If you suspect you may be suffering from symptoms of candida, or a yeast infection of some sort, first you should consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If he or she determines Candida is the cause of your symptoms you may want to follow an anti Candida diet to help get your bacteria levels back in check.
What Causes A Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is a bacterium that occurs naturally in the human gut. In healthy individuals Candida is usually kept in check, but an overgrowth of it can occur under certain circumstances. It most often becomes a problem when the immune system is compromised or as a result of taking antibiotics. When the immune system isn’t fully functioning it may not keep the good and bad bacteria in check, resulting in an overgrowth. Unfortunately the use, or overuse, of antibiotics can also cause a Candida problem because the antibiotics destroy the beneficial bacteria in the human gut and as a consequence the ‘vacant’ areas are colonized by the Candida causing an overgrowth and the unpleasant symptoms that result from this overgrowth.
Treatment Through An Anti Candida Diet
Many people in the natural health industry feel that one of the best ways to treat a candida overgrowth is through a change in diet. This change can be rather drastic compared to what is considered a normal diet so it can be difficult for many people to follow. The reason for this is that your main goal is to deprive the bacterium of its food source, and the food it thrives on is carbohydrates, especially simple sugars. The thought is that without its regular food source, the Candida cannot reproduce as rapidly and thus you can stop the overgrowth. This will give the beneficial bacteria a chance to proliferate and help your body gain a healthy balance again.
What To Eat And What To Avoid
Because the goal of an anti candida diet is to starve the candida by severely limiting carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates and simple sugars, you need to avoid simple, refined sugars completely. This means the obvious things like candy, soda, and baked goods, but you should also avoid sugar or honey in your coffee or tea and any other form of sugar you may eat. Read labels as you may be surprised to learn how many foods contain added sugar. You will also want to avoid seemingly healthy foods like fruit during this time, as they contain higher levels of sugar too.
Instead eat plenty of low carbohydrate vegetables including cabbage, cauliflower, kale, avocados, spinach, peppers, garlic and onions. High complex carbohydrate vegetables such as potato, beans and grains can be eaten but try keep their consumption low to moderate. Eat quality proteins as well as almonds, walnuts and pecans.
You will also want to avoid foods made with yeasts such as yeast breads, beer and cheese. Some nutritionists feel that mushrooms should be avoided during this diet too because they are a fungi.
Although following this type of diet can be challenging, especially initially, with the right attitude you can turn this to an advantage and use it as a way to develop healthier eating habits. This restrictive diet is meant to be temporary, but you may want to incorporate some aspects of it into your regular lifestyle (like reducing sugar consumption and eating more healthy vegetables).
Does This Really Work?
There is actually some controversy as to whether or not an anti candida diet actually works. Many people in the natural health industry strongly believe this is an effective way to re-balance populations of good and bad bacteria and alleviate a number of symptoms that may be related to a candida overgrowth.
Medical professionals, however, argue that this type of diet largely helps eliminate symptoms because it cuts out a large portion of processed foods and it is healthier than the average diet. They argue that the main benefit of an anti Candida diet is that you will cut out unhealthy processed foods and simple sugars, and eat more whole foods, which will result in a better overall feeling.
Before you make a decision for yourself you may want to do some research on both sides of the issue. Keep in mind following this type of diet is temporary and it doesn’t have any negative side effects; in fact because you are cutting out a lot of unhealthy foods you may notice you feel better and have more energy while following it. Most people won’t notice a significant difference until following it for at least four weeks, but for some people it will take a few months.