Candida is a type of yeast that typically inhabits the human gastrointestinal tract, however, imbalances in the gut microenvironment can allow this organism to grow unchecked. There are a few different Candida species that are typically found in overgrowth infections; these include C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei. Overuse of antibiotics, lack of microbial gut biodiversity, lack of pre-biotics in the diet needed to feed the “good bacteria” that keep the yeast in check, extreme stress, and ongoing exposure to environmental chemicals can disrupt the delicate balance of beneficial microbes in the gut and can lead to an overgrowth of candida. Gut infections, like those stemming from Candida overgrowth, can induce systemic inflammation so it is very important to address these. An anti-candida diet is a good place to start to bring the gut back into balance and reduce inflammation in the body.
What is an Anti-Candida Diet?
An anti-candida diet is a diet designed to stop feeding the overgrowth of candida in the gut, and to bring in an abundance of foods that help restore beneficial bacteria. All processed foods, sugar, refined starches, flours, sweet fruits, and certain dairy products are removed from an anti-candida diet. The diet designed for this site is a strict anti-candida diet, which also removes all legumes and grains, and starchy vegetables. If you would like to try a less strict version of the diet first, try the IFM Anti-Candida Diet. Depending on the individual, including some grains in the diet may be beneficial to help increase beneficial microbes in the gut as certain grains contain high levels of prebiotic fibers called beta-glucans. These types of prebiotics feed beneficial microbes in the gut, which help keep Candida species in check. Talk with your health care practitioner to see which type of anti-candida diet may be best for you.
Note: It is very important to support detoxification pathways when you go on an anti-candida diet. There is a die-off process in the early stages that can produce an increase in symptoms. Support your system with plenty of raw cruciferous vegetables, lemon water, amino acids, and fiber from plant foods. Increase the amount of water you are drinking daily and be sure to only use filtered water. The chlorine in city tap water can be a contributor to the die-off of beneficial microflora in the gut.
Foods EXCLUDED from the Anti-Candida Diet:
- All sweeteners EXCEPT for stevia and allulose
- All starchy vegetables
- All sweet fruits EXCEPT for berries
- All grains
- All legumes
- All processed meats
- All aged cheeses
- All soy products
- All vinegars EXCEPT raw apple cider vinegar and raw coconut vinegar
- Peanuts, cashews, and pistachios
- All alcohol, coffee, black tea, and fruit juices EXCEPT unsweetened cranberry juice
Foods INCLUDED on the Anti-Candida Diet:
- All non-starchy vegetables
- All fresh or frozen meats and bone broths
- All fish and seafood
- Lightly fermented dairy products (kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, soft goat cheese)
- Coconut milk and coconut products
- Some fruits (fresh or frozen berries, fresh pomegranate, lemons and limes)
- All nuts and seeds EXCEPT peanuts, cashews, and pistachios
- Healthy fats and oils (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, avocados, butter, ghee)
- Raw apple cider vinegar and raw coconut vinegar
- Green tea, matcha, herbal teas, fresh vegetable juices, seltzer water, and coconut water kefir (fermented coconut water)
What are the Benefits of the Anti-Candida Diet?
If you have been on a sugar addiction roller-coaster, the anti-candida diet can help break this addiction through the elimination of sugar, and through the die-off process of organisms like Candida that thrive off of high-sugar diets. An overgrowth of Candida in the gut can lead to a breakdown of the intestinal barrier leading to an increase in food sensitivities, inflammation, and immune system dysfunction. Reducing the overgrowth can begin to reverse these side effects from Candida infections. The Anti-Candida diet is not a life-long diet. Talk to your health care practitioner about slowly re-introducing other whole foods as you make progress in healing.
The Anti-Candida Diet is beneficial for these conditions:
- SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth)
- Candida overgrowth
- Leaky gut (breakdown of the intestinal barrier)
- Gut microbial imbalances
- Sugar addiction
- Multiple food sensitivities due to a leaky gut and Candida overgrowth
How do I start the Anti-Candida Diet?
- If you would like more support, consider becoming a Nourishing Meals® member.
- Add “Anti-Candida” when setting up your diet profile. This will filter all of the recipes on the site and only show you what you can eat.
- Begin to create a meal plan by adding recipes to your calendar. Use the shopping list feature to create shopping lists from any number of days on your calendar.
- Support your system with broccoli sprouts, arugula, radishes, kale, and cabbage (cruciferous vegetables) to help in these early stages of candida die-off.
- If candida overgrowth has been an ongoing health issue, expect an increase in your symptoms for possibly a few weeks. Increase filtered water, lemon water, and herbal teas.