Candida albicans is a fungal organism that is present in the human intestinal tract in small quantities. However, if the 'good' intestinal bacteria that keep it under control are destroyed or the immune function is compromised, then Candida populations increase rapidly and invade and colonize body tissues. While it most commonly manifests in the form of a vaginal yeast infection or oral thrush, it can cause a number of other symptoms, few of them being diarrhea, constipation, rectal itching, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), flatulence, food sensitivity, chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder inflammation, eczema, acne, hives, loss of sex drive, irritability, insomnia, poor circulation, and easy bruising.
The best, and according to some, the only way to beat candidiasis is through your diet. One is advised to follow a diet plan that excludes food items containing yeast, for at least a month. In conjunction with the diet, one must consume vitamins and minerals, as well as certain antifungal medication to detoxify the liver and kill off the yeast. If the effects are positive, and you find your symptoms dissipating, then you can continue it for a longer duration.
Foods to Avoid
Given below are the foods and food products that should be avoided at all costs in a yeast-free diet:
- Concentrated Sugars: All forms of concentrated sugars need to be avoided such as maple syrup, honey, fruit juices, brown sugar, and dried fruits. All processed sugar and products containing high-fructose corn syrup are a no-no. If a food product has a high glycemic index, then you need to avoid it.
- Foods Containing Yeast: Any foods that contain yeast have no place in your diet schedule. Alcohol tops the list, as yeast is produced during fermentation. You need to forgo wine, beer, and all other forms of alcohol. Other sources of yeast are rolls, breads, cookies, pretzels, pastries, and sweet rolls. Do not use vinegar or foods containing vinegar, i.e. mustard, pickles, olives, salad dressings, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, etc. You may use B complex vitamins and selenium products, only if you find yeast-free versions (check the labels). Also to be avoided are ready foods such as dry roasted nuts, soups, potato chips, cider, and natural root beer.
- Foods Containing Mold and Mold-Supporting Foods: This includes pickled, smoked or dried fish, meats, and poultry. All types of cheese, whether aged or fresh must be declined. Other products are cured pork bacon, tempeh, mushrooms, tamari, and miso. Check and discard herbs and teas that may be moldy, and do not eat peanuts, peanut products, and pistachios. While you may freely use fresh tomatoes, canned or prepared tomatoes must not be used. Avoid malt and malt-containing foods.
Foods to Include
The above mentioned exclusions may leave the reader wondering what's left, but fret not, there are many options, and they are listed below. Here is what you include in your food plan:
- Fresh Vegetables: There is no restriction on vegetables, which may be prepared any way, but are best eaten raw or lightly steamed. One is strongly advised to include dark green leafy vegetables.
- Protein: Without protein no diet will be balanced. Include it in the form of fresh beef, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, and shellfish. If you can get organic versions, that would be great!
- Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbs also have an important place in one's diet, so include grains (rice, buckwheat, barley, millet, couscous), whole grain oatmeal, beans (kidney, lima, red beans), and certain types of pasta (whole wheat, corn, and rice). However, limit your consumption to 15 grams of carbs per meal.
- Oils: Among the oils, unrefined sesame, olive, safflower, and corn oil can be used. Instead of using a ready salad dressing, a mixture of lemon juice with olive oil works well.
- Fruits and Nuts: Three fruits daily are the suggested amount. However, if you find yourself reacting to them, then restrict your consumption to twice in a week. Also, refrain from grapes, raisins, dates, prunes, and figs. Don't eat any unprocessed nuts and seeds.
- Drinks: Sugary sodas are discouraged, leaving mineral or spring water, soy milk, and unprocessed nut milk.
The ideal way to make the diet plan work for you is by modifying it according to the way your body reacts to different food products. To make your job easier, collect recipes from magazines, books, and the Internet. Ensure you stay off sugars, cheese, vinegar, refined foods, and cakes. Albeit not easy, try your best to follow the suggested diet plan and benefits are sure to follow.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.