Have you heard of a diet that helps you get rid of fungal infections? Yes you’re right, it is the Anti-Candida Diet! Recently, it has made a lot of buzz all around and we get to see many testimonials on the Internet praising this diet. So today, let’s browse through and get to know in detail what exactly the Anti-Candida diet is all about!
Candida is a fungal infection caused by the pathogen – Candida Albicans. There is imbalance of gut microflora caused during periods of stress, or after a course of antibiotics. When this balance is lost, the colonies of Candida takes advantage of this disruption and are able to expand rapidly until they control a large portion of the gut.
If you’re wondering why a few extra pathogens in your gut are such a big problem, let me explain. Candida releases up to 79 different byproducts, including uric acid and a powerful neurotoxin named acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde causes chronic headaches and brain fog, and was recently classified as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Uric acid can cause joint pain and lead to gout if an excess builds up. Meanwhile, the change in your gut flora can lead to digestive problems, food intolerances, yeast infections, and oral thrush. 
Three common causes of Candida overgrowth –
1. A course of Antibiotics – Antibiotics are the most common cause of Candida overgrowth. They can be lifesavers, but they also come with serious side effects that should not be ignored. In fact, broad spectrum antibiotics (antibiotics designed to kill bacteria) are often prescribed for illnesses that would quickly clear up with a little rest. Unfortunately, this has some major consequences for our digestive and immune systems. The problem is that not all the bacteria in the body are harmful.
In fact, a typical healthy adult carries around 500 strains of bacteria and as many as 100 trillion individual bacteria. Many of these bacteria play important roles in digesting your food and maintaining a healthy immune system. When antibiotics kill so many of these beneficial bacteria, there is one opportunistic fungus that is ready to take advantage. Because the colonies of Candida albicans no longer face competition for the space and nutrients in your gut, they can quickly multiply and expand.
2. A long period of stress – Anyone who has suffered from stress will agree that it can make physical changes to the body. In fact stress may be one of the major causes of disease in today’s society. And there are a couple of different ways in which stress can affect the digestive system and contribute to Candida outbreak.
First, stress raises the blood sugar. This is the typical ‘fight or flight’ response i.e. the body senses the stress and makes lots of energy available for whatever happens next. Of course stress rarely comes from physical danger these days, but effect of the elevated blood sugar is the same. And secondly, the immune system is weakened by stress as the body’s resources are diverted elsewhere, undermining the natural defenses against Candida overgrowth.
3. A high-sugar Diet – Can only diet lead to a Candida overgrowth? Yes it can, especially if an unhealthy high-sugar diet is eaten for a long period of time.
Processed meats, tortillas, pasta sauces, salad dressings and cereals are all surprising sources of added sugar. And the sugary diet that most of us eat is exactly what Candida Albicans needs to flourish. Of course it’s important to note that it takes a long time for high-sugar diet to cause a Candida overgrowth. If you have a healthy diet already, eating one chocolate bar a week won’t lead to a Candida overgrowth.
11 common symptoms of Candida –
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- Recurring yeast infections
- Oral thrush
- Sinus infections
- Food allergies/intolerances
- Fungal infections on the skin and nails
- A weak immune system
- Joint pain
- Low mood
The Anti-Candida Diet –
The first & one of the most important elements in a Candida treatment plan is a low-sugar diet. This is because sugar causes Candida overgrowth, and the modern Western diet is absolutely full of it. The Candida yeast cells need sugar to build their cell walls, expand their colonies and switch into their more virulent form.
The Detox – This is the first step of this diet and is optional. Here, you have to eat the strictest diet, combined with lots of water and some detox drinks, in order to flush out your colon and quickly eliminate as many of those Candida colonies as possible.
During this stage one should be sticking to a diet of raw salads and steamed vegetables, along with various herbs, spices and oils to liven up the meals. It is quite a restrictive diet but it is to be followed only for a few days. The cleanse will end with feeling refreshed, light, healthy and ready to move on to the next stage.
The Anti-Candida Diet – This is the most important part of the diet. The Anti-Candida Diet is a more balanced diet but it still eliminates added sugar, most starchy vegetables, most fruits, caffeine and anything with a high Glycemic Load. This phase is carefully designed to starve the Candida of food while giving you all the nutrition that you need.
There are also a handful of foods that actually fight Candida. These fall into the category of either anti-fungals or probiotics, and you should integrate them into your diet too. So you’ll be happy to know that foods like yogurt and rutabaga are on the foods to eat list, even though their carbohydrate content might have looked too high.
Foods-to-eat when on Anti-Candida Diet –
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Low sugar fruits
- Non-glutinous grains
- Healthy proteins
- Some dairy products
- Low-mould nuts and seeds
- Herbs, spices & condiments
- Healthy fats and oils. Coconut oil is shown to colonies of Candida in the gut. 
- Sweeteners like stevia and erythritol
- Fermented foods
- Drinks like chicory coffee and herbal teas
Foods-to-avoid when on Anti-Candida Diet –
- High sugar fruits
- Glutinous grains
- Meats like pork and lunch meat
- Fish like tuna and swordfish
- Some dairy products
- Mouldy nuts and seeds
- Condiments with added sugars
- Refined and processed vegetable oils
- Sugars and sugar substitutes
- Caffeinated or sugary drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
This stage can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It really depends on several factors – how strictly you follow the diet, the effectiveness of the probiotics and anti-fungals, and the severity of the Candida infestation.
Re-introducing foods – Once you have beaten the Candida infestation, what’s next? Well, it’s certainly not a great idea to immediately go back to the original diet. After all, that’s the diet that probably caused the Candida overgrowth in the first place.
In this phase one should start to gradually reintroduce certain foods into the diet. Low-sugar fruits like green apples and berries are a great example, and then also start reintroducing some beans. If all goes well and they don’t cause an outburst of Candida symptoms, one can move on to reintroducing more foods.
So, this was about the Anti-Candida Diet. Remember, this diet also says that if you have had an episode of Candida outbreak once, one should not go back to the original diet as there are high chances of recurrence of Candida infection. Also along with the diet, one must consult a doctor for better recovery.
Happy New Year in advance to all you out there! May there be happiness the whole year through. 🙂
Abha is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate and currently pursuing M.Sc. in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She calls herself an amateur Food and Health Blogger and an extremely big foodie at heart. For her food is not just about calories, carbohydrates and fats; it is a way of life! Abha truly believes that no food is unhealthy, what can be unhealthy is our attitude towards it. So if we correct our attitude, we can enjoy all those yummy foods! 🙂