Candida is a more common problem than most people realize. The right supplements can certainly help, but unfortunately, Candida albicans and other species of Candida (there are over 20 of them) will bounce back if you do not follow the most effective and necessary change – radically changing your diet.
Usually, the most effective protocol begins with a strict adherence to a sugar-free, grain free, GMO-free, and processed food free diet. Over time, as the body restores balance, your immune system will be able to hold Candida in check, and more flexibility in your diet can follow. But during the first few weeks of a Candida detox diet, many foods that are normally very good for you should be avoided. The protocol for moderate-to-severe Candida overgrowth is far more restrictive than mild Candida overgrowth. Perhaps you didn’t know all of the following foods feed Candida.
Fruits are high in natural sugars. This is by design, after all fruit is nature’s candy. However, it’s important to note that sugar, any kind of sugar, feeds yeast, and Candida is a type of yeast.
For the first few weeks of a Candida detox diet, avoid all fruit. After the symptoms of Candida overgrowth die down, fruit can be reintroduced, but this should be done slowly, a few fruits at a time. Also, the reintroduction of fruit should begin with the fruits that are the lowest in sugar; the high sugar fruits should be reintroduced later. Here are some of the best fruits to initially reintroduce in the diet.
The majority of vegetables are great for a Candida detox diet. Raw vegetables should make up the majority of the foods we eat, all the time, whether we are on a detox diet or not. After the body heals from Candida, a diet high in raw produce, with more vegetables than fruit, is the primary diet change that will keep Candida from coming back and making us sick again – and provide the foundation for health.
Unfortunately, there are a few vegetables that should be avoided for the first few weeks, and not eaten cooked while on a Candida detox diet.
Beets are so high in sugars that cultivars have been developed that are grown just to make processed sugar (sugar beets). Especially when they are cooked, beets (any cultivar) feed yeast in a big way. Healthy people without a Candida overgrowth, should consume raw beets regularly, because they are very high in nutrients.
It is common knowledge that alcoholic drinks are drinks that have been fermented by yeast. Candida is also a type of yeast. Even though there are many differences between the kinds of yeasts used to brew alcohol and the kinds of yeast that infect humans, they share many important characteristics. These fungi feed on sugars and release alcohol and other toxins as waste products. Not only are these toxins harmful to us, they are devastating to the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Just as alcohol can be applied externally to disinfect wounds (killing bacteria), when taken internally, alcohol also kills bacteria, even the beneficial bacteria that help to keep Candida in check. Without competition from bacteria, Candida can very quickly multiply and cause us a myriad of health problems.
Seafood and Other Food With Heavy Metals
Today’s seafood is not the same as the seafood that we used to catch many years ago. Unfortunately, most of our seafood is contaminated with heavy metals, radioactive material, and other toxins. Sadly, farm raised seafood is usually worse. Farm raised shrimp and fish are usually given GMO feed and they are also contaminated with high levels of PCBS, mercury, and other toxins. Also the mercury in seafood kills our beneficial bacteria, clearing the way for yeast to take over our digestive tract.
Vinegar is made by fermentation in a two-part process. First, yeasts metabolize the sugars into alcohol and then Acetobacter bacteria are added. These bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid. Most vinegars can cause inflammation of the gut, and this can make us more vulnerable to yeast infections. Apple cider vinegar is an exception, and most people with Candida overgrowth benefit from consuming it, especially the raw, organic kind. Sensitivity to vinegar does vary somewhat from person to person. Some don’t experience inflammation from any type of vinegar, while others can’t tolerate any type at all, even apple cider vinegar.
Nuts are often contaminated with mold. Small amounts don’t pose that much of a problem for us. But since mold is a type of fungus, our bodies are less able to handle the toxins present in mold if we are besieged by Candida, and many molds contain antibiotic properties as well. As you probably guessed, mold can kill off our beneficial bacteria, and we need as much beneficial bacteria as possible to battle Candida.
Beans are notoriously difficult to digest; that’s where the gas comes from. Any foods or food combinations that are difficult to digest should be avoided when you’re on a Candida detox diet. If you can’t fully digest food that you consume, you are feeding Candida. Beans are one of those foods that are good for us when we are healthy, but not good at all when we are dealing with Candida overgrowth.
