Candida Diet Guidelines
Return To Main Guide
|Candida Diets: Do They Work?
Many women who experience recurrent bouts of Candida yeast infections, may find it worthwhile to look at their everyday diet. Candida (specifically Candida albicans) is a yeast-like fungus which naturally occurs in the vaginal region. When the pH balance is upset, the fungus can proliferate causing a yeast infection. An anti-Candida diet works on the basis of excluding yeast and sugar (which ferments into yeast) to correct the pH balance. Some doctors argue that there is little medical proof that excluding yeast from a diet reduces the risks of yeast infections. Instead they insist the best method is to follow a healthy balanced diet. Alternative practitioners disagree and insist banning yeast, as well as sugar, and all forms of mold and fungus does help those with recurrent Candida. In practice, the only way to know if it will work for you is to try it. If you do follow to a Candida diet, you should note improvements within 2-4 weeks, if results are to occur.
What Foods Should I Eliminate?
The Candida diet should be followed as strictly as possible for about 3 weeks. It will mean eliminating many of your favorite foods, but if you start to experience benefits, the sacrifice will be worth it. The first 3 weeks are considered Phase One of the plan. In Phase Two you can gradually start to reintroduce food, testing as you go for allergic responses.
All Types of Sugar
1. Avoid regular table sugar, brown sugar, syrup, maple syrup and molasses.
Read food labels carefully, if the words sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, lactose, glucose, mannitol, sorbitol, polysaccharides, galactose, monosaccharides or white grape juice concentrate appear, extra sugar has been added. Currently about 50 percent of all carbohydrates eaten by Americans are in the form of sugars added to foods.
Milk & Dairy Products
Milk is high in lactose which promotes the overgrowth of Candida. Lactose is also one of the most common food allergies which cause disruption to the digestive system. Milk can also contain traces of antibiotics which were fed to the cow. Antibiotics can disrupt the natural healthy bacterial flora of the vagina, promoting overgrowth of Candida. Avoid milk (whole, skim and no fat), powdered milk, cheese, butter and yogurt.
All Foods Containing Yeast
It is good to avoid all foods which contain yeast or mold, if not on a continual basis, then at least during an attack of Candida (or thrush). Foods high in yeast or mold include cheese, dried fruits, alcohol and peanuts. Yeast products include bread, crackers, pastries, bagels, cereals, white flour, cookies, pasta and muffins. Vinegar is also made using a yeast culture, so avoid all pickled foods, salad dressing, relishes, mayonnaise, soy sauce, mustard, chili sauce and ketchup.
Most store processed foods like pizza, potato chips and pretzels contain foods which contain either yeast or refined simple sugars.
Establishing Food Allergies
Food allergies are often discovered in women with yeast infections. A food allergy arises when an adverse reaction to a food ingested occurs. A classic food allergy is when a molecule of the food acts as an antigen and binds to special white blood cells called mast cells or basophils. This binding action causes the body to release histamines which in turn cause inflammation and swelling. There are 2 basic types of allergies: cyclic and fixed. Cyclic allergies account for nearly 90 percent of cases. Cyclic allergies slowly develop by repetitive eating of a food. If the food is avoided for a period of time (4 or 5 months) it may be reintroduced and tolerated - ONLY - if eaten in small amounts. A fixed allergy occurs whenever a food is eaten, no matter if it is avoided and reintroduced. The number of people developing food allergies in America is dramatically rising. Some doctors claim that food allergies account for most undiagnosed symptoms that the population suffer. Stress, pollution and genetic manipulation of plants and meat in the food chain probably all contribute to this. There are two main ways of diagnosing a food allergy: (1) Food elimination diet and (2) Laboratory tests. An elimination diet involves eating a limited diet and gradually introducing suspected foods. Lab tests generally involve skin prick tests or blood tests.
Candida Diet: Side Effects
Women who have a chronic case of Candida overgrowth may experience what is known as a 'die-off' when they first start a Candida diet. This means that the millions of Candida yeast cells which are in the vagina and digestive tract start to die. When they do, metabolic products are released into the body. This can mean that symptoms of yeast infections such as abdominal pain, depression, aches and irritability initially worsen. Try not to be tempted to give up if this happen. It is a good thing, although it may not feel like it! Drink plenty of water and take a vitamin C and E supplement. This will help arm your body to deal with the toxins being released.
Once you have completed the 3 weeks Candida diet plan, it is time to start reintroducing foods. To test if you are allergic to yeast, eat a couple of bites of moldy cheese such as brie or blue cheese. If you have no reaction, the next day add some vinegar to a salad dressing and test your response. If you do have a response, then you will need to work on gradually releasing yeast back into your diet, and long-term keep it to a minimum. Next test your response to sugar by eating a banana, apple, strawberries or orange. If you show no symptoms, chances are you can eat fruit in moderation. Feel your way gradually, do not overdo any one food that was excluded in the diet. Over a period of another 4 to 6 weeks you should discover your personal trigger foods. Continue to monitor your reaction to food, and if you experience a recurrence of symptoms, take a look at what you ate.
Next: See Yeast Infection Diet Plan
|Related Articles on Candida Diet Guidelines
For more health issues, see the following:
Return To Homepage: Womens Health Advice