If you struggle with Candida — or have stubborn and recurring Candida overgrowth – you’ve probably tried the Anti-Candida diet. I bet it worked, too. However, people often finish the Candida diet and then go back to eating the way they did before.
The Candida diet is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet intended to eliminate the sugars that feed Candida overgrowth. It focuses on non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, bean sprouts, beets, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower), leafy greens… the list goes on. However, there are a few foods allowed on the Candida diet that can be problematic for some people, such as nightshade vegetables, legumes, and corn. This is why I created the anti-Candida diet.
I’m going to tell you what foods the strongest candida killers in the anti-Candida diet are, why you should avoid some foods that are allowed on the traditional Candida diet, and tell you about my all-in-one, step-by-step solution, for tackling Candida overgrowth. Before I do that, let’s have a quick review of Candida overgrowth.
What is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is a fungus, a form of yeast that lives in your mouth and gut in small amounts. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption. It is a part of your body’s normal microflora — the microorganisms that live in a delicate balance in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina in women, and on your skin.
Ideally, your good bacteria, bad bacteria, and Candida (among other forms of yeast, viruses, and even mites) that make up your gut microbiome exist in a balanced state. In fact, I like to think of your gut microbiome as a rainforest, with many different species living together in harmony. When one species gets out of balance in your rainforest, everything gets out of control. When this balance is tipped between Candida and other microorganisms, Candida overgrowth occurs.
Candidiasis, or yeast overgrowth, is very common and causes Candida overgrowth symptoms such as bloating, constipation, rashes, fungal infections, fatigue, brain fog, and mood swings. Candida can overgrow in your mouth; however, it more commonly overgrows in your intestines. When it’s overproduced there, it breaks down the wall of your intestines, causing leaky gut.
If you have a leaky gut, Candida, and other toxins including food particles, can then directly enter your bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these particles can reach any part of your body. Your immune system tags them as invaders and attacks them, causing your inflammatory response — including the production of white blood cells — to kick into high gear. Your body is great at dealing with acute inflammation.1
Candida overgrowth is one of the most common conditions I saw in my clinic, especially among autoimmune patients. I’ve seen thousands of people with digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, mood swings, and more – all caused by Candida overgrowth.
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune or thyroid condition, or experience any of the following symptoms, chances are you have some degree of Candida overgrowth.
How to Treat Candida Overgrowth Using the Anti-Candida Diet
Treating Candida overgrowth doesn’t just involve stopping the growth with the anti-Candida diet. It also means restoring the friendly bacteria that usually keep them in check so that it doesn’t return. I’ll talk more about the Candida diet in just a moment. Following the Candida diet, along with my proven three-step approach can help repair your gut so that the overgrowth can no longer enter your bloodstream.
1. Starve the Yeast
First, you want to starve the Candida, which feeds off of sugar,2 refined carbohydrates, and yeast-containing foods. For this reason, you’ll remove all gluten, sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, dried fruit, fruit juices, and fermented foods as part of your Candida diet. Fermented foods not only feed good bacteria, but they also feed Candida. I also recommend limiting legumes and grains to 1 cup a day or eliminating them from your Candida diet completely.
2. Attack the Candida
Once you’ve eliminated toxic and inflammatory foods from your Candida diet, next, you’ll want to attack the Candida by taking supplements that help break down the cell wall of yeast cells. I use GI Microb-X as well as Caprylic Acid. GI Microb-X supports microbe balance in the GI tract and discourages the growth of yeast while Caprylic Acid helps penetrate intestinal mucosal cells to exert the effect of yeast. Both GI Microb-X and Caprylic Acid are excellent at helping to break down the walls of Candida cells and are the strongest candida killers I have on hand.
3. Repopulate the Gut
The final step to the anti-Candida diet is to repopulate your gut with good bacteria using a high-potency probiotic to keep Candida under control. While battling Candida overgrowth, I recommend a probiotic supplement containing 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) to restore your gut’s healthy microbial balance.
