A fungus may be the reason you experience chronic sinus infections, eczema, depression, general malaise and bloating and gas. An overgrowth of the yeast candida, which occurs naturally in small amounts in your mouth and intestines, can make you downright sick. Overproduction of it gets into your bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts that diminish your immunity. Your diet may feed this yeast or other fungal infections, so that your symptoms continue to multiply -- leading to toenail fungus, thrush and vaginal yeast infections. To fight fungus, choose a diet free of sugar, including simple carbohydrates and alcohol, and focus on other healing foods.
Foods That Feed Fungus
Simple sugars give fungus, yeast or otherwise, the energy it needs to thrive. This includes foods with obvious added sugar, such as soft drinks, pastries, cookies, cakes and ice cream, as well as foods that wouldn't seem to have added sugars, but do. Examples of such products are spaghetti sauce, some peanut butter, mayonnaise, salad dressings and frozen dinners. Simple carbohydrates, such as those in white bread and rice, can also feed a fungus, as can foods with edible mold or yeast prevalent -- including soy sauce, overripe fruits and vegetables, leavened bread, blue cheese, malt extract and dried fruit.
What to Eat
Your diet free of sugar and simple carbohydrates starves the yeast, but you still need to eat. Opt for organic meats, wild salmon and cruciferous vegetables. The omega-3 fatty acids in 100 percent grass-fed beef and salmon help heal your body from inflammation and make it strong to fight the fungal infection. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants that also promote solid immunity.
Most condiments are off the table, literally, so consider how you can make your more limited diet tasty. Lemon juice adds an acidic bite and can be help your liver. Phytochemicals in citrus seeds also have potent anti-microbial properties. Garlic, especially when eaten raw, boosts the immune system and is rich in allicin, which has anti-fungal compounds. Cloves, cinnamon and ginger also have properties that help fight fungal infections and bolster your immune system. Oregano has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Use the fresh or dried herb in cooking and seek out oil of oregano, which may help your fight.
Additional Foods to Include
Coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal; use it for cooking, add it to smoothies or take it straight. Foods with probiotics -- such as organic, raw sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir -- load your system up with healthy bacteria that crowds out the candida and helps put your gut back into balance. If you don't see any resolution of your symptoms after dietary changes, consult with your physician. In some cases, fungal overgrowth is so stubborn that you'll need anti-fungal medication.
- Dr. Hyman: Is Hidden Fungus Making You Ill?
- Chris Kresser: RHR: Top 4 Mistakes People Make When Treating Candida Overgrowth
- Journal of Medicinal Food: In Vitro Antimicrobial Properties of Coconut Oil on Candida Species in Ibadan, Nigeria
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fungal Infections
- Columbia University: Yogurt for Yeast Infections?
- PubMed Health: Candidiasis
- The New York Times: Remedies: Garlic for Athlete’s Foot