Candida is a type of yeast that naturally lives in our body like in our mouth and in the digestive tract. To have it in a small amount it’s even good for us, as part of the microbiome, it helps our digestion run smoothly. However, the overgrowth of candida can cause inflammation and discomfort.
If you have enough healthy bacteria in your body it will keep the Candida levels under control. However, if healthy bacteria levels are disrupted it causes a perfect environment for Candida to overproduce. The other cause of the overgrowth of Candida is when the immune system has been compromised.
What does Candida thrive on?
Sugar!! A diet thats high in sugar and processed foods
Candida loves refined sugar found in sweets and fizzy drinks. It’s the perfect fuel for them to grow, to thrive and it helps them reproduce. Processed foods loaded with toxins (trans fats, mercury, additives, artificial food colouring and flavouring etc) releases toxins into our system, causing inflammation and “repetitive abusement” leading to the weakening of the immune system.
The word antibiotic means against life, Anti (against) and Bio (life). Antibiotic not only kills bad bacteria but wipes out the good bacteria too. This creates the perfect environment for candida to flourish. Taking a probiotic along with the antibiotic can prevent this from happening. Talk to your physician about this when they are prescribing antibiotics.
Beer and wine both contain sugar and yeast. Alcohol is produced when yeast ferments sugar. Drinking excessively creates a recipe for yeast infections.
The most powerful medicine to keep the Candida at bay is the balanced, nutrient-dense, whole-food, plant-based diet. However, if you have Candida already and are looking to get rid of it then there is an additional list of items you need to avoid.
- High -Glycemic Fruits including dry fruits.
- Caffeine (coffee, black tea and green tea)
- Soy products (processed and GMO)
- Vinegar – all vinegar (apple cider vinegar is an exception)
- Yeast – (baker’s, Brewers and nutritional yeast)
- Starchy Vegetables – yams, potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, sweetcorn, peas.
- Legume, beans, chickpeas.
- All refined grains and flours
- Grains that contain gluten and glutinous foods – rye, wheat, spelt, barley.
- Mushrooms and moulds (exception shitake, enoki, reishi and maitake)
Foods to eat on Candida diet
Gluten-free grains – quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, oats (gluten-free) millet and amaranth.
Seaweed – sea lettuce, nori, wakame, irish moss.
Non-GMO soy products: tofu, tempeh.
Nuts and seeds – flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds; walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts.
Non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens, avocado, cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts; arugula, artichokes, asparagus, cucumber, garlic, onions, ginger, celery, kale, spinach, turnips, tomatoes, collard greens, zucchini, aubergines and green beans.
Unsweetened plant-based milk and yogurt.
Low-sugar fruits – berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and kiwis.
Beverages – herbal teas
Herbs and Spices
Apple Cider Vinegar
Try to stick to this for a month and see if any of your symptoms improve. The list doesn’t look comprehensive although there are so many options to chose from and play around. For breakfast, you can have a bowl of oats with blueberries topped with hemp seeds or any nuts of your choice listed above. Be creative and make a mouth-watering salad with avocado and leafy greens for lunch. For dinner, you can have a bowl of buckwheat with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and zucchini.
With patience and the right strategy, you can beat gut candida and continue to live a healthy and happy life. Don’t forget to be creative with your food!