Candida is a type of yeast that is one of many microorganisms that make up the intestinal microflora. The balance of microflora is important for our bodies to stay in good health. However, when these microorganisms are out of balance due to poor diet, medications, and stressful lifestyles, what once helped create health can now create havoc. Overgrowth of Candida Albicans can then become an adversary responsible for intestinal inflammation and leaking toxins into the bloodstream that weaken the immune system.
Some common symptoms of Candida overgrowth can include:
- Sensitivities to foods
- Fungus in the nails or feet
- Mental confusion, or inability to focus
- General fatigue
- Chronic sinus infections
- Poor Digestion Reoccurring yeast infections
While getting the gut flora back into balance can take some dedication and time, it is possible to regain health with a few “can do” steps:
- Repopulate the body with probiotics. This helps bring the “good guys” back into balance so they can keep the Candida Albicans in check.
- Detox. Using natural Anti-fungal supplements to help create an unfriendly environment for the Candida Albicans.
- Modify diet. Changing the diet alters the environment for Candida.
Modifying the diet can be the most challenging part of keeping Candida in check, but it is also the most crucial because the yeast needs sugar to build cell walls and reproduce. Not only are the simple sugars found in candy, soda, and pastries a food source for yeast, but even more complex carbohydrates in fruit and whole grains will break down into a glucose source. Eliminating junk food is always in our best interest for better health, but when detoxing from Candida, the elimination of even more complex carbohydrates that include fruit, potatoes, rice, bread, yams, and fruit juices, will be necessary for a time to have the best benefits.
So, what can we eat on a Candida diet? The “can do” list of nutritious, low-sugar, anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, spinach, kale, green beans, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, etc.
- Low sugar fruits such as limes, lemons, avocado, and berries can be eaten in moderation.
- Meat, fish, and eggs. Avoid processed meats with sulfates and nitrates. Many deli meats have added sugar in the form of dextrose, so learn to be a label reader.
- Bone Broth! Bone broth is wonderfully restorative with naturally occurring collagen and glutamine. Both compounds help restore the integrity of the gut lining.
- Fermented foods. These can include unsweetened yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles (unsweetened), and olives
- Nuts such as cashews, almonds, and pecans. Peanuts can be high in mold and should be avoided. Mold does not necessarily feed the candida, but when there is an overgrowth there can be a high sensitivity to mold present, and eating peanuts could trigger a reaction.
- Spices! Spices add wonderful flavor and some such as turmeric and cinnamon are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and have anti-fungal properties that add another layer of nutrition and health benefits.
- Good Fats such as avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil. Both olive oil and coconut oil have anti-fungal properties and can help boost the immune system.
- Herbal teas and plenty of water. There are some sweeteners that can be enjoyed in herbal tea if desired:
- Monk Fruit
Along with choosing nutritious foods to eliminate the candida food source, there are foods with special properties that make a wonderful addition to assist in the candida detox processes:
- Garlic not only fights Candida Albicans, but it also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system by destroying harmful bacteria while leaving healthy bacteria in place. Garlic also helps with detoxification by boosting the lymphatic system.
- Onion has anti-parasitic as well as anti-fungal properties. It also helps support the kidneys, helping to rid the body of waste through the urinary system more efficiently
- Ginger, along with being anti-inflammatory helps with detoxification by assisting the liver in flushing out toxins. Ginger also increases oxygen throughout the body (which aids in healing) as well as helps soothe irritation in the intestinal tract caused by yeast overgrowth.
- Pau d Arco tea is an excellent addition to a Candida detox as It is packed with powerful yeast-fighting compounds. Pau d arco can found in tea form or capsules in health food stores such as The HealthPatch.
- Cayenne Pepper is not the biggest hitter on being anti-fungal, but it is still valuable in detox because, like ginger, it is particularly good at increasing oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen in the cells is vital for healing and healing the body is the ultimate goal in a detox.
Some final thoughts: Changing your diet and detoxing is not easy and may become even more uncomfortable for a time as the body goes through a healing process. If this happens, do not give up. Instead, adjust your program if needed, drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins, rest as much as possible, and give yourself grace. Often a mental shift is needed when working to make permanent changes for better health. The title of this article is cheesy, but I chose it for a purpose. In the middle of processes such as detoxing, it can be very human to want to give up when the changes become challenging and the physical symptoms seem to have worsened. When we want to look at the diet and think “look at all I have to give up”, instead of shifting to “look at the foods that can help me reach my health goals” can often make a difference in moving forward. Emphasis on Can.
Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND