Candida Diet: The Foods & Supplements to Eat (and Avoid) to Treat Candida

Candida diet - Dr. Axe

When it’s at proper levels in the body, candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion. But when candida overproduces, watch out! It can then become a serious concern that causes a wide variety of negative and serious health problems and may force you to search for a candida diet.

A yeast-free candida diet is one of the best ways to reduce and eliminate candida symptoms, but what exactly do you need to eliminate from your diet? Read on and I’ll tell you exactly what to take out of your diet and what to add in to get rid of candida for good! 


The Candida Diet

Candidiasis, commonly referred to as “candida,” is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. Possible symptoms are comprise a true laundry list ranging from bad breath to persistent heartburn to arthritis. Due to its many and varied symptoms, candida is often ignored, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

If you have candida or know someone who does, the good news is that there are many candida natural treatments. The main natural treatment is a change in your diet to discourage the overgrowth of yeast. Before embarking on your new diet, though, it’s a good idea to start with a candida cleanse to help rid the body of excess candida through the flushing of the digestive tract.

You have two options for a cleanse: a liquids-only cleanse or a more gentle cleanse with food. You can also start with the step one cleanse and then move to the step two cleanse.

Cleansing Step 1: Liquids-Only Candida Cleanse (Duration 1–2 Days)

Start by making a vegetable broth from organic onions, garlic, celery, kale, sea salt and pure water. Let simmer and strain. Discard the vegetables and refrigerate the broth.

Throughout the day, sip on warm broth. It’s imperative that you drink lots of water to help your body expel all the toxins in your system. While this is not a long-term cleanse, it can be repeated as needed every few weeks. It can also be used as a jump-start to the food cleanse below.

Cleansing Step 2: Steamed Vegetables (Duration 3–5 Days)

By eliminating grains, sugars, fruits, starches and alcohol from your diet for three to five days, you can make great headway in your fight against candida overgrowth.

You should mostly eat fresh, organic vegetables that have been steamed. For this cleanse stage, keep away from any starchy vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes and white potatoes, which may contribute to sugar levels and feed the candida. Continue to drink plenty of pure water, a minimum of 72 ounces per day, to help flush the candida and byproducts from your system.

During this time, no more than once a day, you can eat salads made from leafy greens (like romaine) or bitter greens (like chard) and topped with just a bit of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice).

During either of the candida cleanses above, you can use bentonite clay to help surround the toxins and efficiently remove them from your system.

Once you’re done with the cleansing stage, you can then move on to an antifungal diet that doesn’t just discourage candida — it helps your body get rid of candida for good! Here are the dietary steps I recommend to have you on the path to being candida-free:

Diet Step 1: Remove the Problem Foods

First and foremost, you need to continue to remove the foods from your diet that literally feed the candida and encourage it to flourish in your body. The top offenders include sugar, white flour, yeast and alcohol. These items are believed to promote candida overgrowth. If you avoid eating sugar and white flour, then you will easily cut out most processed foods, which tend to be higher in calories and unhealthy ingredients and low in nutrition.

Avoiding sugar in all of its various forms is truly key to fighting candida. The candida yeast cells need sugar to build their cell walls, expand their colonies and switch into their more virulent, fungal form. This is why a low-sugar diet is such a necessary part of your candida treatment. If you need some help, here’s how to kick your sugar addiction.

Going forward, you want your diet to be centered on vegetables, high-quality protein foods, and gluten-free grains like brown rice and millet. Avoiding fruit at this time is also commonly recommended because even though fruit is very healthy, it does get turned into sugar in the body.

In terms of vegetables, you also want to avoid these somewhat sweet, starchy varieties: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, peas and parsnips. These vegetables are banned from a strict anti-candida diet because of their high carbohydrate content, but they’re certainly nutrient-dense and can be reintroduced later on in your treatment.

Diet Step 2: Up the Intake of Candida Killers & Boost Your Immune System

You want to make sure you include the items from my top 10 list below on a daily basis, including apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, green veggies and green drinks, coconut oil, Manuka honey, garlic, ground chia and flaxseeds, unsweetened cranberry juice, cultured dairy, as well as spices like turmeric and cinnamon.

How long do I need to eat like this? 

In order to have success with the candida diet, it will take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It really depends on the individual and a few key variables:

  • how strictly you follow this diet
  • the intake and effectiveness of probiotics and antifungals
  • the severity of your candida

Diet Step 3: Reintroducing Off-Limit Foods

Once you’re free of your candida symptoms and the candida itself, then what? As I’m sure you guessed, going back to your old habits and ways of eating will likely just bring the candida back all over again. However, you can gradually reintroduce certain foods into your new candida diet.

Low-sugar fruits like green apples are a great example of a smart choice. If the reintroduced foods don’t cause flare-ups of candida symptoms, you can move on to reintroducing more foods that you have been avoiding. I recommend doing this reintroduction slowly and one item at a time.


