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The Truth About Candida & What to Eat to Fight It

Our gut needs trillions of good bacteria in order to function in a healthy way, but when it gets out of balance and “bad” bacteria or other pathogens take over, then it can spell a multitude of health problems. Candida is one of these pathogens.

In healthy people, it exists in very small amounts in the gut, but in many people, because of a weakened immune system, numerous medications or other causes, candida grows too much and causes health problems.

So What Is Candida?

Candida is a type of yeast that is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide. It has a nasty habit of building up in our intestines (or skin, vagina, or mouth) and debilitating our health in a variety of ways.

Infection from candida can range from nearly benign to life-threatening. If a candida infection becomes systemic (affects your whole body), rather than isolated in one area, it can be life-threatening. But we’re just talking about candida in your intestines.

What to Eat to Fight Candida – Evidence Vs. Myths

There are many recommendations out there as to what dietary steps to take to kill candida in your gut.

Some advocates say to avoid all types of sugar, even natural sources like fruit, and some say to stick to a low-carb, high-fat diet for best results. There are even recommendations on the internet for high-carb, low-fat diets to defeat candida.

So how do you navigate this cacophony of voices?

The best way to fight candida is to consider the evidence from scientific studies in animals and test tubes (since there are almost no human studies) regarding the effects of food on candida.

(Note: If you want to learn the 5-Step Candida Cleansing System that Master Herbologist and Nutritionist Dr. Donna Schwontkowski has recommended and used with her patients for over 20 years, you can check out the guide here.)

Step 1: Don’t Eat Processed, Fake Carbohydrate Foods

One thing that nearly all practitioners and candida experts agree on is you should avoid refined grains and refined grain products with sugar added to them.

Refined grains have the naturally-occurring fiber taken out of them. For example, white rice is the refined version of brown rice. Refined grains usually come in the form of breads, pastas, pastries, bagels, cupcakes, etc. However, it is possible to use whole grain flour in some of these products (but more often than not, they are made of refined grains).

Also stay away from packaged food with sugar added to it in the form of cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners.

High concentrations of sugar are evidenced to fuel candida growth. For instance, one study in mice demonstrated that those who were supplemented with extra glucose had candida that was especially invasive

High concentrations of sugar are evidenced to fuel candida growth. For instance, one study in mice demonstrated that those who were supplemented with extra glucose had candida that was especially invasive

[1]. Also, glucose appears to promote candida biofilm formation[2]. Biofilms are often referred to as slime – a slime that protects candida from harm. Therefore, biofilms are good for candida and bad for you.

Since refined grains are starch and starch contains many glucose units that feed candida, it's important to stay clear of them when battling candida.

Avoid High Blood Sugar

Eating sugary foods like refined grains and other processed foods may also indirectly fuel candida growth. When blood sugar spikes quickly, like after eating a high-sugar meal, it weakens the immune system, and diabetics with poor blood sugar control are prone to increased infections[34]. With consistent post-meal sugar spikes, those who eat high-sugar foods will be more likely to develop candida overgrowth because their immune system can’t keep the yeast in check.

Step 2: Eat Phytochemical-Rich Veggies and Fruits

Plants create all sorts of phytonutrients to protect themselves from pathogens like bacteria, fungi, and insects. Resveratrol is a well-known example of such a phytochemical that plants produce to protect themselves when under attack by fungus or bacteria.

Because plants use them for self-protection, it should come as little surprise that phytochemicals can fight candida.

Just about every whole plant food contains colorful phytochemicals that have antimicrobial effects, and this is why many practitioners don’t recommend completely eliminating fruits from a candida-cleansing diet.

There are too many foods to detail that have been evidenced to fight candida. But the list includes coconut, aloe vera, a variety of spices, onions, garlic, berries, and grapes [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10].

There are too many foods to detail that have been evidenced to fight candida. But the list includes coconut, aloe vera, a variety of spices, onions, garlic, berries, and grapes.

So don’t be afraid to include real plant foods in your diet, even some fruit.

Practice Anti-Candida Lifestyle Habits

1.Rebuke stress

Brief stress like temporary nervousness or challenging exercise can be good for the body. But when you are chronically stressed, it impairs the immune system[11] [12]. If you’re constantly upset and worried about things, you will have lazier and fewer immune cells[12].

2.Heavy metal detoxification

Some toxic metals have been evidenced to promote candida growth. Minimize heavy metals in your diet.

One of the few proven ways to remove metals from the body is by sweating. So make sure to work up a sweat a few times a week by exercising or taking a sauna.

Follow the Evidence

The steps listed above are based on evidence from the scientific studies available to us. And using this evidence as a guide is the best way to assuredly fight candida. We have to utilize animal and test tube studies at this point because studies on the effects of the human diet on candida have not been measured directly in clinical trials.

Evan has years of experience researching and writing about the health effects of food and nutritional supplements. He is especially passionate about nutritional pharmacology and the bioavailability, efficacy, and actions of supplements. He wants to spread knowledge about how effective diet and supplements can be at treating ailments and promoting well-being. Learn more about Evan here.

Master Herbologist, Dr. Schwontkowski, reveals the ultimate 5-Step System To Naturally Cleanse Candida.

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