Peruse the internet and you will find several websites that advise those with yeast infections to stick to a diet that is low in carbohydrates and low in yeast. These earnest but misguided sites have it only half right. If you suffer from a recurrent or chronic yeast infection, you should reduce carbohydrates to help gain control of the unwelcome colonists. However, eliminating yeast in foods serves no useful purpose.
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Yeast is an invasive, single-cell organism, a form of fungi that takes up residence throughout your body. It especially likes warm, moist habitats, like your mouth, intestinal tract, skin and nails. If you’re a woman, it can also thrive in the vagina. Given the right conditions, yeast reproduce quickly. Normally your body’s immune system keeps yeast populations low. However, if your immune system is stressed or compromised, yeast can overwhelm your body’s defenses and establish colonies. Most yeast infections involve some form of candida yeast.
The symptoms of yeast infection vary depending on the type of infection. A white, cheesy discharge, itching and soreness occur with a vaginal yeast infection. Yeast skin infections, which usually occur in moist areas of the body such as in the groin or under folds of skin, present as a rash. Yeast infections of the mouth or throat, referred to as thrush, present as patches of white. Yeast under your nails appears as white or yellow discoloring and can cause your nail to separate from the plate. Yeast infections of the intestinal tract can cause bloating, gas, heartburn, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, persistent coating of the tongue, canker sores in the mouth, food intolerances and anal burning.
Yeast feed on sugar. Since, according to MSNBC, the average American consumes about 84 lbs. of sugar a year, yeast usually have plenty to eat. Sugars or simple carbohydrates, which are transformed into blood glucose after digestion, keep your yeast well-fed. Deprive yeast of their food, and their population will dwindle to the point where your immune system can keep them in check.
Low and Slow Carbs
Eliminate high-carb foods and stick to foods that are either low in carbohydrates or that contain carbs that are digested slowly. Slow-release foods, usually referred to as low-glycemic foods, have long digestion periods, so glucose reaches your bloodstream at a rate that allows for efficient breakdown of the glucose. Foods to avoid include high-carb, high-glycemic fare, such as sugar, sweets, foods with added sugar or sweeteners, processed flour, white flour or white rice pastas, breads, pastries, coconut, dairy products, soft drinks, sweetened yogurt and ketchup.
Eat low- and slow-carb foods to obtain proper nutrition without feeding your yeast. Include in your diet complex carbohydrates such as salad greens and cooked greens, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, green pepper, lettuce, onion, peas and tomatoes. Good bacteria, such as is found in yogurts with active cultures, attack and eliminate yeast, so feel free to eat this higher-carb dairy product so long as you eat unsweetened yogurt or you sweeten the yogurt yourself with stevia or vegetable glycerine. You can eat moderate amounts of whole-grain products such as brown rice, whole-grain bread and whole-grain pasta because these foods are low-glycemic.
Proponents of low-yeast diets for the treatment of yeast infection neglect the important fact that foods with yeast, such as whole-wheat bread, rolls and other bakery items, contain an entirely different kind of yeast than candida albicans, the kind that creates infections in your body. Yeast you consume does not cause yeast infections. Likewise brewers yeast and edible fungi, such as button, maitake or shiitake mushrooms, do not cause or exacerbate yeast infections. It is true that some foods with yeast such as wine or beer should be avoided, but that is because they also contain sugar or simple carbs. Also, if you are allergic or sensitive to foods containing yeast, you should avoid them to minimize stress to your immune systems.