In any human body, there are trillions of microbial cells including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Despite a larger number, these organisms make up only about 1-3 percent of our body mass. However, their importance should not be discounted as they are responsible for many physiological processes, including digestion, metabolism, and immune function.
The composition of the gut microbiome is unique to each individual. The majority of that microbiome is inherited at birth, but another larger part of it can be influenced by diet, lifestyle, and other factors.
You can alter your gut microbiome by modifying your diet. You can also beat Candida Yeast Overgrowth with a few dietary tweaks that will make the environment inhospitable to Candida albicans. As poor diet leads to microbiome imbalances and Candida Overgrowth, reversing these eating habits can help bring microbiome balance back to healthy levels.
The ultimate goal of this Meal plan is to restore your gut microbiome balance, remove Candida albicans overgrowth, and repopulate the microbiome back with healthy gut bacteria that will aid in improving your health.
This Meal Plan is an anti-inflammatory diet that removes the potential Candida Overgrowth and gut dysbiosis triggers. It’s full of proteins, healthy fats, and starch- and sugar-free carbs designed to nourish your body with vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.
The following guidelines are the basics of the Meal Plan designed to get rid of Candida Overgrowth.
Avoid Added Sugars
When it comes to the development of candida yeast overgrowth, added sugars play a particularly important role. This is because candida yeasts are able to metabolize sugars very efficiently, which allows them to quickly multiply and spread throughout the body.
In fact, research has shown that even a small amount of sugar can significantly increase the growth of candida yeasts (1). This is why it’s so important to avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar if you’re trying to prevent or treat candida overgrowth.
Interestingly, while all types of sugar can promote the growth of candida yeasts, refined sugars seem to be particularly problematic. This is likely due to the fact that refined sugars are more quickly and easily metabolized by candida yeasts than other types of sugar (2).
So, if you’re trying to prevent or treat candida overgrowth, it’s important to avoid not just sugary foods and drinks, but also products that contain refined sugars. This includes many processed foods and beverages, as well as some “healthy” snacks like granola bars and fruit yogurts.
“Healthy” foods can also contain added sugars disguised under different names. When you are buying any packaged food, check the ingredient label for any natural or added sugars. The most popular names for sugar are: Dextrin, Cane Sugar, Molasses, Dextrose, Sucrose, Maltose, HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup). The list includes 61 different sugar names.
The most popular foods that contain hidden sugars are:
1) Breakfast cereals
2) Fruit juices, soft and sports drinks
3) Bread, crackers, and cookies
4) Sauces, including ketchup and BBQ sauce
5) Dressings and marinades
7) Instant coffee and tea mixes
8) Flavored nuts
9) Dried fruit
Bread products have added sugars to improve their flavor. Surprisingly, making a sandwich with two slices of whole wheat bread can result in consuming 6 grams of sugar. Even organic bread can have cane sugar and molasses added to reveal a total of up to 8 additional grams of sugar for only two slices.
The marinara sauce alone will have plenty of sugar. For example, a store-bought sauce can have on average 5 grams of added sugar per half cup. That’s on top of the natural sugars that tomatoes already contain. Pizza dough will have more sugars added during manufacturing for an improved flavor profile. This results in pizza loaded with added sugars, especially if it has pepperoni or sausage toppings.
Almost any flavored yogurt has added sugars, with most fruit yogurts having almost 30 g of sugar per serving! This is partially due to yogurt’s naturally occurring sugars from lactose, especially in whole milk varieties.
These foods have fats artificially removed, which alters the flavor profile and makes them less palatable. To change that, the brands add sugar to improve the taste. The researchers found that consuming fat-free foods significantly increases sugar intake despite having lower calories (3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4742721/
Limit Starchy Vegetables
While both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are a healhy food choice, there are some key differences between the two. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, white rice, beans, and corn, are mostly foods with a high glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI are those that cause blood sugar levels to spike rapidly. Since Candida albicans feed off sugar, high GI foods should be limited.
