What the heck is candida, anyway?
It's a nasty little fungus that, if overgrown, can set up camp in your body and wreak havoc on your body, causing irritability, exhaustion, and digestion issues to name a few. Check out 10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth & What To Do About It to learn how it becomes overgrown and common symptoms to look for.
Hands down, the hardest part of treating Candida overgrowth is the diet. When I tell my clients we have to starve the yeast by eliminating all sugar from their diet they say, “No problemo Meredith, I barely eat any sugar anyway.”
I pause, letting them bask in confidence for a moment, knowing that when I say sugar they think processed sugar—cupcakes, cookies etc.
Then I calmly explain that I mean sugar in any shape or form, including fruit sugars, and complex carbohydrates like grains. I pause again, and watch their eyes get wide. This is where the real coaching starts.
Below I have listed My Top 10 foods to eat and avoid if you've got candida. Some are obvious and some may be shocking, but my goal is to help you create a diet that remains diverse and fulfilling, as well as save you from making some of the common mistakes I see.
Top 10 Foods to EAT if You've Got Candida
1. Coconut Oil: It's a potent antifungal and also an immune system strengthener.
2. Garlic: It has powerful antifungal properties to attack Candida.
3. Onions: They have strong anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties.
4. Seaweed: It flushes toxic pollutants and heavy metals from the body.
5. Rutabaga: Although it looks and feels like a potato or turnip (which are higher in sugar and should be eaten in moderation), rutabaga has very strong antifungal properties and makes one hell of a baked french fry alternative.
6. Ginger: This naturally detoxes the body, increasing circulation and detoxifying the liver.
7. Olive Oil: It contains a plant chemical named Oleuropein, a powerful anti-fungal, and has been proven to balance blood sugar.
8. Lemon and lime Juice: They stimulate the peristaltic action of your colon, which helps gets things moving through your digestive tract. These are amazing cleansers.
9. Pumpkin Seeds: They're high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties.
10. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: Raw apple cider vinegar is rich in natural enzymes, encourages the growth of healthy bacteria, and balances your body's pH level.
Top 10 Foods to AVOID if You've Got Candida
1. Fruits & fruit juices: Although the sugar is natural, they still feed the candida.
2. Breaded, cured & smoked meats & fish: They're often loaded with sugar or sulfates.
3. Condiments: Common ones such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and soy sauce are mostly sugar and/or vinegar. Note that Eden Organic makes great mustard with Apple Cider Vinegar which is the only vinegar allowed on the Candida Diet.
4. Sugar alternatives: This includes honey, agave, rice syrup, molasses etc. These are still sugar, unfortunately.
5. Corn, peanuts & pistachios: They carry mold. Bummer.
6. Beans & grains: High in carbohydrates which readily convert to sugar when digested.
7. Soy products: If you are still on the soy bandwagon, this is your stop.
8. Dairy products: Unless it's fermented, forget it. Milk contains lactose, which is a sugar.
9. Alcohol: Not only high in sugar, alcohol is also tough on the immune system.
10. Mushrooms & pickles: Not similar but equally sad to eliminate. Mushrooms are yeast themselves and pickles are made from vinegar (usually not Apple Cider Vinegar).
While adopting this diet isn’t easy, the rewards can be profound—increased energy, clearer thinking, and fewer cravings. I encourage you to stick with it and learn to live to your fullest potential. Keep me posted!
Ready to learn more about how gut health is the foundation for the health of your entire body? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Vincent Pedre.