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods.
- Essential Fatty Acids will help boost a weakened immune system. Cold pressed oils such as black currant, evening primrose, walnut, or olive. Walnuts and other nuts, avocados, sunflower seeds, chia and flax seeds are all good options.
- The herb gymnema sylvestre has been shown to block the fungal properties of the pathogen that causes candida.
Not to Eat
- Yeast foods, such as breads, moldy cheeses, beer, wine, fermented foods, yogurts
- Starches (white breads, potatoes, pasta, pastries, cold cereal, etc.)
- Milk products
- Wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, and rice. Some can tolerate small amounts of quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat.
- Avoid all added sugars (sugar, honey, agave, molasses, maple syrup, etc.)
Don’t worry, you can gradually add in these healthy grains, starches, and fruits once the yeast clears up! After about a month, if you’re feeling better, try adding low sugar fruits like berries and green apples and complex carbohydrates like grains, beans, and sweet potatoes back into your diet to test the progress. If the old symptoms return, then it's too early and you're either feeding the yeast or allergic to what you've added. Continue to follow these recommendations and those of your healthcare provider. Eventually, you'll feel renewed! Just don’t go back to the SAD that got you there in the first place. Make some changes and keep your body strong and healthy!
Hear more about candida from David Wolfe.