The Candida Diet vs. The Anti-Candida Diet
As I mentioned earlier, the Candida diet is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet intended to eliminate the sugars that feed Candida overgrowth. However, the Candida diet allows for a lot of foods that can be inflammatory for some people. Hence, the need for the anti-Candida diet.
Problems with the Typical Anti-Candida Diet
The traditional Candida diet includes nightshade vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers), legumes, certain dairy products, and “gluten-free” grains. Many people have sensitivities to these foods. If you suspect you have a sensitivity to these foods, I recommend doing a 30-day elimination diet and then reintroducing these foods one at a time and track your symptoms.
I recommend following an anti-Candida diet for anyone with Candida overgrowth. In addition to removing toxic and inflammatory foods, an anti-Candida diet focuses on increasing your intake of foods known to be strong Candida killers, which I will talk about in a minute.
Candida Foods to Avoid
Let’s talk about the foods that kill Candida that are included in the Candida diet, and the ones you should avoid on the anti-Candida diet.
1. Sugar and Sweeteners
Sugar especially affects Candida overgrowth as yeast feeds on sugar. That being said, you will want to cut out all sugar and sweeteners. This includes artificial sweeteners. The key here is avoiding not just the obvious sources such as sodas, candy, cakes, and cookies, but also the sugar lurking in unexpected places, including salad dressings, low-fat packaged foods and protein bars. Make sure to carefully check all of your food labels for hidden sources of sugar while following a Candida diet, or if you’re considering upgrading to the anti-Candida diet.
2. Wine and Beer
It is particularly important to cut out beer and wine while getting your yeast in check. Wine is not only fermented (meaning it is made from yeast), it is also high in sugar. And beer, which is also fermented, contains gluten. All of these factors contribute to Candida.
3. Dried Fruit and Fruit Juices
Although some fruits such as berries can be part of an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich diet, they are high in sugar and still feed Candida. Dried fruit and fruit juice can be major culprits of yeast overgrowth. They may seem like healthy options, however, they’re not. In addition to natural fruit sugars (which is still sugar, even though it’s natural!), dried fruit and fruit juice are usually full of added sugars as well.
4. Gluten and Grains
Gluten is highly inflammatory and should be removed completely from your diet. It’s also a grain, and all grains are broken down into simple sugars during the digestive process, which feeds Candida overgrowth. Even so-called gluten-free grains such as millet, quinoa, oat bran, and buckwheat could have come in contact with gluten. The anti-Candida diet eliminates grains of any kind, while some grains are allowed on the Candida diet.
5. Beans and Other Legumes
Even though beans and legumes provide a great plant protein, they are starchy and feed Candida.3
Legumes can also be inflammatory for many people because they contain agglutinins. Like grains, legumes are difficult to digest, meaning there is more partially digested food in your gut. An overabundance of partially digested food in the intestinal tract feeds bacterial overgrowth. The traditional Candida diet allows for some legumes, however since they are inflammatory, they are not a part of the anti-candida diet.
6. Starchy Vegetables
Certain starchy vegetables including acorn squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash are considered good sources of carbohydrates. However, once eaten, they are broken down into the sugars that feed Candida.4 Focus on eating plenty of leafy greens, and other tasty veggies like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus.
7. GMO Foods
Glyphosate, the herbicide used on GM crops, is a potent chemical that can attack the bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria that help with digestion and keeping the bad bacteria in check are more susceptible to glyphosate. Eating GMO foods can decrease your healthy bacteria and increase the bad bacteria, not only fuelling Candida overgrowth, but also contributing to leaky gut, and inflammation.
8. Fermented Foods
I believe that anyone with Candida overgrowth should avoid fermented foods until their yeast population is under control. The traditional Candida diet does allow for fermented foods. However, the prebiotics produced during the fermentation process feed also feeds bad bacteria and yeast. Fermented foods themselves may be high in bad bacteria and yeast, so I recommend removing these foods as part of the anti-Candida diet and killing Candida first before using fermented foods to help restore the good bacteria.
Dairy does not directly feed Candida, yet it is a highly inflammatory food that I recommend everyone eliminates from their diets, along with gluten. Inflammation damages your gut lining, which is already leaky due to an overgrowth of Candida. This allows the yeast to continue escaping into your bloodstream, along with toxins, microbes, and other particles.
