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Candida: yeast infection, overgrowth - why does diet matter so much?

What you NEED to do to get rid of this invasive, health deleterious Yeast Infection for the sake of your present and long term health.

If you experience the above means your immune system has been unable to deal with the rising tide of microbes in the gut and other microbiomes of the body, and your healthy supporting bacteria and microbiome has been compromised. You cannot get rid of Candida with a pill, it may ease the symptoms but only commitment to changing your diet and inhibiting yeast growth with the right foods and supplements will allow your body to get control of this invasive infection. Dealing with a yeast infection properly will also support overall health of your microbiome and therefore all aspects of health.

This can be caused by high carb/sugar diet, lowered resistance due to stress, illness and disease but, one of the main causes is taking antibiotics on top of an already challenged ‘microbial imbalance’ in the gut and other areas of the body.

The areas affected are where there is delicate epithelial tissue like the digestive tract, the vagina, urinary tract and the tissues in your mouth. If you have Candida in one place, you likely have it in other places. The gut is the most concerning place as this influences all other microbiomes.

Having a Candida overgrowth in the body can be miserable because it creates a toxic environment that causes local inflammation (bloating and discomfort) plus it produces toxins that can affect mental health and brain function and overall systemic inflammation (Joint, cardiovascular and energy production in the mitochondria) It can affect every aspect of your life.

Medically it is not taken as seriously as it should be. Doctors don’t take it as a sign that the body is crying out for help, they normally prescribe an antifungal medication or cream and hope for the best. Candida can cause tissue damage in the urogenital tract and go on the cause a UTI. Now the vicious cycle begins as your GP will prescribe antibiotics for the infection that was only able to get a hold due to the tissue damage caused by thrush. With more antibiotics the thrush gets an even stronger hold!

In general GPs will not give dietary advice as they are not trained. So, you take the antibiotics and carry as normal. You may not be aware that every single tiny bit of sugar or refined starches you now consume are going to feed the Candida over and over again.

If when you had taken that first course of antibiotics you had the knowledge of what to do to guard against Candida overgrowth, wouldn’t you want to use that to stop the future misery that you will experience? It’s not just Candida, other microbes and pathogenic bacteria can now get a stronger foot hold. This can mean that the microbes your body and brain were relying on to produce the nutrients needed to stay healthy are now going to be lacking. We need the short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like Butyrate to repair and fuel gut lining cells and keep the digestive tract protected and healthy. This is produced by beneficial bacteria breaking down fibre in the diet. Antibiotics can almost wipe these out, but they can re-establish themselves if you consume the right foods and take probiotics to aid the process.

Candida establishes itself due to multiple factors:

- Antibiotic use and/or

- Excessive alcohol consumption and/or

- Excessive sugar consumption

- Excessive refined carbohydrate consumption

- Junk food and drinks

- Very low fibre diets

- Other medications

Exacerbated by:

- Nutrient deficiencies

- Stress and grief

- Lowered immunity (through illness )

- Exhaustion

- Lack of sleep

Other considerations

- Reinfected post sex with partner who has not been treated.

- Other infections like parasites that effect balance in the gut.

It figures then that you need to approach the ‘Healing’ of Candida infection in a multifactorial way.

To make things easier I am going to create 3 lists: Don’t, Do and Try.

For at least 4 weeks - longer if you can....


- Don’t eat ANY sugar whatsoever for at least a month but longer of you can.

- Don’t consume/refined/white foods like bread, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies, crackers etc.

- Don’t eat fruit – except what I have listed below.

- Don’t drink fruit juice at all, not in yogurt or smoothies either.

- Don’t touch fizzy or sweet drinks – these simple MUST go.

- Don’t add sugar to food or drink.

- Don’t use sweeteners at all as these have a negative effect on healthy gut microbes.

- Don't consume any alcohol, when you finally do, choose the kind without yeast (avoid wine and beer).

- Don’t eat just cooked potato – see below.

- Don’t eat sweet potato or other starchy root veg like parsnips (for now)

- Don’t eat potato chips, other starchy deep fried or baked snacks.

- Don’t overeat pulses like chickpeas or beans as these contain starches.

- Don’t consume whey powder, milk or cows’ cheeses.

- Don’t use starchy alternative milks like oat milk – check sugar content.

- Don’t consume foods with gluten in.

- Don’t eat peanuts, cashews or pistachios due to high mycotoxins.

- Don’t eat non-organic meat – especially chicken as have low grade antibiotic effect due to amount of medical antibiotics the animals are fed to ‘fatten’ them up.

- Don’t consume too much animal protein even though this might be tempting due to removing much from your diet.

- Don’t consume dried fruit (except goji berries)

- Don’t overeat eggs – eggs are fine to include in your diet, but can cause issue if overeaten. Try not to eat every day and choose organic.


- Do consume healthy proteins.

- Do eat papaya with its seeds – proven to reduce Candida in studies. Add onion and coriander seeds – a tri-power packed recipe for fighting candida.

