The candida diet aims to reduce the amount of yeast -- and nutrients that “feed” yeast -- in the foods that you eat. Candida refers to Candida albicans, the fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections. Some people have a condition called chronic candidiasis or yeast hypersensitivity syndrome, which involves an overgrowth of candida in the gastrointestinal tract. Soy doesn’t appear to aggravate or help candidiasis. Consult your doctor before beginning a candida diet.
The candida diet excludes foods that contain yeast or mold, such as cheeses, dried fruits, alcohol and peanuts, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Mushrooms, breads made with baker’s yeast, tomato paste and beer are all eliminated as well, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The diet also eliminates or limits the amount of foods you eat that contain sugar and milk, such as sweets and dairy products, because these nutrients are thought to “feed” yeast and promote its growth.
Soy isn’t listed among the foods that either contain yeast or “feed” yeast. But certain types of soy products could fall into one of the two categories. For example, fermented tofu or soy products that contain sugars for flavoring would be banned under the candida diet. Additionally, keep in mind that adding certain foods such as yogurts containing probiotic cultures and fish or nuts that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids could actually help in treating candidiasis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Certain spices such as oregano, cloves, sage, garlic and cinnamon may offer antifungal actions, while whole grains are a rich source of B-complex vitamins.
Certain dietary supplements could help to support a candida diet as well. For example, supplements of essential fatty acids such as fish oil, probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins C and E, selenium, calcium, and B-complex vitamins can all help to support your immune system and reduce inflammation, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Caprylic acid and bee propolis may also offer antifungal actions. Digestive supplements such as betaine hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes could help prevent candida from penetrating the small intestine, says the University of Michigan Health System. Talk with your physician before taking any supplements along with a candida diet.
Taking antibiotics can worsen candidiasis, because antibiotics tend to kill the beneficial bacteria in your intestines that control candida growth, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you have candidiasis, limit your use of antibiotics and explore other options with your doctor whenever possible. Avoiding the use of birth control pills and corticosteroids may also prevent or lessen candida overgrowth in your body, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition to a candida diet, conventional treatments for candidiasis typically include antifungal medications, ranging from oral tablets, mouth rinses, vaginal suppositories and topical creams.
Talk with your physician and a registered dietitian before you begin a candida diet or make any other significant dietary changes. Although soy doesn’t appear to promote candida growth, you might experience certain symptoms if you have an allergy to soy and soy products. Also, keep in mind that over-the-counter supplements can cause side effects, health risks and drug interactions, just like prescription drugs. Discuss these potential dangers with your doctor before taking any supplements.