In addition, starchy vegetables are high-carb, calorie-heavy foods. For example, one cup of home-cooked black beans contains 54 grams of carbs, and 40 grams of net carbs. Compare this to broccoli, which contains only 10 grams of carbs per cup and 5 grams of net carbs (4). https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2357/2
For these reasons, starchy vegetables should be limited to prevent Candida albicans from overgrowing. They can still be a part of your Meal Plan, but only in limited quantities. The reason why this food group on the Limit this Food list is because starchy vegetables, just like the non-starchy vegetables, are rich in nutrients and minerals, such as including potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C, K and E. Both groups are also rich in Fiber that keeps your bowel movements regular.
Non-starchy vegetables, on the other hand, are much lower in carbs and sugar and can help to starve off the Candida Yeast. This makes them a better choice for those trying to get rid of candida overgrowth. In addition, non-starchy vegetables are generally more nutrient-dense than starchy ones, so they can also help to boost your overall health while you’re fighting the infection.
The Meal Plan is a low- to moderate-carb diet. The rule of thumb is to aim for 100 – 150 grams of net carbs per day. It’s important to note that you need the total for NET carbs, not the total carbs. NET carbs formula is Total carbs minus Fiber. For example, 100 g of Brussels sprouts have 7 g of carbs and 2.5 grams of fiber, which makes adds up to 4.5 grams of net carbs.
Eat Organic Proteins
Organic meat is produced without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, or other artificial chemicals. Whereas, conventionally produced meat may contain these chemicals.
One of the major Candida Overgrowth triggers is antibiotics. If you consume meat from cows treated with antibiotics, you may unknowingly promote the growth of Candida.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report (5) https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/better-burgers-antibiotics-ib.pdf published in 2020, cattle producers in the United States use more than 40% of all antibiotics, same ones used in human medicine. The amounts used are 3-6 times more than in Europe. The UK had the lowest average use of antibiotics among livestock with 27 milligrams per kilogram. In comparison, Denmark and France used 32 mg/kg and 41 mg/kg, respectively. US cattle producers topped the charts with an observed 162 mg/kg of antibiotic consumption on average.
The use of antibiotics is a widely accepted practice used to prevent the spread of disease in tight feedlots. At the same time, such a practice creates antibiotics overuse. Tetracyclines and macrolides are the main antibiotic groups given to cattle herds through their feed and drinking water. With antibiotics overuse, comes antibiotic resistance.
The development of antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. In simple terms, antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them. When this happens, the bacteria can continue to grow and multiply, causing infections that are difficult or impossible to treat.
Imagine you are training to be a professional fighter. When you first start working out, you’ll get fatigued quickly and won’t be able to train for extended periods. Day by day, your endurance and strength improve, and now you can sustain longer training sessions. Your body is slowly adapting to the new levels of stress it couldn’t before. The same mechanism is behind antibiotic resistance in Candida (6). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162425/ If you eat small amounts of antibiotics on a regular basis, the Candida in your body will learn to withstand these new levels. Over time, an individual will need to take more and more antibiotics to achieve the same results.
The problem of antibiotic resistance is compounded by the fact that new antibiotics are not being developed at the same rate as resistance is spreading. This is because developing new antibiotics is a very costly and time-consuming process. In addition, there is no guarantee that a new antibiotic will be effective against it.
To maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics, it’s best to limit your exposure to them by avoiding any possible sources and that includes meat raised with antibiotics and hormones.
Wild-caught seafood is preferable, especially when it comes to salmon. This is because farm-raised fish is fed antibiotics to prevent diseases, such as sea lice. It can also contain industrial chemicals, such as terephthalic acid (TPA) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (7). https://connect.uclahealth.org/2018/03/29/thinking-of-adding-more-fish-to-your-diet-consider-the-health-risks-of-farm-raised-seafood/#:~:text=Just%20as%20there%20are%20health,eat%20any%20prey%20they%20want.
If you’re on a budget and/or have limited seafood options, smaller fish like sardines or shrimp are your next best bet. You should avoid eating fish that are large in size, such as tuna or shark because they have higher levels of mercury. In fact, fish such as King Mackerel, Shark, Swordfish, and Tilefish are not recommended to be consumed due to the increased levels of mercury.