Most people consume far too many grains. Eaten in moderation, some grains are okay, but when on a Candida detox diet, or any kind of detox diet for that matter, grains should be avoided.
Many of us have been taught how to choose the foods we eat from an outdated food pyramid, or the more recent myplate.gov, which is barely an improvement. Following the government recommendations for eating grains leads to chronic disease, with Candida overgrowth being the first and most common symptom that leads to other diseases.
Most agave nectar that is sold in stores is actually a mixture of corn syrup and agave nectar. After all, corn syrup is cheaper to produce. Agave nectar has been marketed in the U.S. and abroad as a healthy sweetener, and at first glance, this appears to be true. Agave nectar is very low on the glycemic index so it appears to be good for those with blood sugar problems or those who are merely trying to watch what they eat. In truth, agave nectar is worse than high fructose corn syrup.
The reason that agave nectar is sweet is that it is very high in fructose. While fructose is very difficult for the body to digest, Candida goes to town, easily feeding off of it. Consuming high amounts of fructose impedes liver function and promotes obesity. Agave nectar is higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, there is nothing healthy about agave nectar, especially when trying to rid the body of Candida.
Artificial Chemical Ingredients
It’s tempting to think that something with zero calories, like diet soda, is good for us. It’s a comforting thought, but it has no basis in reality.
Aspartame, MSG, Splenda, Sweet N’ Low, Equal, nearly all preservatives such as nitrites and nitrates, and any other difficult to pronounce or mysterious ingredients such as “artificial flavorings” should be avoided.
These are all recent additions to modern diets, and there is no evolutionary justification for eating them. Despite what the FDA would have us believe, we are not meant to eat synthetic chemicals that come from laboratories. There are far too many artificial ingredients for us to list here, but none of them belong in a Candida detox diet.
Sugar feeds Candida, so sugar needs to be completely avoided. A sweet tooth leads to a leaky gut. When sugar is consumed, it feeds Candida and too much sugar transforms Candida into an invasive fungus, robbing us of our health. Candida overgrowth can even penetrate our intestines. It sounds like something out a horror movie, and many people find this hard to believe, but it’s true.
This invasive form, called “mycelial form,” actually produces rootlike tentacles called “rhizoids.” These roots can then penetrate through the lining of the GI tract, causing a painful condition known as “leaky gut,” which is increased intestinal permeability. When you have a leaky gut, partially digested food particles are able to pass through the intestinal lining and directly enter the bloodstream. Not only that, but toxic waste produced by the candida passes right into the bloodstream, too. When this happens, food allergies can result, as well as symptoms of excessive bloating, gas, belching, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation. Don Colbert M.D.
Most dairy products should also be avoided with the exception of unsweetened yogurt and kefir. Dairy contains lactose, a sugar that is difficult to digest, but Candida thrives on it.
How to Eat to Eliminate Candida
It is no small wonder why Candida overgrowth is so prevalent among people these days. Take for instance the most well known all American meal, a cheeseburger and French fries. Eating foods like these promote Candida overgrowth in multiple ways.
A truly healthy diet consists of 80% fresh, raw, organic, produce, with more vegetables than fruit. On a Candida detox diet, fruit should always be eaten on an empty stomach; it is easier to digest that way. Starches should never be mixed with protein, and the majority of meals should be made up of vegetables. This is easy to do and very satisfying when salads are regularly consumed.
A healthy salad is made up of lots of raw organic vegetables like collard greens, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, onions, beets, beet tops, carrots, zucchini, radishes, cucumbers, raw garlic, (can be pressed into the salad dressing), tomatoes, avocadoes, sprouts, and, a sprinkle of a few nuts or seeds. If you eat animal products, you can add eggs, meat, and sheep or goat cheese. This is an example of a meal that heals rather than harms us.
It is far better to feed our beneficial bacteria and nourish our bodies than it is to feed parasites. Whenever we make a decision about what we eat, we are making life or death decisions. This may sound melodramatic, but it is the way our bodies work. The old adage is true: we are what we eat.
No matter how strict a Candida detox diet is, if the Standard American Diet is resumed afterwards, Candida overgrowth will quickly return. If you want to be healthy, adopt an organic lifestyle. If the bulk of the diet is made up of raw vegetables, than Candida overgrowth will never be a problem again.