Candida goes by a lot of names: systemic candidiasis, yeast syndrome, and dysbiosis, to name a few. It is a complicated condition that involves an overgrowth of yeast in the body, which can lead to systemic health problems. Many people with candida feel "sick all over" and are hard pressed to find any sort of diagnosis from their doctors. The three most common symptoms of candida are fatigue, headaches and depression, but there can be numerous other symptoms. If you believe you might have an overgrowth of candida, consult an health care practitioner. An anti-candida diet may also help.
Importance of Diet
According to Elson M. Hass, M.D., in his book “Staying Healthy with Nutrition,” in order to treat candida successfully the first and most important step is to stop feeding the yeast the foods that they thrive upon. Following a candida diet diligently is absolutely necessary, and you will probably have to make major changes to your eating habits and have the willpower to stick with them. Start by first getting rid of everything that contains sugar in any form. Take a look at the ingredient list of the foods in your cupboards and refrigerator, and discard anything that contains the ingredients listed below.
Foods to Avoid
Sugar in its many forms can be called brown sugar, white sugar, powdered sugar, fruit sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, fructose, dextrose, galactose, glucose, glycogen, lactose, maltose, mannitol, monosaccharies, polysaccharides, sorbitol, sucanat, molasses, date sugar, turbinado sugar, and sucrose. You should also eliminate artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. All milk products contain naturally occurring milk sugars that will also feed the yeast. If you do require a sweetener, the only one considered safe for candida is stevia.
In addition to avoiding all forms of sugar, you need to also avoid packaged foods, processed meats, mushrooms, leftovers, alcohol, most sauces and condiments, including all vinegars and soy sauce, pickled vegetables, flour, cheese, and breads.
There is a lot of disagreement when it comes to the consumption of fruit, with some people arguing that in moderation fruit is perfectly okay and others saying it has to be avoided altogether. You may want to avoid fruit for the first three weeks and then limit yourself to just one serving a day.
Foods to Eat Sparingly
With so many foods that you cannot eat, you may be wondering what exactly you are allowed on the candida diet. Foods that are allowed in moderation include high-carbohydrate vegetables such as potatoes and squash; whole grains such as brown rice, oats and legumes; and grain alternatives such as buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth. The above foods, like fruit, are controversial, however, and some experts believe that these too should be eliminated. This is a judgment call you will have to make for yourself, but if eating a serving a day of the above food is going to make the diet easier to follow, then you might want to do so. You don’t want to risk feeling deprived and giving up all together.
Foods to Eat Freely
You can eat as much as you want of all vegetables except potato and squash, nuts and seeds, eggs, meats, fish, butter, poultry, lemon and cold pressed oils. Try to include a lot of garlic as well because it is an antifungal and according to Dr. Hass it has been shown to kill off yeast. Finally, you may want to buy some cold pressed coconut oil and use it freely. Coconut oil contains the well known antifungal ingredient caprylic acid. Dr. Hass says that caprylic acid interferes with both the growth and reproduction of candida and may be effective in reducing intestinal yeast.
The above diet may seem overwhelming, but if you are suffering with candida, ask yourself what is worse: a temporarily restricted diet or living the rest of your life with the candida health symptoms? You can find many candida forums and recipes online, and if you choose to embark on the candida diet you would be well advised to check them out. The Atkins diet is quite similar to the candida diet, and many Atkins recipes may be used as well. By experimenting with new recipes, you will not get bored, and the variety may make it easier and more enjoyable for you to follow the candida diet.
- Nature's Own Candida Cure; William G. Crook, M.D.
- Staying Healthy with Nutrition; Elson M. Hass, M.D.