Candida Yeast and Food

When someone has overgrowth of Candida yeast, the type of food they eat is crucial to the recovery process. Although Candidiasis can effect any part of the body, it originates in the gastrointestinal tract. Yeast organisms live in the gut and they survive by converting sugars into the energy they need to live. Once they proliferate they can then permeate the lining of the gut, enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.

Controlling the diet is one of the chief means of reducing their ability to thrive. Since Candida’s primary source of food is sugar, that is the most important food that must be removed from your diet. The more refined sugar or sugary foods that you eat the more fuel you provide for the little beast, and the more food that it has to delight in, then the more it will proliferate. The more it proliferates, the more symptoms and discomfort you will experience. Your symptoms will diminish once you stop providing nourishment for your yeast. Combine that with probiotics and antifungals and you enable your healthier organisms to reestablish some homeostasis.

Sugar comes in a variety of forms and is labeled under different names. The one you are most familiar with is white sugar and it’s cousins, brown sugar and powdered sugar. These are the biggest villains and must be cut out of the picture immediately. Eating these sugars is like providing your Candida yeast with an intravenous source of it’s favorite food and it will grow like a wild weed out of control.

However, there are other sugars that go by the name of lactose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, fructose, maltose, maple sugar, date sugar, molasses, honey and organic cane sugar, organic cane syrup or organic cane juice. Candida loves these equally as well and they too must be removed.

Additionally refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup contribute to a variety of other health conditions like obesity, type II diabetes, weakening the immune system, depression, hypoglycemia, anxiety and hyperactivity. The food you eat is also important because if you’re not eating nutritious food then you’re body isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs to function properly and support a healthy immune system. This leaves the body more vulnerable to yeast invasion as well.

Some people may say, “hey I don’t really eat sugar.” They think that because they aren’t eating cookies and candy bars that they are safe, but that is not the case. Sugar is found in almost all commercial foods. It is added to almost everything as a preservative and to make it taste better. You’ll find sugar in breakfast cereal, ketchup, peanut butter, bread, salad dressing, pancake syrup, crackers, juices, fruit drinks and canned vegetables. It’s even in your salt and healthier foods like energy bars or granola bars. You must become a very avid label reader to keep sugar out of your diet.

Many health minded people may not understand why organic sugar, syrup and juice is on this list, because they have read that these are healthy sugars. Well that is partially true, but not so in regard to Candida. Organic sugar is typically not stripped of it’s nutritional value, so it is true that it is healthier than white sugar. However, sugar is sugar, when it comes to yeast. It does not differentiate between organic or traditional and will proliferate equally with either one. If you’re going to indulge in some sugar, organic is always the better choice for your body, however be aware that Candida will indulge as well.

Other types of sugar to watch out for include barley malt, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave and fruit juice sweeteners. Every now and then, if you really must give in to your sweet cravings, or you have a special occasion to celebrate that calls for a dessert, then these are the sweeteners you should choose, but they should still be minimized. Each of these kinds of sugar are not as detrimental to your health or Candida yeast overgrowth as other sugars, however yeast will still feast on them. These sugars are absorbed slower in the body and therefore are not consumed by Candida as quickly. The more refined a sugar is, the quicker it is digested by the body, and the easier it is for yeast to eat. The easier it is for the yeast to eat, then the more it will proliferate and the more symptoms you will have.

These natural more nutritious sweeteners are better for the immune system, provide the body with some nutritional value and have a less negative impact on other health conditions like type II diabetes and hypoglycemia as well. There is an herb called stevia, that can be used as a sweetener and it will not feed yeast at all, nor will it affect diabetes or blood sugar levels. When possible, stevia, should be the sweetener of choice. The second less offensive sweetener for Candida as well as blood sugar is agave.

It’s not only sugar that must be removed from the diet, but all refined carbohydrates. All carbohydrates and starches are broken down into sugar in the body. Foods that are refined and processed are also broken down more quickly by the body. So if your diet is high in refined and processed carbohydrates like bread, noodles, chips, crackers, anything with flour etc., then Candida converts these foods very quickly into sugar and proliferates. All simple carbohydrates as well as alcohol, yeast and caffeine should be removed. When you drink caffeine, it triggers the liver to dump sugar into the blood stream and alcohol is a very refined sugar.

Many people find that, especially in the early stages of following a diet for Candida yeast that even healthy and nutritious complex carbohydrates that are naturally high in sugar like fruit, yams, beans, whole grains, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and carrots, will have to be minimized because they too are broken down into sugar in the body and will encourage yeast overgrowth. Since these foods are whole foods and they break down more slowly in the body, they will not make yeast proliferate as quickly or intensely as sugar and refined carbohydrates, but can still be troublesome for those with severe overgrowth. Pears, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are the lowest in sugar as far as fruits, so they can eaten a little more freely.

At this point, you may be wondering what you have left to eat. You’ll make the most progress if you stick with a simple and basic diet of protein and vegetables. This may include beef, chicken, buffalo, lamb, turkey, fish or ostrich as well as lots of low carbohydrate vegetables like spinach, cucumbers, cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, avocados, green beans, cabbage and anything green and leafy. Butter, yogurt, eggs, nutritious oils like olive, sunflower, and safflower may be included as well. Nuts and seeds should be included if possible, but some people may find these troublesome as well because of mold or carbohydrate content.

There’s no doubt about it, sticking to a diet that discourages Candida yeast overgrowth is an extremely challenging adjustment. It’s usually a process that takes time and often involves falling off the wagon from time to time. When setbacks occur, don’t allow this to be a reason to give up all together. You must make a commitment to your health, be determined and self-disciplined, however you should also be forgiving and accepting of imperfection. As you begin to see results and improvement in your health, you’ll feel motivated and inspired and it will get easier.

It’s also important to keep in mind that food alone will not overcome a yeast problem. It will reduce your symptoms drastically, however, it needs to be part of a comprehensive plan that addresses other factors like colon health, identifying nutritional deficiencies, managing stress, balancing the pH of the body, eliminating heavy metals, reducing environmental toxins and taking probiotics and antifungals as well. When you make the right choices in food, it supports the body so the other steps you take will be more effective.

Although the changes in diet that must be made are difficult, don’t forget that in addition to reducing Candida yeast, you’ll also be making changes that encourage better health all around. Thousands of people attribute success in overcoming a variety of debilitating health conditions or symptoms by simply following a healthier diet as suggested. So you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by eliminating sugar and refined garbage food from your life in the long run.

Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is a holistic health counselor who has researched Candida and it’s impact on our physical and mental health for almost two decades. Her knowledge is enriched with personal experience in combating the condition herself. Learn how Candida Albicans can affect your mental and physical health and how the Diet for Candida can help you.

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