Eggs are another great source of healthy protein. Two eggs have 12 grams of protein. You can hard boil a bunch of them to last for several days. They are great for breakfast or as a snack.
If you are a vegetarian, your protein sources are pea protein, tofu, and quinoa, to name a few.
Eat Healthy Fats
Eating healthy fats reduces inflammation linked to Candidiasis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163673/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4323313/ Therefore, it is essential to include healthy fats in your diet to help get rid of the infection.
The four main types of healthy fats:
We want to focus on the first three categories of healthy fats, as transfats can have negative effects on health. Trans fats are often used in processed foods like pizza, margarine, crackers, and cookies.
PUFAs are found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. They’re also in flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and tofu.
Marine lipids, such as fish oils, have an inhibitory effect on Candida biofilms and biofilm biomass. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992994/
Adding an fish oil supplement to your diet can help to get rid of Candida, and get other health benefits derived from Omega-3.
MUFAs can be found in plant-based oils such as olive oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil. Nuts containing high levels of MUFAs include cashews, almonds, pistachios, macadamia, and hazelnuts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4424766/
Did you know that MUFAs can be found in animal fats? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550 For example, 100 grams of beef contain 11 grams of Monounsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are found in coconut oil, red meat, butter and ghee, and full-fat dairy products.
Researchers found that eating hard cheeses high in saturated fatty acids inhibits Candida and reduces Candida cultures. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31215785/
There are conflicting studies on the importance of limiting saturated fat intake from red meat. Some say that it increases the risk of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol or “bad cholesterol”, while others argue that it’s not a significant enough factor to warrant concern. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7113-6
The Candida Meal Plan is meant to be as nutritious as possible, it’s best to include a variety of healthy fats.
Another interesting fact is that eating healthy fats increases the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01995/full
SCFAs are a type of fat that’s produced when bacteria in the gut fermentation fiber. They’re important for gut health because they:
– Help keep the lining of the intestine healthy
– Reduce inflammation
– Suppress the growth of harmful bacteria (including Candida Yeast)
– Enhance immunity
Healthy fats also help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins (such as A, D, E, and K) and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. They prevent the vitamins from leaching out of your body and help maximize nutrient absorption necessary in removing Candida overgrowth at a healthy pace.
The Candida Meal Plan intentionally includes carbs in its macros, along with proteins and fats. Binging on carbs feeds Candida just as much, as consuming only proteins and fats. This is because Candida albicans can use ketones for energy. https://fatiguetoflourish.com/will-a-keto-diet-treat-candida-overgrowth/#:~:text=Because%20like%20us%2C%20candida%20species,make%20your%20candida%20overgrowth%20worse! You get ketones on a ketogenic diet. This diet is a high-fat, extremely low-carbohydrate diet that puts your body into a state of ketosis. When you’re in ketosis, your body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates and produces ketones.
Eat Low-Sugar Fruits
One of the most common treatments for candida is a strict diet that eliminates all sugars and reduces carbohydrates. While this may help to reduce the symptoms of candida, it can also lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Fruits that are low in sugar content can be very beneficial for those following a Candida-elimination diet. This is because these fruits provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber which are necessary for gut health.
In addition, lemons and limes contain limonene, a compound that has been shown to have antifungal activity against Candida albicans and Candida biofilm formation. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667031322000689#:~:text=Conclusion%3A%20Limonene%20binds%20to%20proteins,the%20management%20of%20invasive%20candidiasis.
Low-sugar fruits also contribute to satiety and help to prevent blood sugar spikes that can trigger candida overgrowth. Again, the key is to prevent any sudden increases in sugar intake for the duration of the Candida Meal Plan.
Additionally, fruits such as berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) are packed with antioxidants that can help to protect the body from damage caused by inflammation. Reducing inflammation is essential for bringing Candida levels downs.
So while it is important to limit your intake of high-sugar fruits like grapes and mangoes when following a Candida diet, there is no need to avoid all fruit entirely.
Some low-sugar fruit options include:
-Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
-Citrus fruits: lemons, limes, and grapefruits
Lemons and limes are extremely low in sugar and net carbs so they don’t need to be restricted.