Top Candida Diet Foods

Here are some of the foods you should eat on the candida diet.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

The acid and enzymes in apple cider vinegar help to kill and get rid of excess yeast in the body. (1)

2. Sauerkraut & Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi contain microflora that help protect the intestines. Regular consumption can help improve the immune system, making the body less hospitable for candida. (2)

3. Green Veggies & Green Drinks

Leafy green vegetables help alkalize the body, which fights against the acidic nature of yeast overgrowth. Greens contain no sugars but high amounts of magnesium that naturally detox the body, vitamin C to build the immune system, chlorophyll to cleanse the body, B vitamins to energize the body and iron to give the body full support. (3)

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and the combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil kills off harmful candida through ingestion and topical application. (4)

5. Stevia

We know that sugar feeds candida. That’s why it’s important to use different sweeteners, and stevia is the perfect choice for those on a candida diet. Not only is stevia an antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic agent, but also helps balance the pancreas, which is often comprised when someone has candida. (5)

6. Garlic

Garlic contains a large number of sulphur-containing compounds that have extremely potent, broad-spectrum antifungal properties. Raw garlic benefits the fight against candida specifically. (6)

7. Ground Flaxseeds & Chia Seeds

Polyphenols found in flaxseeds and chia seeds support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body. (7)

 

Candida Diet Foods to Eat & Avoid - Dr.Axe

 

8. Unsweetened Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice without added sugar helps to correct the pH levels of urine, helping to prevent the overgrowth of fungi like candida. (8)

9. Cultured Dairy

Having cultured dairy, preferably goat milk kefir, for healthy probiotic foods can effectively kill the candida in your system and increase your healthy flora. (9)

10. Spices like Turmeric & Cinnamon

Turmeric contains an active component called curcumin that has been shown to completely inhibit the growth of Candida Albicans (as well as lots of other fungal strains). (10) Cinnamon can heal oral thrush because studies have shown that people who supplement with cinnamon generally suffer from less candida overgrowth than those who don’t.

11. Cooked Vegetables

Non-starchy, cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus provide valuable nutrients that fight candida. (11)

12. Organic Meat

Protein plays a key role in candida. If you get your protein from factory farmed meats, you could actually feed candida, while foods high in healthy fats and protein protect against candida. (12) That’s why it’s so important to consume only organic, free-range meat.

13. Bone Broth

Bone broth benefits so many different aspects of our health, and you can add treating candida to the list. In fact it’s one of the best food sources to destroy candida due to its positive effects on gut health.

14. Pau D’arco Tea

Pau d’arco tea is probably the No. 1 thing to add to your candida diet. It helps the body fight candida the natural way. That’s because it has antifungal compounds like lapachol, which has been shown to combat candida. (13)


Foods to Avoid on the Candida Diet

Here are the foods to avoid on the candida diet. (14)

1. Sugar & Sugar Alternatives

These sweet items feed yeast, so you should avoid them at all costs.

2. Fruit & Fruit Juice

Even though fruit is generally healthy, it’s high in sugar and can make candida worse.

3. Alcohol

Most alcohol contains yeast so it’s not surprising that it produces more of it when consumed and should be avoided.

4. Grains

Grains break down into sugar and can feed candida, yeast and bad bacteria.

5. Vinegar

All types of vinegar should be avoided with candida overgrowth, except for apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar that provides an alkalizing benefit for the body and actually causes candida to die.

6. Peanuts

Peanuts can often carry mold, which only encourages the growth of candida. Plus, the peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies on the planet, providing another reason to avoid peanuts.

7. Dairy

Unless it’s fermented, you ideally want to avoid dairy at least in the early stages of your cleansing. Milk contains lactose, which is a sugar.

8. Food Intolerances

Some yeast infections are due to food allergies. Try to avoid foods that cause negative reactions of any kind. If you think you have a food allergy or sensitivity, try an elimination diet to figure out what foods are causing intolerances.

Other foods to avoid include:

  • Dried Fruits
  • Bananas
  • Ice Drinks

Best Essential Oils for Candida

Some of the best oils to fight candida are:

These five all help to kill a variety of parasites and fungi, including candida, in the body. Lavender oil also inhibits the growth of candida and is effective at preventing the spread of the infection. (15, 16)

By mixing a couple of drops of clove oil or lavender oil with coconut oil during your cleanse, you can help to kill off the offending candida. However, since these essential oils are powerful, they should only be taken internally for 10 days or less. For oral thrush, you can use three drops of clove oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil and swish the mixture in your mouth for 20 minutes. This oil pulling is excellent for killing candida and overall detoxification of the body.

