Every woman (and some men too) can relate to the uncomfortable symptoms of having a random yeast infection from time to time but for some women, the problem can seem never-ending. Yeast overgrowth can affect anyone at any time and it can cause a variety of problems that affect your cognitive, mental and physical health. Fortunately, these symptoms tend to subside with the yeast infection but when you’re experiencing them frequently, the effects can really start to take a toll especially when nothing seems to be working to keep them at bay. As a result, many experts are encouraging a natural, more thorough treatment option that gets right down to the root of the problem: a candida diet.
What is the Candida Diet?
The most basic definition of the candida diet is a low-sugar, low-carb diet that is designed to eliminate and avoid excess yeast to bring balance back into your gut. In order to understand the powerful effects this can have on your health and yeast infections, you must first take a look at what candida is and how it can turn into an infection.
Candida is a type of yeast that lives inside the body and on the skin. It is entirely normal and there are hundreds of them. However, some of these (Candida albicans) can cause infections if they grow out of control, which can cause issues such as yeast infections and oral thrust.
A candida diet focuses on eliminating all sources of flour, sugar, and yeast from your meals while increasing your consumption of lean protein, healthy fats, and leafy and cruciferous vegetables to treat and prevent an overgrowth of candida. It is designed to be used as a temporary, carbohydrate-restricted eating plan that resets your microbiome, thus tackling the yeast causing your infections. However, not only does it weaken the overgrowth of yeast, but the candida diet can also assist in regulating blood sugar levels by limiting the intake of foods that cause spikes in blood sugar levels in the body (a common contributor to candida overgrowth).
Now, you may experience some adverse symptoms such as nausea, headaches, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue when starting the candida cleanse and they may last up to two weeks. The good news: the symptoms do subside and they’re actually a positive sign that your body is getting rid of the issue (candida overgrowth).
Better yet, the symptoms experienced at the beginning of a candida cleanse diet may also be a result of the body switching into a state of ketosis. This is when the body starts burning fat for fuel. This can help boost weight loss and a plethora of additional health benefits associated with the ketogenic diet.
How to Use The Candida Cleanse Diet
Although there are several approaches to a Candida cleanse, you want to follow a plan that the addresses all the areas in the body areas that may be affected by the overgrowth. These include your gut, which Candida albicans frequently grow, as well as your liver, which removes the toxins created by the yeast overgrowth.
Ideally, you’ll want to use a candida cleanse for six weeks. Within this timeframe, you want to ideally keep your daily carb intake to 60g, while also avoiding are all processed, refined-flour and refined-sugar food, including grains, and sweeteners and other sneaky ingredients (more on this in our list of foods to avoid. It’s also important to keep your fruit and starchy vegetable intake to two servings per day, as many of these are high in sugar.
By following this candida cleanse diet, your body can effectively tackle any excess yeast and rebalance your gut microbiome. Some additional benefits include reduced inflammation, improved digestion, better immune function, higher energy levels and an improved mood.
Foods To Eat
Some examples of excellent food items to eat while on a candida cleanse diet are:
- Berries (limited)
- Bone broth
- Brussels sprouts
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts)
- Dark chocolate
- Grass-fed beef
- Green tea
- Hemp seeds
- Herbs (basil, cilantro, oregano)
- Macadamia nuts
- Nonstarchy vegetables (asparagus, onions, shallots, zucchini)
- Nuts (almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts)
- Olive oil and olives
- Pasture-raised poultry, including chicken
- Seeds (chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds)
- Spices (cumin, turmeric)
- Wild fish
Foods to Avoid
Some examples of foods you’ll want to avoid while doing a candida cleanse diet are all processed, refined-flour and refined-sugar food. However, there are some tricky items that may go under the radar that should also be avoided, such as:
- Alcohol, especially beer, Champagne, and hard ciders, which are fermented or made with yeast
- Fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut can be added back in at the four-week mark)
- Ice cream
- Sweetened foods (ice cream, candy, etc.)
- Vinegar, including apple cider vinegar
Optional Supplements That Can Help
You may choose to include some supplements that can be helpful for eradicating Candida toxins, replenishing your gut flora, and stopping the growth of Candida albicans. Some common and effective options are:
- Detox supplements: support your body’s detoxification pathways to help with the elimination of Candida toxins, prevent a die-off reaction from happening, and to alleviate Candida symptoms. Some examples are milk thistle, molybdenum and NAC
- Probiotics: help give your immune system an extra boost as it works to combat candida overgrowth by restoration healthy gut bacteria. Lactobacillus plantarum and lactobaciullus acidophilus are two of the best probiotic strainds for balancing gut microbiome.
- Antifungal: help eliminate candida by breaking down biofilms to give your immune system an extra boost. Oregano leaf extract and caprylic acid are two common options of antifungals.
However, it’s important to mention that while the candida diet is generally safe for most individuals, it is not recommended for expectant and nursing mothers or anyone who has a history of eating disorders. People with diabetes or any underlying health condition may want to speak with their doctor about this eating plan to ensure it aligns with your current treatment plan.
Tips For Using a Candida Cleanse Diet
While the candida cleanse diet is fairly straightforward, it can never hurt to have a few extra tips! Here are
- Find some new recipes to try: Keep the process exciting by ensure you have all kinds of delicious and nutritious meals to try.
- Create a meal plan: Planning your meals will make it significantly easier to stay within the candida cleanse diet guidelines, as you won’t have to stress over last-minute meals.
- Limit caffeine: While drinking coffee does serve plenty of benefits, the caffeine can irritate your gut and slow down your digestion, which can weaken your immune system when you need it to be in tip-top shape. The added sugar that most people enjoy in their cup of java can also hinder your progress. So, try to opt for a healthier morning beverage, enjoy your coffee black and caffeine-free or at the very least, limit how many you have per day.
- Start slowly: To make the process easier, start slowly by removing one item at a time from your diet instead of eliminating sugar, caffeine, and gluten, etc. all at once.
- Enjoy cooking at home: To ensure you know exactly what is in the foods you’re eating during your candida cleanse, try to cook at home instead of dining out.
- Enjoy live cultures: While sauerkraut and yogurt are rich sources of probiotic bacteria, they can be destroyed during the pasteurization process. To ensure that the product has all of the good stuff (live, healthy bacteria) you want, make sure the label contains “live cultures,” “probiotic,” and “unpasteurized.”
- Make sure your fermented foods are actually fermented: While olives and sauerkraut can serve as delightful probiotic foods, many brands commonly found in grocery stores are actually pickled instead of fermented.
- Stay hydrated: Whether you’re experiencing some of the symptoms associated with a candida cleanse diet or want to improve your overall health, staying hydrated is an important step!
- Be wary of added sugars, especially in yogurt: Probiotic yogurt can significantly benefit your gut health and overall well-being, but if you purchase a brand with added sugars, these can do more harm than good.
- Increase your intake of gut-healing foods: Bone broth, cabbage juice and coconut oil are three examples of gut-friendly foods that can be significantly helpful during a candida cleanse.
- Boost the quality of your foods: As you transition away from processed foods, sugary snacks, and soft drinks, you can significantly enhance the nutritional value of your diet by incorporating more high-quality vegetables, fruits, and healthy proteins. Consider purchasing organic produce when you can, opt for local and in-season produce and source products from your local farmers.
Candida in your body, at proper levels, can help with your digestion and nutrient absorption but when there’s an overgrowth of candida, many serious and negative health problems can start to happen with one of those being yeast infections. The good news: a few simple changes to your diet for a short period of time and you can eradicate excess candida from your body, restore your gut microbiome and prevent yeast infections moving forward.