The candida diet is a strict meal plan for alleviating the candida symptoms, the most common fungus in the human body.
This diet is designed to improve your gut health, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation.
It improves your gut and health and restores the yeast and bacteria inside your body, helping you get relief from the symptoms of candida such as yeast infections, indigestion, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, etc.
This article looks into the benefits of the candida diet, how it works, foods you should eat and avoid, and a sample meal plan to get rid of candida. But first, you need to get some knowledge about candida and its severity.
What is a Candida Infection?
Candida or candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect both men and women of all ages in different parts of their body.
Candida albicans is part of natural microorganisms that commonly live in our bodies. Although most of the times it causes no problems, an overgrowth of it can cause severe infections.
The symptoms of Candida infections include:
- Bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Skin problems such as rashes or eczema.
- Mood swings.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Joint pain.
- Anxiety and depression.
Although more than 150 known candida species are in different parts of the body, only 15 of them can cause an infection.
Candida Diet: Does It Work?
The candida diet is considered as a possible treatment option for the candida overgrowth. However, there are not enough studies on this treatment plan and its efficacy.
The diet encourages gluten-free, low-sugar, non-starchy vegetables while excluding sugar, alcohol, gluten, certain dairy products, and foods with harmful additives.
However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support most of these dietary restrictions.
Although it is claimed that gluten can cause intestinal damage, there is no evidence that supports that claim.
If you have a weakened immune system, high sugar consumption may worsen your candida infection.
But, research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that high-sugar diet did not increase the frequency of Candida albicans positive samples.
Besides, theoretically, lactose can increase the acidity in your mouth, which may stimulate candida growth. But no evidence has been found yet to prove it.
This diet excludes foods with added preservatives, alcohol, and caffeine to benefit your gut, reduce inflammation, and ensure a healthy lifestyle.
The Candida Cleanse Process
It’s recommended that you go for candida cleanse before starting the diet. This part is divided into two stages:
Step 1: The Liquid Only Candida Cleanse
In this stage, you will only drink liquids like lemon juice or vegetable broth. Make sure you drink a lot of water to help your body expel all the toxins in your system.
The duration of this cleanse should not be more than two days.
Step 2: Steamed Vegetables Candida Cleanse
In this stage, you need to eliminate sugars, grains, alcohol, fruits, and starches. Instead, you will only eat fresh and organic vegetables like leafy greens and bitter greens like chard.
The duration of this cleansing process in 3-5 days. Drink a lot of water and avoid starchy vegetables like beets, carrots, radishes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Once you are done with the cleansing process, you can move to the main diet plan.
Candida Diet: What You Can Eat?
Non-starchy vegetables: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, celery, eggplant, onion, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, and rutabaga.
Low-sugar fruits: Limes, lemon, berries (in small amounts).
High-quality protein: Eggs, Chicken, sardines, salmon, and turkey.
Gluten-free grains: Quinoa, millet, oat bran and buckwheat.
Healthy fats: Olives, avocado, unrefined coconut oil, flax oil, sesame oil, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Certain dairy products: Ghee, butter, organic kefir or plain yogurt.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed.
Herbs and spices: Salt, black pepper, dill, cinnamon, oregano, garlic, ginger, rosemary, paprika, turmeric, and thyme.
Condiments: Apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, and coconut aminos.
Non-caffeinated beverages: Water, herbal teas, chicory coffee, homemade almond milk, coconut milk, and lemon water.
Candida Diet: What You Cannot Eat?
Fruits: Dates, grapes, bananas, raisins, and mango.
Meats: Farm-raised fish and deli meats.
Grains that contain gluten: Barley, wheat, rye, and spelt.
Condiments: Soy sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, white vinegar, horseradish or mayonnaise.
Refined oils and fats: Sunflower oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.
Dairy products: Milk, cheese, and cream.
Beverages: Coffee, caffeinated teas, energy drinks, soda, beer, fruit juice, wine or spirits.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners: Maple syrup, cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, agave, aspartame, molasses, and table sugar.
Nuts and seeds: Pecans, peanuts, cashews, and pistachios.
Additives: Sulfates or nitrates.
Benefits of Candida Diet
Although there is a lack of evidence, the candida diet has a number of benefits on human health. It’s because this diet is based on healthy foods.
The diet consists of whole foods and excludes sugary foods. It can help in weight loss, improve gut health, promote a healthy heart, and reduce inflammation.
A study published in 2013 shows that foods and beverages with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup are harmful to human health.
Another study published in the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care states the downside of high sugar for metabolic health.
Whether you have candida overgrowth or not, this diet is beneficial for you.
Downsides of Candida Diet
The major downside of the candida diet is there are little and controversial studies on the effectiveness of it.
120 people with intestinal candida overgrowth participated in a clinical trial published in the Journal De Mycologie Medicale.
Results show those who had dietary changes had reduced candida yeast in stool compared to those who didn’t change their diet.
On the other hand, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a high-sugar diet had limited impact on candida growth.
Besides, this diet is quite strict and can pose a problem if you are on a tight budget.
A Sample Menu for Candida Diet
Here are a seven days sample meal plan for candida diet:
Breakfast: Vegetable omelet made with eggs, spinach, shallots, and tomatoes.
Lunch: Turkey with a green salad, cabbage, avocado slices, broccoli, and an olive oil dressing.
Dinner: Zucchini noodles topped with chicken, pesto, raw garlic, and olive oil.
Breakfast: Smoothie made from plain kefir, almond butter, a handful of berries, cinnamon, and coconut.
Lunch: Thai red curry chicken (try this recipe)
Dinner: Salmon cakes, steamed broccoli and a cup of bone broth.
Breakfast: Turkey-and-sage breakfast sausages, and Brussels sprouts.
Lunch: Lemon-roasted chicken and a green salad.
Dinner: Wild-caught salmon seasoned with lemon and dill and asparagus.
Breakfast: Buckwheat breakfast muffins and chicory coffee.
Lunch: Chef salad or hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, turkey, olives, cucumbers, and an olive-oil dressing
Dinner: Coconut curry chicken and steamed vegetables.
Breakfast: Omelet made with onions, red peppers, and kale.
Lunch: Turkey meatballs, kale salad and millet topped with ghee.
Dinner: Hamburger patty (without the bun), topped with avocado, steamed vegetables, and sauerkraut
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and avocado.
Lunch: Coconut curry chicken and steamed vegetables.
Dinner: Chicken breast, stir-fry quinoa, steamed vegetables, and coconut aminos.
Breakfast: Yogurt parfait (use plain yogurt), 1/4 cup (25 grams) of berries, cinnamon and almonds.
Lunch: Turkey-and-sage breakfast sausages and sautéed cabbage.
Dinner: Chicken fajita bowl made with chicken, onions, peppers, cilantro, avocado, and a green salad.
Candida is a very common problem that is often ignored or misdiagnosed.
The candida diet may reduce the symptoms of candida infections as it eliminates sugar, glucose, some dairy products, and alcohol from the diet.
Although the diet is quite strict, you only need to follow it until you recover from candida.
However, as the diet excludes high-sugar, additives, alcohol, and unhealthy fats from your meal plan, it’s quite healthy for you whether you have candida or not.
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