Once all of these foreign particles enter your bloodstream, they trigger a fresh wave of inflammation as your immune system tries to neutralize the threats. Until your leaky gut heals, the particles just keep on coming, and this constant level of inflammation can eventually lead to an autoimmune disease.
Now that you know what foods to avoid while following the anti-Candida diet as opposed to the traditional Candida diet, let’s discuss the 10 strongest Candida killers in the anti-Candida diet.
The Strongest Candida Killers in the Anti-Candida Diet
In addition to removing toxic and inflammatory foods, an anti-Candida diet focuses on increasing your intake of foods known to be strong candida killers, minimizing the growth of Candida. Here are the 10 foods I recommend to fight Candida overgrowth and restore the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great food to add to your anti-Candida diet because it naturally contains capric acid and lauric acid, which promote gut health. These anti-fungal fatty acids kill Candida overgrowth and replication by poking holes in its cell wall, causing them to die off. Capric acid, otherwise known as caprylic acid, is fast and effective at eliminating Candida overgrowth, making it one of the strongest candida killers. That’s why it’s the primary ingredient in one of my anti-Candida supplements, Caprylic Acid.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the one type of vinegar allowed on an anti-Candida diet. Most vinegar is made from alcohol or grains. Apple cider vinegar is sourced from apples or, more accurately, apple cider. Research indicates apple cider vinegar can damage the Candida cell walls and protein structures. making it another one of the strongest candida killers in the anti-candida diet.
Garlic has a long history of being one of the strongest Candida killers. This herb contains allicin, a compound with natural antifungal properties that inhibit the growth and reproduction of Candida cells. The best way to reap the benefits of garlic is to add the freshly crushed raw ingredient to your anti-Candida diet.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, and radishes, are among the most powerful foods that kill Candida. They contain isothiocyanates, which are sulfur- and nitrogen-containing compounds that inhibit the growth of Candida. Their antibacterial properties also support a healthy balance of bacteria.
5. Olive Oil
Olive, flax, avocado, and primrose oils contain polyphenols, which are free-radical fighters that can help your body fight Candida. Oleic acid, the primary fatty acid in olive and avocado oils, supports your immune system and promotes a healthy inflammatory response.
Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols. These inflammation-fighting, antifungal components of the ginger root support a healthy balance of bacteria to help eliminate Candida overgrowth. Ginger is not the strongest Candida killer of the group however it does boost your glutathione levels, which is your body’s own natural detoxifier.
Cinnamon is a natural spice that promotes a healthy inflammatory response, and it also exhibits antifungal properties. Similar to caprylic acid, cinnamon appears to damage yeast cells, killing them by causing them to eventually die off. Cinnamon is a beneficial spice to include in your anti-Candida diet.
Cloves naturally contain eugenol, a powerful oil and the perfect addition to your anti-Candida diet. Clove oil possesses strong anti-fungal activity against opportunistic fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans..6 In addition to being an anti-fungal food, clove oil can also be effective as a topical aid for fungal infections of the toenails and fingernails.
Lemons are a well-known high antioxidant anti-fungal food that can kill Candida. Lemons primarily work by detoxing the liver as it fights off Candida. Lemon juice also stimulates the peristaltic action of the colon, boosting its efficiency as another of the strongest candida killers for eliminating Candida overgrowth.
10. Wild-Caught Salmon
Wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-fungal properties and support a healthy inflammatory response. Omega-3s work together with your immune system to promote a healthy gut lining. I recommend buying wild-caught seafood instead of farm-raised fish when you can.
Additional Support for the Anti-Candida Diet
While adopting the Candida diet is key to beating Candida overgrowth, diet alone can take up to six months to restore your gut’s natural balance. That’s why I recommend adding in yeast-fighting supplements while following an anti-Candida diet.
I helped thousands of patients with Caprylic Acid and GI Microb-X. I also recommend taking a high-quality probiotic to restore your population of good bacteria. These friendly bacteria strains will prevent a future Candida problem and are essential for supporting a healthy gut and immune system.