Although it may not sound too nice, every one of us has a type of yeast called Candida albicans living in our gut and mouth. Candida may overgrow when the delicate balance of flora in our gastrointestinal tract is disturbed, breaking down the intestinal wall and releasing a bunch of harmful byproducts into the bloodstream.
This can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Typically these include bloating, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome. Besides digestive issues, candida can also cause fatigue, sugar cravings, skin complaints, and fungal infections. Worse still, it may even affect our ability to think clearly, causing brain fog, anxiety and depression.
What is the Anti-Candida Diet?
Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates has been linked to candida. As such, one of the basic premises of the anti-candida diet is that you can starve the yeast by cutting out certain carbohydrates.
Several versions of the anti-candida diet have been published. In short, you need to eliminate sugar in any form, fruits, root and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. You should also avoid products made from wheat, rye, oats, barley and white rice. It’s also important to stop having caffeinated drinks, which spikes the blood sugar, and alcohol.
Instead, your diet will be composed of meat (except pork), fish, eggs, most nuts, seeds and vegetables, non-glutinous grains, and probiotic diary foods.
It is important to write down what you are eating along with any symptoms, as you may notice certain reactions to different foods.
Pros of the anti-candida diet
Carefully following the anti-candida diet can rid your body of the candida overgrowth and many of the health issues you’ve been experiencing. As such, you’re likely to feel well, energetic, and a new mental clarity.
Although the primary aim of the anti-candida diet is not weight loss, many people report losing weight. This may be because they are paying much more attention to what they are eating and eliminating sugar, which has little nutritional value.
This diet doesn’t ask you to count calories, and there is a large variety of foods that you can eat freely.
You may learn a lot about yourself and your cravings as you cut out certain foods. In keeping a food journal, it may become apparent that you crave sweet foods in times of stress, or when you are unhappy. These are separate issues to address.
Cons of the anti-candida diet
If you’ve been eating a diet high in carbohydrates, this can be a dramatic change. The diet is more of a lifestyle whereby you do not start eating sugars again once the candida has gone. This may involve giving up your favorite foods and drinks.
A few days into the diet, you may experience unpleasant side effects such as skin breakouts, sweating and headaches. These are caused by the candida dying off and releasing toxins. However, these symptoms don’t last long and in fact are evidence that the diet is working.
Avoiding sugar takes dedication, as it appears in many foods, even those labelled as savory or healthy. The anti-candida diet takes a commitment to preparing fresh meals from unprocessed foods, which can be time-consuming.
Socially it may be difficult to decline food and drink which is prohibited on the diet, seeing as sugary food and alcohol are often served at celebrations. You may not want to tell people you are on an anti-candida diet, either. Practice saying, ‘No’ and have ready your excuses. Be polite but firm.
Although following a diet low in sugars may help, it is important to look closely at other lifestyle factors. High levels of stress, taking oral contraceptives, and antibiotics have also been shown to promote candida overgrowth.
Depending on the severity of your candida, you may want to consult your doctor regarding anti-fungal medications and supplements.
For more information, check out:
Ann Boroch, (2015).The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health: The 90-Day Program to Beat Candida and Restore Vibrant Health, New Revised Edition. Quintessential Healing Publishing, Inc.