Candida Diet: A Comprehensive Guide (2024)

Candida Diet

Welcome to my blog post Candida Diet: A Comprehensive Guide. The candida diet requires people to avoid foods and drinks that could increase the risk of Candida overgrowth. The problem is, what most people are told about the diet is wrong. Continue reading to learn why.

 

What Is Candida?

Candida albicans is a yeast that resides in the vagina and gastrointestinal tract of humans. Candida albicans is an important cause of fungal infection worldwide. This yeast can cause superficial, systemic, or invasive infections, with life-threatening outcomes in specific circumstances (those in ICU’s for example). (source)

What Causes A Candida Overgrowth?

It is thought that ‘Western diets’, which are high in fat and sugar and low in dietary fiber, negatively affect the gut microbiome. This leads to an imbalance in the microbiome, referred to as dysbiosis, which may include an overgrowth of Candida albicans.

In addition to an unhealthy Western diet, other factors that might cause a candida overgrowth include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, prolonged use of antibiotics, and chronic psychological stress. (source)

Read my blogs on candida and gut inflammation, and, Small Intestine Fungal Overgrowth.

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What Is The Candida Diet?

The candida diet requires people to avoid foods and drinks that could increase the risk of Candida overgrowth. The problem is what most people are told about the diet is wrong. Continue reading to learn why.

How To Test For SIFO Video

Foods To Include In The Candida Diet

Low levels of vitamins D and E, trace elements such as selenium, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with negative clinical outcomes during infection so incorporating these in to the diet may be helpful. A diverse diet rich in vegetable fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients as well as probiotic/prebiotic supplementation improves the gut microbiome and reduces fungal load.

Natural Anti-Fungals

Numerous studies worldwide have analyzed the antimicrobial properties of these different plants, with many of them showing natural antifungal activity. These include garlic, cinnamon, lemongrass, coconut oil, ginger, seaweed, thyme, olive oil, fermented vegetables, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt.

Garlic

Freshly crushed garlic contains active components such as allicin, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Allicin inhibits the growth of fungi by inhibiting succinate dehydrogenase. The lipid composition of the outer surface of C. albicans has been reported to be affected by garlic. In addition, garlic extract has been found to inhibit Candida albicans growth by forming pits on the surface.

Low et al. showed that treatment with garlic extract prevented yeast cell transition to hyphae and SIR2 expression was downregulated when the garlic extract concentration was increased, indicating that garlic and its bioactive components suppressed C. albicans hyphae production and affected SIR2 gene expression.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiallergic properties. Researchers have found that cinnamon essential oils were effective in inhibiting several virulence factors of Candida albicans.

Lemongrass

Researchers showed that lemongrass oil and powder had anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans.

Citral, the main component in this herbal essential oil (approximately 70%), exhibited efficient inhibitory effect against Candida suspensions.

Coconut oil

It contains monolaurin, a monoglyceride composed of lauric acid esterified with glycerol. Monolaurin has been shown to have broad bioactivities, such as antibacterial and antiviral properties. Seleem et al. showed that oral C. albicans infection was significantly reduced by oral monolaurin treatment in mice.

Treatment with monolaurin has been shown to significantly reduce Candida albicans biofilm formation in comparison with control groups.

Ginger

Ginger extract has been shown to exhibit anti-biofilm activity in bacteria. It has been demonstrated that components in ginger, 6-gingerols and 6-shogaol, inhibit biofilm and hypha formation in Candida albicans.

Ginger extract inhibited the formation of biofilms by Candida albicans and Candida krusei.

A synergistic effect was observed when ginger extract and fluconazole were administered together for the treatment of drug-resistant vulvovaginal candidiasis in mice.

Thyme

Thymus vulgaris is the most important species. Among the bioactive components of T. vulgaris, its essential oil contains thymol and carvacrol. Jafri et al. explored the synergistic interaction between thyme essential oils and antifungal drugs against C. albicans.

Thyme essential oils showed synergy with fluconazole against both planktonic and biofilm-forming Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis.

Fermented vegetables

Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, and Lactobacillus sakei are among the lactic acid bacteria found in sauerkraut and kimchi ferments. These bacteria provide immunomodulatory signals, support digestive processes, produce bioactive compounds (e.g., isothiocyanates), and suppress pathogens by producing acids and bacteriocins.

Several bacterial isolates from sauerkraut or kimchi have been shown to act as antimicrobials against pathogenic fungi.

Three L. plantarum strains isolated from kimchi showed anti-fungal activity against C. albicans, as evidenced by a significant decrease in fungal growth. Furthermore, Lactobacillus products from kimchi boosted mucosal immunity by enhancing secretory IgA levels in mice and displayed anti-C. albicans activity.

Apple cider vinegar

ACV is made from cider that has been transformed by a process known as acetous bioconversion. It has low acidity (5% acetic acid). Flavonoids and polyphenols are also present, as well as vitamins, minerals, and organic acids.

Researchers have shown that ACV increased the phagocytic activity of monocytes against Candida albicans. ACV is also able to reduce C. albicans viability and growth.

Yogurt

Yoghurt is fermented milk acidified with viable and well-defined bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles). In addition to supplying highly bioavailable protein, yogurt also provides an excellent source of calcium as well as probiotic bacteria, making yogurt a good component of a healthy lifestyle. The daily consumption of yogurt, enriched with live L. acidophilus, led to the disappearance of recurrent Candida vaginitis in comparison to pasteurised yogurt. Additionally, a correlation was found between anti-Candida activity and the presence of acetic acid bacteria in dairy associations.