-Stone fruits: plums, peaches, nectarines (Stone fruits are fruits that contain a large seed in the middle).
Here is the table of low-sugar fruits.
It is important to note that while these fruits are lower in sugar than other options, they should still be eaten in moderation as part of the Candida Meal Plan. Eaten in excess, even low-sugar fruits can contribute to bloating and candida overgrowth.
You can begin the Meal Plan with a two-week sugar cleanse by eliminating all sources of sugar from your diet. This includes fruits and foods with any added sugar, including alcohol sugars. After the two-week cleanse, you can start adding low-sugar fruits back into your diet in moderation. The mechanism behind this 2-week cleanse is to starve Candida of sugar, its’ primary food source. The less sugar is consumed, the less Candida grows.
Alcohol competes with Candida albicans in producing a toxic byproduct called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is created by the liver when it breaks down alcohol. The liver can quickly process and break down Acetaldehyde into acetate, which is then metabolized even further. Eventually, it leaves your body as dioxide and water. Hangover results when the liver can’t metabolize Acetaldehyde fast enough. The same Acetaldehyde is produced by Candida albicans as a byproduct of proliferation in your gut.
Consuming alcohol is more harmful if you have Candida Yeast Overgrowth because it creates excessive production of Acetaldehyde, which then puts too much strain on your liver. Your liver is already fighting to detox your body and get rid of the toxins from Candida albicans. Alcohol intake can make it even more difficult for your liver to do its job properly.
When you start the Candida Meal Plan, you will experience the Candida Die Off effect to a certain degree. During this phase, it’s especially important to eliminate any possible toxins and allow the body to detox and recover much faster. Remember, acetaldehyde is a toxin that negatively affects your health and hinders your body’s ability to recover.
Acetaldehyde can be harmful in several ways:
This byproduct of alcohol metabolism can cause inflammation and damage to hepatocytes, the main type of cell in the liver. This damage results in chronic liver diseases, such as Cirrhosis. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0246327#:~:text=Abstract,hepatocyte%20injury%2Dmediated%20lipid%20peroxidation.
Cirrhosis is a medical condition in which your liver has been severely scarred. Over time, healthy liver tissue is gradually replaced with scar tissue until the point where your liver can no longer function properly. Additionally, scar tissue buildup partially blocks the flow of blood which further hinders its ability to heal.
Causes Vitamin Deficiency https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23406661/
Acetaldehyde can bind to and break down B-complex vitamins, such as vitamin B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxamine), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin). These vitamins are essential for carbohydrate metabolism, and your energy levels, as well as brain function and cell metabolism. Vitamin B-complex deficiency leads to a wide range of symptoms, including lightheartedness, fatigue, irritability, depression, memory impairment, and depression.
These are two main reasons that directly impact your body’s ability to eliminate Candida Yeast Overgrowth. Additionally, acetaldehyde toxicity of causes oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Another reason to avoid drinking alcohol while on the Candida Meal Plan is the amount of added sugars found in most types of alcoholic beverages. While it’s important to keep the intake of all forms of sugar very low while you’re on the Candida Meal Plan, added sugars are especially problematic because they can feed the Candida yeast and cause an overgrowth.
Alcohol is a byproduct of fermentation, which occurs when yeast breaks down sugars and starches, so it’s made from sugar and starch. Some types of alcohol are very high both in sugar and calories. For example, wine generally can contain up to 20 grams of sugar per 2 oz serving. (https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-i-drink-alcohol-if-i-have-type-2-diabetes-1087730)A standard-sized bottle of wine contains 25.4 ounces or 750 milliliters of alcohol. Beer is another type of alcohol that generally contains a lot of added sugar.
Hard liquor generally doesn’t contain as much sugar as wine or beer, but some types are sweeter than others. For example, vodka that has been flavored with fruit juices or syrups can be high in sugar.