 


Top 5 Candida Supplements

  1. Probiotics (50 billion units daily): Will give your body healthy bacteria, which can help reduce the presence of yeast.
  2. Oregano oil (2 drops 3 times daily for 7 days then stop): Oregano oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal.
  3. Garlic (2 caps or cloves daily): Helps fight fungal infections and boost the immune system.
  4. Vitamin C (1,000 milligrams, 3 time daily): Boosts immune function and helps fight off infections.
  5. Grapefruit seed extract (200 milligrams, 2–3 times per day): This herb has specific properties to fight candida.

In addition, you can use the following herbs to treat candida:

A 2003 study out of Israel proved that olive leaf extracts have an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and fungi. Olive leaf extracts killed almost all bacteria tested, including dermatophytes (causing infections on the skin, hair and nails), candida albicans (an agent of oral and genital infections) and Escherichia coli cells (bacteria found in the lower intestine). (17) 


Candida Diet Recipes

You definitely want to eat a mix of raw, fermented and cooked vegetables while on the candida diet. When it comes to recipes, you of course want ones that leave out all of the candida-promoting foods above while including as many of the candida killers as possible.

One recipe that I absolutely love is for kimchi, a traditional fermented probiotic food that is a staple Korean side dish. If you follow my Homemade Kimchi Recipe then you will have one delicious, high-quality fermented vegetable on hand at all times.

This Green Detox Machine Juice Recipe is another perfect inclusion for any anti-candida diet.

Another great recipe to try includes three candida busters: garlic, coconut oil and kale. Check out this Sauteed Kale Salad Recipe.


Candida Risk Factors, Causes & Symptoms

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans. The most common one is Candida albicans, a single-celled fungus that’s always present in the genital and intestinal tracts. Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection, but overgrowth of these organisms can cause problematic symptoms to develop in the body.

Some candida risk factors include having diabetes, undergoing conventional cancer treatments and treating asthma with corticosteroid inhalants. Some women find that birth control pills seam to instigate yeast infections — and even long after the initial infection is gone, once they start taking the birth control pills again, candida can take root.

According to the National Candida Center, there are are about a dozen recognized causes of intestinal dysbiosis (or dysfunction of the microbiome or inner ecology) and candida overgrowth, including (18):

  • Poor diet
  • Prescription drugs, especially antibiotics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Tap water
  • Digestive problems
  • Stress
  • Environmental molds and chemicals
  • Toxic metals and food chemicals
  • Immune deficiency (like having AIDS or cancer)

Do you ever experience any of these health issues?

  • Exhaustion
  • Cravings for sweets
  • Bad breath
  • White coat on tongue
  • Brain fog
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Chronic sinus and allergy issues
  • Digestive problems (gas and bloating)
  • Weak immune system
  • UTI

If so, these are just some of the signs that you may have candida. Symptoms can worsen in damp or moldy environments or after consumption of food containing sugar or yeast. If left untreated, candida will weaken the immune system, allowing more serious disease to take hold.


Precautions: Possible Candida Die-Off Symptoms

Rapidly killing off candida in your body creates a metabolic reaction that releases over 70 different toxins into your body. Sounds pretty intense, right? Well before you get scared off, what you may or may not have to deal with as a result of candida die-off is definitely preferable to what you have to deal with if you let the candida continue to internally flourish.

Symptoms that show the candida cleanse and the candida diet are working include:

  • Impaired brain function
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Intestinal distress, including bloating, gas, constipation and nausea
  • Sweating and fever
  • Sinus infection
  • Skin breakouts (not limited to face)
  • Typical flu-like symptoms

These symptoms usually clear up in seven to 10 days. The candida is leaving your body, and within just a few weeks, you will notice an increase in energy and focus, as well as relief from other symptoms you have experienced. So when you start to experience candida die-off symptoms, it’s time to celebrate because you are on your way to better health!

After your symptoms have subsided and you have completed the cleanse and the candida diet, you should continue eating a diet that’s high in protein and high-fiber vegetables, and limit grains, fruits, sugar and high-starch vegetables like white potatoes. Continue to consume fermented vegetables and kefir to help your body stay in balance and keep the candida at bay.

If you have chronic or unusually persistent candida infections, you should consult your health care provider. This could be a sign of an underlying illness, such as diabetes or immune system dysfunction, which makes for an environment more conducive to the growth of candida.


Final Thoughts on the Candida Diet

I really hope my suggestions help you to be candida-free in the very near future. With discipline and perseverance, you can rid your body of fungus and lead a much healthier life.  Just remember:

  • Candida is unfortunately a very common problem for many people.
  • Symptoms of candida are often ignored, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
  • An antifungal diet can reduce and eliminate candida and its unpleasant symptoms.
  • Some of the diet changes might end up needing to be long term if reintroduction of certain foods isn’t successful.
  • Your improved health and energy levels will be well worth any food or drink that you might miss.
  • In general, it will always be best for your overall health to avoid sugary and processed foods. Real, whole, living foods are your best bet, always!

Read Next: 9 Candida Symptoms & 3 Steps to Treat Them

Josh Axe

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