- Do eat Fermented foods – Kefir, kimchi (some say no, I say yes)

- Do increase your fibre by a lot (be prepared for some gas and discomfort as your microbiome gets used to this and changes accordingly)

- Do eat lots of leafy vegetables.

- Do try eating vegetables that you don’t normally.

- Do make soups and stews to help create meals that are satisfying.

- Do try to make fibre smoothies that are not too sweet – use berries and papaya, kefir, and celery, spinach.

- Use pea protein powder to increase satiety (feeling full).

- Do eat Tempeh – fermented Soya bean.

- Do eat fish, organic chicken, lean organic beef, venison.

- Use green powders to detoxify the gut and whole body and provide extra nutrients.

- Use strong spices like cloves, turmeric, ginger as these help inhibit growth of Candida.

- Use fresh and dried herbs: Oregano, sage, thyme and Rosemary – all antifungals.

- Do use garlic prolifically. If you don’t have a sensitive stomach – you can swallow small pieces of fresh garlic or crush fresh garlic into foods without cooking it.

- Do use raw onions as these are anti-fungal – when you chop – leave them for 10-15 minutes as this increase Allicin the main property that wipes out yeast.

- Do increase cruciferous vegetables as these contain high amounts of sulphur and Indoles that promote health in the gut and liver. Indoles increase the programmed cell death in Yeast infections. - Do eat a small amount of cooled steamed potato past the first two weeks as this contains resistant starch which feeds only the 'good' bacteria.

- Do increase mushrooms like shitake and oyster even normal chestnut – these do help immune system and the beta-glucan support the microbiome and they stimulate white blood cell production.

- Do eat certain nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia and flax seeds.

- Do use coconut oil – contains caprylic acid and lauric acid both are anti-microbial. Needs to be cold pressed and preferably organic. You can cook/bake with it but don’t over do it. You can also do an oral clean by keeping the coconut oil in your mouth for a few minutes swishing it around then spitting it out. Then swallowing a fresh teaspoon of the oil. BUT if leaky gut is suspected – avoid coconut oil completely which can be so when you have a severe candida infection, the fats allow LPS toxins Lipopolysaccharides or LPS are bacterial toxins that can health issues if they reach the bloodstream via tissue damage in the gut. Be wary of this. Many types of fat causes this. It’s why healing a leaky gut is so important.

- Use psyllium husk fibre to help bind to toxins as the Candida dies off.

- Do use healthy extra virgin olive oil, this and antimicrobial and very health supportive. Avoid heating but add to all foods post cooking. Use light olive oil or avocado oil to cook with.

- Do include some cheeses like goat’s cheddar and feta. Small amounts of mozzarella may be okay.

- Do use Tomatoes and bell peppers and aubergines only IF you are not sensitive to nightshade foods (suffer severe inflammation, arthritis, immune dysfunction, gout) you may want to avoid these in the first 4 weeks of dietary treatment.

Do use targeted supplements:

o Saccharomyces boullardii (friendly yeast- take every time you eat anything with carbs plus take on empty morning stomach)

o Vitamin C – support immune function.

o High strength probiotics with prebiotic foods (fibre)

o Use regular courses of Urva Ursi – best gut antimicrobial – consult an Herbalist of Nutritional Therapist for safest way to use.

o Caprylic acid complex – these can be very strong avoid taking on an empty stomach.

o Fish oil – vital for anti-inflammatory properties, also has anti-microbial effect on yeast/candida.

o Lecithin granules – help digest fats and contain health supporting choline.

Use Pyllium husk fibre or powder - nourishes and supports only beneficial bacteria


- Try Apple cider vinegar can help take in water as a tonic.

- Medical mushrooms – Lion’s Main, reishi and other forms – take the powder in smoothies, or chicory cup or your small morning coffee.

- Intermittent fasting – this will give your digestive tract a chance to cleanse and restore without the pressure to digest at the same time. The evening is best for blood sugar.

- Yoga is very helpful to gut health due to the movement that compresses and massages the abdomen and lengthens and nourishes all nerve endings and reduces stress and supports immune function.

- Acupuncture to support immune system (sometime Chinese herbs can be very helpful – but you must tell them anything else that you are taking)

- Complete GI and Liver detox – you can consult a Nutritional Therapist to guide you.

- Hiking in the wilds – getting into the fresh air and being around the amazing chemicals that are emitted by the trees, plants and mosses that are in the forests is so very supportive to our

immune system.

- Beach walking and cold water (I say dunking) swimming can boost immunity in the gut.

Acceptable ‘sweet’ foods:

- Blueberries

- Goji berries

- Cranberries

- Bitter apples in small amounts

- Hard non-sweetened pairs

- Tahini sesame spread.

- Pumpkin seed butter

- Fresh coconut

- Cinnamon

- Cardamom

- Cocoa nibs/powder

- Lemon, lime and orange peel

- Ginger


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