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The candida diet is not popular, but it is considered by many in order to stop the overgrowth of candida fungus in the body, which leads to an infection. This diet is believed to treat the symptoms of yeast infection and constitutes a strict nutrition plan that eliminates sugars, alcohol, gluten, and specific dairy foods that are known to promote the growth of the candida yeast in the body. However, there’s no scientific evidence to confirm the efficacy of this diet!
What is Candida Diet?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains Candida as a yeast or a fungus that usually resides on the skin and inside areas such as the mouth, throat, toenails, gut, vagina, and rectum. Candida is normally considered to be harmless and does not cause any complications. However, an overgrowth of candida can cause fungal infection, known as Candidiasis.
Studies suggest there are more than one hundred identified Candida species in various parts of the body. These species of Candida help our body in digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also promotes gut health. Although there is a significant amount of Candida species in our body, there are only fifteen known to cause an illness, such as Candida albicans.
Despite various studies and research are presented to support the symptoms, risk factors, effects of candida overgrowth, the treatments are inconsistent and inadequate. A possible treatment choice is the candida diet that is claimed to lower and treat infections.
The candida diet is, in essence, a diet that is low on carbohydrates, sugar and an anti-inflammatory diet that aims to improve gut health and eliminate things that possibly feed Candida. Although the candida diet has been in existence for decades, there are no proven research on it and no conclusive discoveries to validate the diet’s efficacy.
The candida diet chart is usually advised to be pursued briefly in consultation with health experts and not as an alternative for medical treatments prescribed by qualified healthcare professionals and medical practitioners.
How Does Candida Diet Work?
The candida diet is suggested to combat Candida overgrowth and Candidiasis. This diet excludes sugar, gluten, alcohol, certain dairy products, and harmful additives and promotes low-sugar fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and gluten-free foods. These dietary restrictions are based on the proposition that avoiding certain foods and drinks could potentially decrease the risk of Candida overgrowth in the body.
The diet focuses on consuming clean foods such as proteins, gluten-free grains, healthy fats, non-starchy foods, and probiotics. These foods aim to decrease inflammation and stabilize the intensities of the yeast inside the gut. Although these dietary restrictions are developed on unproven studies, the candida diet majorly is built on the following grounds:
- The candida diet eliminates gluten because of claims that imply the potential damages of consuming gluten on the lining of the intestines.
- High sugar consumption is also assumed to aggravate candida infections, particularly for individuals with a weakened immune system.
- Similarly, a diet high in carbs is also deemed to increase candida counts in some people and hence is avoided in this diet.
- Certain dairy products are also excluded from this diet, as they are believed to accelerate candida growth by boosting acidity in your mouth and reducing pH levels in the digestive tract.
- Other types of foods, particularly those with artificial ingredients, food colouring, preservatives, and pesticides, are also a strict no.
- Alcohol and caffeine are also no, to promote clean eating and healthy lifestyle habits, and to prevent cheat meals.
Proponents advise on beginning with the candida diet cleanse before getting started on the stringent candida diet. The candida diet cleanse is a temporary diet to prepare your body, relieve strain on your digestive tract, and discharge toxins from your body. The key to maintaining this diet successfully is to start slowly and focus on removing food items at a time instead of abruptly stopping all at once.
Is the Candida Diet a Healthy Choice?
There are no conclusive studies or proven theories to confirm the effectiveness of the candida diet. Although there is a lack of research, the candida diet is a relatively healthy diet, rich in nutrients. The diet rich foods that you may not commonly consume. Unlike many fad diets, the candida diet is likely safe for most people, to adhere to.
Consuming foods such as non-starchy vegetables, increasing your fibre consumption, drinking more liquids such as water, cold-pressed fruit juices, eradicating refined sugars and processed foods, this diet is sure to provide innumerable benefits to your body.
Although the question of whether the candida diet truly bears the magic to cure candidiasis is still hanging loose, the diet is safe to follow. But it is important to take baby steps and start slow to avoid overwhelming your body and mind.
As there is a lack of trustworthy and large-scale studies, there are no convincing answers from researchers who do not know how likely the candida diet is to be effective.
What to Eat on a Candida Diet
Though the candida diet may seem quite difficult to follow, the restrictions of this diet can be good for one’s body and health. As these foods to be included in this diet are carb-free, gluten-free, low-sugar (or no sugar), these provide your gut with amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. The broad categories of food that you can eat on a candida diet are the following:
1. Non-Starchy Vegetables
When you consume non-starchy vegetables, you make the candida colonies devoid of the innate sugars that sustain them. Low-starch vegetables include cabbage, asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, and zucchini.
2. Low-Sugar Fruits
In the candida diet, fruits are to be consumed in small quantities, as the natural sugars in fruits can promote the overgrowth of the candida fungus. Low-sugar fruits are lemon, avocado, lime, and olives.
3. Lean Proteins
Protein indisputably forms a vital part of every diet, and consuming lean proteins such as anchovies, eggs, chicken, wild salmon, herring, and turkey compensates for the missing carbs in your diet.
