When it’s at proper levels in the body, candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, but when candida overproduces, it can then become a serious concern that causes a wide variety of negative and serious health problems. 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 to get rid of candida for good.
What Is 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 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 flushing 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 it 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.
What can you eat on a candida diet? 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 excess 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 for a candida-free diet:
Diet Step 1: Remove the Problem Foods
Now you know what to eat, but you are likely wondering what not to eat on a candida diet. 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:
- white flour
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:
- high-quality protein foods
- 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:
- sweet potatoes
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 and 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
- green veggies
- green drinks
- coconut oil
- Manuka honey
- ground chia and flaxseeds
- unsweetened cranberry juice
- cultured dairy
- 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.
Here are some of the foods you should eat on the candida diet.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
2. Green Veggies and Green Drinks
Leafy green vegetables help alkalize the body, which fights against the acidic nature of yeast overgrowth. Research suggests that greens contain no sugars but have 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. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, and studies show that the combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil kills off harmful candida through ingestion and topical application.
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.
Studies indicate that not only is stevia an antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic agent, but it also helps balance the pancreas, which is often compromised when someone has candida.
Garlic contains a large number of sulphur-containing compounds that have extremely potent, broad-spectrum antifungal properties. Animal studies conclude that raw garlic benefits the fight against candida specifically.
6. Ground Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds
Polyphenols found in flaxseeds and chia seeds have been found to support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.
7. Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice without added sugar has been shown to help correct the pH levels of urine, helping prevent the overgrowth of fungi like candida.
Goat milk kefir has displayed antibacterial and anti-candida effects in animal studies.
9. Spices like Turmeric and 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). Cinnamon can treat oral thrush because studies have shown that people who supplement with cinnamon generally suffer from less candida overgrowth than those who don’t.
10. Cooked Vegetables
Non-starchy, cooked vegetables — such as broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus — provide valuable nutrients that fight candida.
11. Organic Meat
Protein plays a key role in candida. If you get your protein from factory-farmed meats, you could actually feed candida, while research suggests that foods high in healthy fats and protein protect against candida. That’s why it’s so important to consume only organic, free-range meat.
12. 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.
13. 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’s proven to have antifungal compounds like lapachol, which has been shown to combat candida.
Foods to Avoid
Here are the foods to avoid on the candida diet.
1. Sugar and Sugar Alternatives
These sweet items feed yeast, so you should avoid them at all costs.
2. Fruit and Fruit Juice
Even though fruit is generally healthy, it’s high in sugar and can make candida worse.
Most alcohol contains yeast so it’s not surprising that it produces more of it when consumed. It should be avoided.
Grains break down into sugar and can feed candida, yeast and bad bacteria.
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.
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.
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
- Ice drinks
Essential Oils for Candida
Some of the best oils to fight candida are:
- oregano oil
- myrrh oil
- lavender oil
- clove oil
These help kill a variety of parasites and fungi, including candida, in the body. Lavender oil has been proven to inhibit the growth of candida and is effective at preventing the spread of the infection.
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.
These supplements can help aid your candida diet:
1. Probiotics (50 billion units daily)
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, 2–3 times daily)
Boosts immune function and helps fight off infections.
5. Grapefruit seed extract (200 milligrams, 2–3 times per day)
Pure grapefruit seed extract can kill all kinds of infectious microbes and even helps combat common health issues like candida and athlete’s foot.
6. Turkey Tail Mushroom (1 gram, 2–3 times daily)
Also known as Trametes versicolor, research published in Frontiers in Microbiology relays that turkey tail’s antimicrobial activities can help treat candida. In addition, the prebiotics in turkey tail assist the microbiome and help food bacteria grow, improving gut health overall.
7. Astragalus Root (1 gram, 2–3 times daily)
Another supplement good for healthy gut microflora, animal research shows how astragalus can alter gut microbiota and increase beneficial bacteria. Thus, it can fight candida and other fungi while maintaining a healthy microbiome.
In addition you can use the following herbs to treat candida:
- olive leaf
- other mushrooms
A 2003 in vitro study out of Israel showed 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).
Meal Plan and Recipes
You definitely want to eat a mix of raw and cooked vegetables while on the candida diet. The idea is to crowd in candida-friendly foods, while pushing out the ones that promote candida growth.
Here’s a sample day to get you started:
- Breakfast: Egg and vegetable omelet with broccoli, onions, salt and pepper
- Snack: Trail mix with almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts
- Lunch: Grilled chicken over salad with spinach, almond slices, avocado and lemon dressing
- Snack: Cup of real bone broth or green tea
- Dinner: Filet of wild salmon, seasoned with cilantro and over a bed a massaged kale and olive oil dressing
- Dessert: Piece of high-quality dark chocolate
When it comes to recipes, you of course want ones that leave out all of the candida-promoting foods listed above, while including as many of the candida killers as possible.
- This Green Detox Machine Juice Recipe is a great inclusion for any anti-candida diet.
- This Buddha Bowl with high-quality steak, leafy greens and vegetables is a great option for when you’ve begun reintroducing an array of veggies into your diet.
- This Salmon Kale Salad is made with fresh salmon filet and a simple lemon dressing.
Precautions: 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?
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
- 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.
If you experience 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.
- Candida is unfortunately a very common problem for many people. Symptoms 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!