It is possible to find hard liquor that doesn’t have any sugars, for example vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum. However, these drinks can spike your blood sugar levels and then absolutely dip to low levels. It seems logical to think that low sugar levels are a good thing. There is such a thing as having too low blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia is a condition when blood sugar levels drop too low. The symptoms of hypoglycemia can be very serious and include blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, numbness, and confusion. If blood sugar stays low a little too long, it can cause seizures and coma.
The goal of the Candida Meal Plan is to maintain relatively stable blood sugar levels throughout the day so that Candida doesn’t have a chance to grow.
If you are set on drinking alcohol while on the Candida Meal Plan, a better choice is dry wine or hard liquor that has been diluted with water, seltzer, or an unsweetened mixer. Reserve drinking to 1-2 drinks per week.
When it comes to candida and dairy, there is some debate as to whether or not dairy products can contribute to the growth of candida or whether they can help to control it. Some research suggests that dairy may have a few benefits when it comes to candida. For example, yogurt and other fermented milk products contain lactic acid (probiotics), which can help to control the growth of Candida. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8404691/
However, other research suggests that dairy products may promote the growth of candida as they contain Lactose, a naturally-occurring form of sugar. Lactose adds up to 2-8 percent of the total volume of milk. Flavored dairy products, such as chocolate milk and fruity yogurts contain added sugars, which can contribute up to 39 grams of sugar per a 6-ounce serving. https://suffolktimes.timesreview.com/2010/10/health-column-how-much-sugar-is-in-your-yogurt/
Candida albicans can metabolize all types of sugar, but they are most partial to glucose and fructose. Lactose is made up of glucose and galactose, so it’s easy for the candida yeast to feast on when you consume dairy products.
Lactose intolerance could be another reason why dairy products should be limited on the Candida Meal Plan. Lactose intolerance is when your digestive system cannot break down lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products. According to the 2022 report, 1 in 20 people in the United States are allergic to cow’s milk (CMA). The CMA symptoms of these individuals were so severe that they required hospital visits. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9046619/ . In fact, as many as 65% of people have trouble digesting lactose found in dairy. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/lactose-intolerance/#:~:text=Approximately%2065%20percent%20of%20the,people%20affected%20in%20these%20communities.
You can be “slightly” lactose intolerant when you have low levels of lactase (digestive enzyme) and still be able to digest dairy products. The digestive symptoms of lactose intolerance can range from bloating and stomach rumbling to abdominal pain and diarrhea. Up to 20 percent of people have non-digestive symptoms, such as memory loss, tiredness, and joint pain. So you might have a low-grade lactose intolerance and not even notice it. Lactose intolerance is the reason for intestinal inflammation in some people. When you’re trying to heal your gut and get rid of candida, the last thing you want is more intestinal inflammation.
So what’s the bottom line? It’s best it restrict consuming most of dairy products at least for the first month of the Candida meal plan, especially if you suspect to be lactose intolerant. You can also try low-lactose, low- to no sugar options such as butter, hard cheese, plain greek yogurt, kefir, and sour cream to get benefiticial probiotics. You can also supplement with dairy free probiotics.
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It’s what makes dough elastic and pliable, and allows bread to rise. Gluten is made of two proteins – gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is an activating protein for zonulin, which in turn sets off the body’s inflammatory response. Zonulin is a body’s response to gluten. When someone consumes gluten-containing foods, their body responds with an autoimmune inflammation. Such a reaction can cause damage to the intestines and increase gut permeability. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16635908/
Gut permeability, also known as “leaky gut,” occurs when there are spaces between the cells in the intestines. These spaces allow toxins, bacteria, and other harmful substances to enter the bloodstream. In a healthy gut, these spaces are tightly regulated. But in someone with an increased gut permeability, the spaces between the cells become larger. This allows harmful substances to enter the bloodstream, where they can cause a variety of problems. The last thing you want is to allow Candida leach out of your gut and into your bloodstream.
Candida overgrowth is often associated with gluten intolerance. This is because Candida Albicans is made of HWP1 proteins, which are very similar to gliadin, one of the gluten’s main proteins. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673603136951 The body attacks both Candida and gluten in a very similar way, which results in amplified gut inflammation. Eventually, these constant attacks by the immune system create gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. The longer you have Candida Overgrowth, the greater your chance of developing an autoimmune condition like Celiac disease.
