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What is the candida diet?

chandni

Reviewed byChandni Vadgama

Delicious wild salmon fillet and leafy greens in a bowl
Thrush: a common yeast infection that most women (and sometimes men) will have at some point in their lives. It’s not ideal and can be uncomfortable but it can be managed and potentially even prevented. 

Candida is the culprit behind thrush and a candida diet aims to stop it before it starts. Some people claim the candida diet restores the gut microbiota back to health by removing yeast from the diet. But many medical professionals believe it’s more to do with adopting healthier eating practices.

So, let’s take a look at what thrush is and how the candida diet may help.

What is candida?

Candida is the body’s most common fungus and is usually harmless.1 However, when candida overdevelops, it can cause yeast infections of the mouth and vagina, which we call thrush.

Even though it’s unpleasant, the good news is thrush usually clears up in one to two days after a course of antifungal medication.2 If you notice that you’re having recurring thrush, it’s important to go see your GP as it can be associated with things like chronic fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcers.3,4

According to our inhouse nutritionists, Chandni Vadgama and Leila Weller-Kis, "the overgrowth of Candida is also more common in people with a reduced immune function, as well as those who have had extensive antibiotic treatments, are very run down or have large amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates.”

What is thrush? A guide for men and women

A guide covering all you need to know about thrush, including causes and symptoms.

What is the candida diet?

The candida diet involves removing all flour, yeast and sugar, which you can replace with starch-free vegetables, proteins and healthy fats. Most plans also encourage taking supplements alongside to discourage yeast growth. According to Chandni, this is because “diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, increasing the risk of Candida overgrowth. It's also beneficial to increase fibre intake and prebiotic-rich foods to help feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.” In other words, you want your gut to welcome good bacteria but keep candida at bay.

For more info, we’ve put together a more extensive article on what the microbiome is.

Many scientists dispute the efficacy of the candida diet. Still, a recent study has revealed that certain sugars and carbohydrates encourage yeast growth.5 Another recent study proposed that increases in candida globally is due to increased consumption of carbohydrates.6

Dieticians who advocate the candida diet advise following the plan for six weeks, as that’s enough time to reset your gut’s microbiome.7 Be advised that if you have any medical conditions, please consult with your doctor before adopting the candida diet. It’s a highly restrictive diet which eliminates carbohydrates, a major food group.

When you first adopt the candida diet, you may experience symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and headaches. This is because the body’s entering a ketogenic state as it starts to burn fat now there are no carbohydrates in your system.8 But if you’re worried, we suggest speaking to your GP before starting a new or restrictive diet.

Does the candida diet help with gut health?

Well, the science behind the diet plan might be limited when it comes to thrush, but evidence suggests the diet can help inflammation in your gut. The foods you cut out are what can feed a Candida overgrowth and potentially damage your gut, so cutting them out should help with things like bloating, indigestion, nausea, diarrhoea, and gas9,10.

If you want to know more about gut health, specifically probiotics supporting gut health and promoting vaginal health, check out our article. You can always speak to one of our highly trained in store colleagues too, so find your nearest store.

Candida diet plan

While on a candida diet, you’re advised to cook with lean proteins, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and leafy green vegetables. You shouldn’t have more than 60g of carbohydrates each day though.

Foods to enjoy on the candida diet include:
  • wild fish
  • organic, grass-fed beef
  • free-range chicken
  • free-range eggs 
  • leafy greens, like watercress, kale, and spinach
  • cruciferous veg, like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage
  • spices
  • ginger
  • berries
  • fresh herbs olive oil
  • avocado
  • natural probiotic food sources, like yoghurt, kombucha, and kimchi
Foods to avoid on the candida diet include:
  • bread
  • flour-based products like pizza, bagels, and pretzels
  • artificially sweetened foods including chocolate, sweets, and ice cream
  • vinegar
  • mushrooms
  • dairy
  • alcohol
  • peanuts
Our nutritionists, Chandni and Lelia, recommend Bio-Kult Candéa Advanced Multi-Action Gut & Intimate Flora and Holland & Barrett Tribiotics Women's Intimate Health Capsules as “they’re great supplements with beneficial strains like lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, which help with candida overgrowth.” You could also try supplements that include berberine, caprylic acid, and activated charcoal to support you during your diet.7

The final say

So, the evidence might be light but the good news is eating foods that are good for your gut can’t be a bad thing! It’s important to do your research and make sure you’re not restricting yourself so much that it makes you miserable. And remember, any concerns around thrush or recurring thrush, speak to your GP.

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
 
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