Research has shown that the consumption of probiotic yogurt reduced fungal colonisation in women.

Candida Diet Food List

Protein

Lamb, beef, pork, chicken, fish, poultry, eggs, organ meats, venison etc.

Carbohydrates

Whole grains such as oats, wheat, rye, rice, squash, sweet potato, potato etc.

Fats

Olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, ghee, butter.

Fruit

1-2 portions per day – ideally low sugar options such as berries.

Vegetables

Any, preferably in season and local.

Supplements For Candida Diet

Vitamin D

In one clinical trial, a reduction in Aspergillus fumigatus induced IL-13 responses with daily vitamin D3 supplementation. Vitamin D3 modulated cytokine responses towards an anti-inflammatory profile by inhibiting the expression of various receptors located on immune cells such as TLR2 and TLR4, challenged with Candida albicans.

Research has shown that vitamin D3 acts as a fungicide and the liposoluble properties of this vitamin changed the integrity of fungal cell membranes, resulting in antifungal properties.

Recommended Product: Vitamin D3 & K2

Vitamin E

It has been shown that vitamin E has broad anti-inflammatory properties against Candida albicans by suppressing NF-κB activity.
Recommended Product: Vitamin E

Omega-3 fatty acids

Different studies have shown that EPA and DHA are beneficial not only to the health of the heart, brain, and eyes, but also to the immune system. There is evidence that polyunsaturated fatty acids and their ester derivatives are effective against a variety of oral pathogens, including C. albicans.
Recommended Product: Wild Alaskan Fish Oil

Selenium

A selenium nanoparticle has been shown to adhere to C. albicansbiofilms and then to penetrate this pathogen. Thus, selenium nanoparticles damage Candida albicans cell structure by substituting sulfur for selenium. In selenium-deficient mice infected with candida albicans, their livers and spleens had significantly higher fungal loads than those of mice receiving selenium supplements. In addition, selenium deficiency also impaired the ability of mouse neutrophils to kill Candida albicans in in vitro experiments.
Recommended Product: Selenium

Probiotics

It has been shown that Lactobacillus species decreased Candida albicans biofilms during both the colonisation and maturation phases of biofilm formation. In addition, Lactobacilli may inhibit Candida albicans growth through competition for nutrients and the production of lactic acid and other organic acids that reduce the pH.
Recommended Product: Rhamnosus GG and S. Boulardii

Prebiotics

Prebiotics modify the gut microbiome, both in composition and activity – both of which provide health benefits . Researchers showed that the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (more commonly just called FOS) were effective in preventing vaginal infections.
Recommended Product: Inulin-FOS

Postbiotics

Butyrate is formed by certain bacteria fermenting dietary fibre. It has been shown to strongly inhibit candida growth in a concentration-dependent manner, inhibit virulence traits and, importantly, significantly decrease yeast biofilm formation. Butyrate has also been shown to improve the anti-fungal activity of certain drugs. Notably, butyrate improved the anti-fungal activity of macrophages by enhancing the production of reactive oxygen species. The phagocytic rate and killing activity of macrophages significantly increased in the presence of butyrate. (source).
Recommended Product: Tributyrin.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Eat On Candida Diet?

A small number of studies have been conducted in order to examine the efficacy of new dietary approaches to face this pathology. In some of them, it has been shown that dietary composition, modification, and interventions in particular have marked impact on Candida abundance in the intestines. More specifically, it was noted that Candida abundance positively correlates with recent consumption of carbohydrates and nega- tively correlates with a diet high in amino acids, fatty acids and proteins. Foods to consume in these studies include:

  • Artificial sweeteners and stevia were allowed in beverages and meals.
  • 1-2 fruit servings per day is allowed, excluding those with high sugar content
  • Food made from whole grain wheat flour (bread and pasta), whole potatoes cooked, brown rice
  • Fish, preferably sea originating (mackerel, hake, tuna, salmon, sardines), seafood, low fat-white chicken meat – minimum 2 times a week
  • Yogurt and acidophilus drinks (yogurt with inulin and other probiotics)

(source)

What Can I Snack On Candida Diet?

It is recommended to avoid snacking while on a diet to support gut health. Focus on three meals per day, allowing at least 12 hours overnight without any food. If you need to snack for any reason, then any of the above foods will be fine to consume.

Are Oats Allowed On The Candida Diet?

Different clinical and experimental studies explored the potential role of β-glucans (present in oats, barley, fungi, and some algae) as prebiotics in the prevention of gut dysbiosis. The colonisation efficiency of Bifidobacterium strains was enhanced by feeding animals β-glucans in an in vivo model. Oral administration of β-glucans to mice resulted in a decrease in aerobic bacterial populations, especially E. coli and E. faecalis, as well as fungal populations, while Lactobacillus johnsonii and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicronpopulations significantly increased in a DSS-induced colitis model.

It is clear from these studies that β-glucans play an important role in modulating the immune response and improving the biodiversity of the gut microbiota.

What Bread Can I Eat On Candida Diet?

Wholegrain bread is allowed.

Can You Eat Rice On Candida Diet?

Yes you can eat wholegrain rice while on the candida diet. This was proven by a study (source) which used a tailored diet to help treat intestinal fungal overgrowth.

How Long Is The Candida Diet?

In studies that have investigated the role diet plays in candida overgrowth, the length of diet was up to 3 months.

Please note this was not an overly restrictive diet and ultimately is similar (if not identical) to how we should eat throughout life.

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