Phase 1 of the Candida Diet

The candida diet plan stage 1 is the detoxification phase, which lasts for a few days to a week. Methods differ, but it can consist mainly of eating salads and steamed vegetables. After this initial phase, the main phase that includes a somewhat broader food variety begins.

Vegetable juice is the first part of the candida diet. (Image: kirin_photo/iStock/GettyImages)

Candida Diet Week 1

Pennina Yasharpour, RDN, LDN, of Dickinson College writes that candida diets usually start with detoxification. Methods may involve a fast, a colon cleansing, a vegetable juice cleanse or a vegetable diet. Research shows no proof of the safety and efficacy of detox plans.

Candida diet foods to eat in stage 1 may vary with the plan. One version includes the following: nonstarchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, organic eggs, herbs, spices and healthy oils.

Examples of nonstarchy vegetables include asparagus, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, rutabaga, zucchini, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts. Fruits allowed are lemons, limes, avocados and olives. Oils include coconut oil and olive oil.

Candida Diet Main Phase

The main phase of candida diets advocates eliminating simple sugars and low-fiber carbohydrates like white bread, because proponents say the fungus thrives on these foods. Also excluded are foods that contain yeast, such as beer, baked goods, vinegar, mushrooms and wine. In addition, the eating plans calls for minimizing caffeine and avoiding certain dairy products and gluten.

Candida diets include a range of nutritious foods. They often center around nonstarchy vegetables. Fruits that are low or relatively low in natural sugars are part of the plans. Examples are lemons, limes, apples, pears, berries and avocados.

Proteins are another component of the diets. Acceptable choices are eggs and fish varieties with less heavy metal contamination. Vegetarians on the diets can get protein from nuts, quinoa and beans such as garbanzo beans or lentils.

Some candida diets include fermented foods that contain active cultures, examples of which are yogurt and sauerkraut. Kefir, kimchi, pickles and olives are also encouraged. The diets may recommend taking probiotic supplements.

Fats are included. Permissible fat sources are olive oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee.

An additional tenet of candida diets is eating organic foods to avoid pesticides. The eating plans also advise the consumption of foods that don't have preservatives and artificial ingredients. Drinking lots of water is encouraged.

For breakfast, followers of the diets are told to shun cereals because they are high in sugar and artificial ingredients and low in nutrition. Allowed breakfasts on the diets may consist of eggs, plain yogurt, an almond milk smoothie or gluten-free waffles.

Examples of lunches and dinners are baked salmon with vegetables, a chicken with salad dish or entrees made solely of vegetables. Snacks could be muffins made of gluten-free flour such as buckwheat or quinoa.

Candida Diet Safety and Efficacy

Complementary medicine practitioners say common maladies like tiredness and poor memory stem from the overgrowth of candida in the intestines. Their recommended treatment of a candida diet involves eliminating foods they believe feed the fungus, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Scientific literature offers little evidence that dietary changes can reduce the fungal infection. No clinical trials on record have proven the efficacy of a candida cleanse diet for any medical problem.

Many people report an improvement in symptoms when they follow a candida diet. However, doctors attribute this to the exchange of low-nutrition foods for high-nutrition foods. Instead of ascribing the positive effects to a reduction in the growth of yeast in the gut, doctors believe they're due to eating a higher quality diet, notes the Mayo Clinic.

Since the diet is very restrictive, it may cause nutrient deficiencies that can make a difference in health, warns Pennina Yasharpour, Dickinson College. To illustrate, people with weakened immunity may not get the nutrients their immune system needs to fight infections.

Sometimes people may mistakenly feel that they have a candida infection when they actually have a gluten sensitivity. Once the gluten is removed from the diet, they feel better.

What Exactly Is Candida?

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida species of yeasts. Hundreds of species may cause an infection, but the most common are due to Candida albicans, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The microbe, found in the skin, gut, vagina, mouth and throat, usually doesn't cause symptoms, but it can produce an infection if it grows.

A candida infection of the mouth and throat is called thrush, while an infection of the vagina is termed a yeast infection. If candida enters the bloodstream and affects the brain, heart or kidneys, it's referred to as invasive candidiasis, says the CDC.

Candida Symptoms and Treatment

Thrush may manifest as white patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of mouth and throat, notes the CDC. Other symptoms may include redness, loss of taste, pain when eating and a cotton-like feeling in the mouth. People who wear dentures or have diabetes or cancer are particularly at risk.

A prevention measure for thrush is maintaining good oral hygiene. Treatment of mild to moderate infections involves the application of an antifungal medication to the inside of the mouth for seven to 14 days. Intravenous administration of an antifungal drug may be necessary for severe infections.

Symptoms of vaginal candidiasis include vaginal soreness or itching, discomfort when urinating, pain during sexual intercourse and an abnormal vaginal discharge, notes the CDC. Pregnant women and those who use contraceptives, as well as women with weakened immunity, have a heightened risk.

Wearing cotton underwear may reduce the risk of a yeast infection. Antibiotics may increase the likelihood, so take them only when prescribed by a doctor. The common treatment for a vaginal yeast infection is an antifungal medication applied inside the vagina or taken by mouth.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Candida

Preliminary research suggests that apple cider vinegar may help fight a candida infection. A study published in the Journal of Prosthodontics in June 2015 tested the effects of the vinegar on gum tissue inflammation related to denture use. Although the study didn't involve humans, its conclusion merits notice. Researchers said the vinegar displayed antifungal properties that could make it a therapeutic possibility for patients with this type of gum infection.

A case report featured in _Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine _in December 2017 described a woman diagnosed with a candida vaginal infection who didn't respond to integrative treatments. She recovered after treatment with apple cider vinegar. The report involves a single person, but is worth mentioning because the authors said apple cider vinegar is an alternative treatment that can be used when patients don't respond to traditional therapies.

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