Once you eliminate Candida Yeast Overgrowth, your immune system can tolerate gluten-rich foods once again. This is because of the proteins that make up Candida Albicans are no longer present to provoke an immune response. However, it is important to note that some people with gluten intolerance may not be able to eat gluten-containing foods even after they have eliminated their Candida overgrowth. This is because the damage to their gut lining may be too severe. In this case, it is necessary to heal the gut before reintroducing gluten-containing foods.
Drinking coffee while trying to eliminate Candida Overgrowth can be counterproductive despite multiple health benefits. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28675917/
A study published in 2011 has indicated that the fact of drinking coffee itself can increase an inflammatory response in your gut. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2011/fo/c1fo10055f
Another study concluded that coffee may damage the gut lining, which can lead to the “leaky gut” syndrome. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15841908/ This is particularly important when you are trying to rid your body of Candida because inflammation is one of the main drivers of Candida Overgrowth.
In addition, coffee and teas contain tannins which can increase the production of stomach acid. High stomach acids are very damaging to the gut lining. They can lead to acid reflux, heartburn, and even peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers are sores that form when gastric acid causes too much damage to the lining of either the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine.
Coffee also has high levels of mold which can further irritate your gut and contribute to candida overgrowth. In particular, mycotoxins were found in roasted and green coffee beans. Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by fungi. Some could be used for beneficial purposes, while others can have detrimental health effects. The most common mycotoxins found in coffee are aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A. They cause health toxicity and are potent human carcinogens. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27746326/ Although 70-80 percent of mycotoxins are eliminated when coffee beans are roasted (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7451391/), there is still potential for trace amounts to remain in store-bought beans.
To avoid potential exposure to allergens, it’s recommended that you consume coffee and tea in moderation, limiting intake to 1-2 cups a day. Note that it’s best to drink coffee after breakfast.
Eat Probiotic Foods
The other components of the Candida Meal Plan focus on anti-inflammation and removal of common Candida triggers; while eating probiotic foods strengthens gut health and balances the gut flora.
Probiotics are a type of dietary fiber that act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of them, and most of them are beneficial. Probiotics help keep your gut healthy by maintaining the right balance of good and bad bacteria.
Probiotic foods contain Lacid Acid which is effective in helping to treat and prevent Candida overgrowth for a few reasons. First, they crowd out bad bacteria, including Candida albicans—the actual fungus that leads to an infection. Second, they help to restore the mucous lining in the gut which keeps candida from penetrating the intestinal wall and causing problems elsewhere in the body. As mentioned before in the Avoid Gluten section, gut permeability is a severe health problem that can intensify Candida Overgrowth and make the condition more widespread.
Lactic acid is a natural acidic compound that is produced when milk is fermented. The most beneficial and common strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Probiotic foods also contain Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is a type of yeast that is commonly used in baking and brewing. This strain of yeast is different from the Candida albicans fungus, and it works to fight off “bad bacteria”, including Candida. The research has shown that Saccharomyces cerevisiae is effective in the treatment of Candidiasis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5354225/
Probiotic-rich foods are yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, olives, aged cheeses, kefir, and natto.
When choosing a yogurt, look for one that contains live cultures. This is because some brands may heat process their yogurt, which can kill the beneficial probiotics. The label should indicate what probiotics are in the product. Some brands will mention that the yogurt contains “Live Cultures” and/ or “Active Cultures” on the packaging. Avoid yogurts that contain artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or preservatives.
When it comes to choosing fermented foods, such as pickles, kimchi or olives, choose the ones that are lacto-fermented. This means that they were fermented with lactic acid-producing bacteria, rather than vinegar. Nowadays, many brands prefer to find shortcuts to creating a product in order to save time and use white vinegar and citric acid to speed up the process. While this does create a pickle, kimchi, or olive, it lacks the probiotic benefits of Lacto-fermentation. When purchasing these types of foods, check the label to make sure that it says “Lacto-fermented” and that no vinegar was used in the fermentation process.
