Balance candida overgrowth and improve gut health with recipes, resources, and natural wellness.

Improving Candida with Diet

candida candida diet Feb 27, 2021
white plate with meat red tomatoes and green herbs

Improving candida with diet makes up about 20% of an effective gut-healing, candida-kicking, full-body program, but it’s the part that inevitably creates the most questions.

There are a lot of candida-diets out there. Some are impossibly strict, and others are impossibly lenient. I’ve found that a well-balanced combination is the recipe for long-term success in treating candida.

There are a couple of reasons I suggest the particular diet I do in the Kicking Candida Program:

1. You want to think long term. A candida diet isn’t easy, and if you don’t allow ANY treats or little indulgences, it’s easy to give up and quit – or you end up binging and set yourself back.

2. Extreme reduction of carbohydrates puts your body into ketosis. While ketosis normally has a variety of health benefits, I don’t suggest it until your candida is under control because of the effect it has on candida.

An article in Clinical & Experimental Immunology found that “killing of candida by the diabetic neutrophil (white blood cell) is impaired under conditions of hyperglycemia and ketosis.” [1]

A 2000 article in Microbiology Letters agreed that ketosis is not a favored condition with candida. “…prolonged ketosis may be a significant risk factor for candidiasis. [2]

Paul Jamient, Ph.D. states that “very low-carb diets will flare fungal infections by suppressing anti-fungal immunity and reducing the population of probiotic bacteria in the gut, which compete with fungi. A balanced diet with 30% carbs is best for candida.” [3]

3. Being too restrictive might cause some to not eat enough.

While there are those who suggest a water fast as a way to ‘starve’ the candida, that method is counterproductive, since “starvation of yeast cells induces exponentially grown cells (and usually non-germinative) to germinate.” [4]

An article in the International Endodontic Journal also states, “Candida albicans cells can survive and form biofilms in anaerobic and nutrient-limited conditions. . .[5]

pile of sugar on table

Sugar and candida

In the backs of our minds, we all know that too much sugar isn’t a good thing. Sugar promotes chronic inflammation which then disrupts the normal function of your immune system. Diets high in refined sugars are harmful to the brain and promote inflammation and oxidative stress and worsen mood disorders like depression. [7, 9]

Sugar (specifically glucose) plays an important role in candida’s ability to change form – from round and harmless to filamentous, growing branches or ‘roots’ that invade cells and cause tissue damage. Candida is “exquisitely sensitive to glucose”, even responding to 0.01%. Testing showed that glucose in the blood also helps candida become more resistant. [6, 8]

The best plan of action is a low sugar, low carbohydrate/starch, nutrient-dense diet that includes foods that heal your body, increase your immunity, and help you lose weight. The chart below shows a general sampling of foods you can eat.

Allowed food 

Animal Protein (limit red meats)

  • beef
  • bison
  • chicken
  • duck
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lamb
  • rabbit
  • turkey
  • venison 


Vegetables

  • all, especially green leafy vegetables and cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • except corn, peas, and white potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, horseradish, and yams
  • be cautious of nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers) as they can cause inflammation

 

Fruits (try to limit to about 1 serving per day)

  • apples, green (green are more sour and have less sugar content)
  • avocado (not limited to 1 serving)
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • coconut flesh
  • cranberries (fresh)
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • lemons and limes (not limited to 1 serving)
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

 yogurt and berries

Dairy (it's best to use alternatives)

  • almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • hemp milk
  • coconut ice cream (enjoy all our favorite homemade coconut ice creams in Candida on Ice)

 

Nuts & Seeds (also used as nut flours and nut butter)

  • almonds (use code ‘JT’ to get 10% off your order)
  • Brazil nuts
  • chestnuts
  • chia seeds
  • flax seed/meal
  • hazelnuts
  • hempseed
  • macadamia nuts
  • nut butters
  • pecans
  • pine nuts
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • walnuts

 

Sweeteners

 

Condiments

  • apple cider vinegar (raw, with ‘the mother’, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is a good brand)
  • Coconut Aminos (in place of soy sauce)
  • herbs
  • spices (without sugar, MSG, or additives) (tip: ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory)

 

Fermented Foods (Look for natural ferments that don’t use sugar or white vinegar. Cultures for Health has starters for kefir, vegetables, and dairy-free yogurt)

  • coconut yogurt
  • kefir
  • vegetables

 

 

 


Resources:

[1] Bulla, A., Hitze, K.L. (1978). Acute respiratory infections: a review. Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

[2] Saeed, F.A. (2000). Production of pyruvate by Candida albicans: proposed role in virulence. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 190 (1), 35-38.

[3] Van Burik, J., Leisenring, W. (1998). The Effect of Prophylactic Fluconazole on the Clinical Spectrum of Fungal Diseases in Bone Marrow Transplant Recipients with Special Attention to Hepatic Candidiasis: An Autopsy Study of 355 Patients. Medicine. 77, 246-254.

[4] Calderone, R., Suzuki, S., Cannon, R., Cho, T., Boyd, D., Calera, J., Chibana, H., Herman, D., Holmes, A., Jeng, H.W., Kaminishi, H., Matsumoto, T., Mikami, T., O’Sullivan, J.M., Sudoh, M., Suzuki, M., Nakashima, Y., Tanaka, T., Tompkins, G.R., Watanabe, T. (2000). Candida albicans: adherence, signaling and virulence. Medical Mycology.

[5] Ning, Y., Hu, X., Ling, J., Du, Y., Liu, J., Liu, H., Peng, Z. (2013). Candida albicans survival and biofilm formation under starvation conditions. Intentional Endodontic Journal.

[6] Sudbery, P.E. (2011). Growth of Candida albicans hyphae. Nature Reviews. Microbiology. 10. 737-748.

[7] Selhub, Eva. “Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food.” Harvard Health Blog. 17 Nov.2015.

[8] Rodaki, A., Bohovych, I.M., Enjalbert, B., Young, T., Odds, F.C., Gow, N.A., Brown, A.J. (2009). Glucose promotes stress resistance in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Molecular Biology of a Cell. 20(22), 4845-4855.

[9] Dr. Mercola. (2014). Can Food Affect Your Mood? Mercola: Take Control of Your Health.

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