4. Some Dairy Products
While most dairy products are a big no, you can still consume products such as butter, ghee (clarified butter), Kefir, and probiotic yoghurt.
5. Non-Glutenous Grains
Non-glutenous grains and pseudo-grains such as buckwheat, millet, oat bran, and quinoa, are a part of the candida diet, but these should be consumed in moderation.
6. Low-Mold Nuts and Seeds
You can consume nuts that are relatively low in carbs, such as almonds, flaxseed, coconut, pecans, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.
7. Herbs, Spices & Condiments
A great way to add flavour to your meals, herbs, and spices such as apple cider vinegar, turmeric, Italian spices, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coconut aminos, dill, garlic, ginger, salt are all known to decrease inflammation, advance circulation, and support your liver.
8. Healthy Fats and Oils
Healthy kinds of oils such as coconut oil and olive oil are exceptionally good choices, thanks to their antifungal properties.
Since sugar is strictly no, you can replace sugar with sweeteners such as erythritol, xylitol, stevia, and monk fruit extract in your meals.
Hydrate your body with drinks such as filtered water, chicory coffee, and herbal teas that will not mess up your blood sugar.
What Foods to Avoid on a Candida Diet?
Listed below are some foods that are to be avoided in a candida diet.
1. Sugars and Unhealthy Sugar Substitutes
If you’re following a candida diet, you must avoid including honey, molasses, white sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup, etc., in your diet.
2. High-Sugar Fruits
Fruits high in sugar such as bananas, grapes, and mangoes, should be avoided. Fruit juices, raisins, and dates should also be avoided.
3. Moldy Nuts & Seeds
Avoid eating peanuts, cashew nuts, and pistachios, including the butter made from them.
Mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, and white vinegar are to be avoided in the candida diet.
5. Glutenous Grains
Avoid eating gluten-rich grains such as barley, wheat, spelt, and rye.
6. Dairy Products
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and cream are to be avoided.
7. Refined Oils and Processed Fats
Canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, butter spreads, and sunflower oil are to be avoided in this diet.
8. Processed Meats and Fish
Processed meats and fish varieties such as shellfish, swordfish, and tuna should be avoided as per the candida diet.
9. Caffeinated Drinks
Avoid having black tea and coffee.
10. Alcoholic or Sugary Drinks
Wine, diet or regular soda, energy drinks, beer, liquors, etc., are to be avoided.
Disadvantages of Candida Diet
A major downside of the candida diet is that there is no high-quality research to prove its efficacy. The diet’s strictness also puts people in a gloomy state as it requires immense effort to adjust to this eating style. If you are on a stringent budget or do not like to plan your meals, the candida diet may pose additional difficulties as it requires meal planning. But this diet is meant to be followed only if you are experiencing the symptoms of Candidiasis or are diagnosed with a candida infection.
A Sample One-Week Meal Plan
Below is a sample one-week meal plan consisting of foods that are consumed on a candida diet. Please note that this is a sample meal plan, and should be considered only after checking with a nutritionist. If you have to follow the candida diet, you can check with your nutritionist if you could follow the below meal plan and also incorporate their suggestions to customise this meal plan.
Breakfast: Sunnyside eggs and vegetable salad
Lunch: Quinoa bowl with chicken
Dinner: Salmon and fried green beans
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs accompanied with peppered tomatoes and avocadoes
Lunch: Turkey salad with greens, slices of avocado, sliced cabbage, and steamed broccoli
Dinner: Chicken in coconut curry over quinoa and steamed vegetables
Breakfast: Yogurt parfait with plain yogurt, 25 grams of berries, a pinch of cinnamon, topped with nuts
Lunch: Meatballs along with a kale salad and millets that are richly topped with ghee
Dinner: Salmon cakes with steamed vegetables and a cup of tasty bone broth
Breakfast: Turkey-and-sage breakfast sausages with your favourite veggies
Lunch: Thai red curry chicken
Dinner: No-bun hamburger patty with avocado and steamed vegetables, sauerkraut, and cinnamon coconut crisps
Breakfast: Vegetable omelet topped with fried shallots, chilies, and tomatoes along with herbal tea
Lunch: Grilled chicken with bok choy in coconut milk
Dinner: Almond mint smoothie and quinoa rutabaga patties
Breakfast: Bircher muesli and almond coconut tart crust
Lunch: Sardine Nicoise salad and buffalo cauliflower florets
Dinner: Wild salmon flavored with lime and dill alongside asparagus
Breakfast: Buckwheat breakfast muffins and avocado pancakes with lemon parsley butter
Lunch: Kimchi meatballs and a light salad with olive oil dressing
Dinner: Satay chicken bowl and apple walnut yoghurt parfait
The candida diet is designed to be balanced with anti-inflammatory elements to progress your gut health, digestion tract, and immunity system. It is said to reduce the symptoms of candida such as yeast infections, fatigue, fever, and food sensitivities. But there’s no study to prove the efficacy of this diet. If you have a candida infection, consult a doctor, and try to consume more unprocessed, natural, and low-sugar foods.