You have a higher chance of finding truly fermented pickles or olives in your local deli. This is because they generally prepare their pickles in smaller batches or use traditional methods of pickling. You can also make your own pickles or kimchi at home using just water and salt.
The same goes for olives. Not all mass-produced olives are fermented. For example, canned Black Olives are not fermented but cured in a lye solution to remove bitterness. This process takes about a week and they are ready.
Aged cheeses, such as cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan, are also good sources of probiotics. Look for cheeses that are labeled “raw” or “unpasteurized”, as these have the most live and active cultures. Avoid processed cheeses, as they are typically made with pasteurized milk and lack beneficial probiotics.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains live cultures of yeast and bacteria. It has a tart, slightly sour taste and can be enjoyed plain or flavored. Kefir can be made at home using milk and kefir grains or purchased pre-made at the store.
Probiotic-rich foods often contain prebiotics as well. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. In other words, they help to keep the probiotics alive and healthy. Common prebiotics includes chicory root, garlic, leeks, and asparagus. A study published in 2016 has shown that probiotics taken together with prebiotics are an effective tool against oral Candida infections. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00010/full
While not directly a probiotic food itself, bone broth promotes the growth of probiotics and strengthens the gut lining. It is rich in collagen, which helps to heal the gut and reduce inflammation. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10825688/ It also contains minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are essential for gut health.
Bone broth can be made at home using bones from chicken, beef, or fish. It can also be purchased pre-made at the store. Since bones tend to accumulate the most toxins, it is important to make sure that they are from pasture-raised and organic animals.
Eat Antifungal Foods
The Candida Meal Plan is aimed to both lessen inflammation and remove triggers that could promote Candida Yeast Overgrowth. Foods that are naturally high in probiotics can help improve gut flora by crowding out Candida yeast and repopulating the gut with beneficial gut bacteria. Antifungal foods, on the other hand, can break down protective biofilms surrounding Candida cells and make it easier to reduce their growth.
This is especially relevant for long-term Candidiasis sufferers who have a higher chance of developing Candida biofilms. Candida Biofilms are a slimy surface layer of cells that protect the yeast from antifungals and the body’s immune system. When present, candida biofilms act as a shield against antifungal drugs and the body’s immune response.
There are prescription grade antifungals, such as Nystatin and Diflucan, which are effective against Candida Biofilms, but they can come with a range of side effects. These side effects are often so severe that they become the reason why many people turn to natural antifungal foods and supplements as the first line of defense against candidiasis.
In addition, antifungal drugs can cause antifungal resistance in Candida cells. This means that the yeast can become more resistant to treatment over time, making Candidiasis more difficult to manage in the long term. While Candida albicans is the most common strain found in among candida infections, other Candida strains have shown to have become highly resistant to prescription antifungals. For example, Candida Glabrata has had consistently high levels of resistance to fluconazole (Diflucan) for the past 20 years. Whereas, Candida Auris, while rare, is 90 percent resistant to fluconazole. This is especially concerning because C.auris is difficult to identify and spreads easily in healthcare facilities like hospitals and long-term care. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/antifungal-resistant.html#:~:text=Antifungal%20resistance%20is%20an%20increasing,to%20the%20antifungal%20drug%20fluconazole.
Natural antifungal foods, on the other hand, are generally safe to consume and do not cause drug resistance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459460/
Studies have shown that certain plant-based compounds can be very effective in breaking down Candida biofilm formations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5628516/ These plant-based antifungals are found in foods, such as coconut oil, olive oil, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon.
Digestive enzymes are not direct antifungals, but they can be effective in breaking down Candida biofilms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7766206/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2044512/ Digestive enzymes are a type of protein that acts as a catalyst in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
While there are many different types of enzymes, some of the most effective against candida are proteolytic enzymes, which break down proteins. Proteolytic enzymes are found in fermented foods, such as miso and olives, as well as in raw foods ginger and papaya.
There are many digestive enzymes commercially available in a supplement form that contain the same compounds found in the food, only in larger doses. If you have indigestion or if you find it difficult to digest fatty foods and proteins, digestive enzyme supplements can help improve the digestive process.