Candida Diet Tofu – Some experts say yeast overgrowth can cause many far-reaching problems, from physical to cognitive. For this reason, some recommend a candida diet—a low-sugar, low-carb diet—to eliminate excess yeast and balance the gut. However, this approach is not without its detractors. Importantly, many experts say the diet is largely unproven and any benefits are the result of simple improvements in eating habits.
Candida is a genus of yeast that normally lives inside the body and on the skin. There are hundreds of these yeasts, but many species can cause yeast infections if their numbers grow out of control or if they enter the bloodstream or other organs.
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The type of yeast that most commonly causes candidiasis is infection. Overgrowth can lead to conditions like oral thrush
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Candida overgrowth is a term that means the yeast is present in such excess that it becomes pathogenic, says Ali Miller, RD, CDCES, a functional medicine dietitian and author in Houston.
Candida overgrowth can cause the conditions mentioned (thrush, vaginal yeast infection), but some experts, like Miller, identify Candida overgrowth (or a yeast imbalance in the body) as the source of numerous health symptoms that can be alleviated with dietary changes.
If you have a yeast infection, you may experience itching and burning in the vagina and vulva, burning when you urinate or during sex, redness in the area, or a cottage cheese-like discharge, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Oral thrush, which can occur in adults and children, appears as a white coating on your tongue or cheeks, as well as redness and soreness in your mouth.
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Invasive candidiasis (fungal infection of the blood or organs) can cause fever or chills and can be life-threatening.
There’s another category, known as candida overgrowth, and some health professionals say it can be responsible for more chronic and seemingly unrelated problems. “Symptoms of candidiasis can be wide-ranging, from bloating and cramping to bowel disorders, chronic fatigue, cystic acne and other skin rashes, and brain fog,” says Miller.
If you’re talking specifically about vaginal yeast infections, risk factors include recent antibiotic treatment, uncontrolled diabetes, a weakened immune system, and elevated estrogen levels (as in pregnancy).
Miller says that when it comes to candida overgrowth in general, antibiotic use is one of the most common causes. “Antibiotics sterilize the microbiome,” or the collection of bacteria and other microbes in the gut, he says. As well as killing the “bad” bacteria, the good ones go too, and this can also upset the balance of yeast in your body.
The Anti Candida Diet
Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or cortisone-type drugs (such as prednisone) can affect the gut microbiome in unhealthy ways, says Miller.
Lifestyle factors such as high stress or high alcohol consumption can also make you more susceptible to yeast overgrowth, Miller says. That said, rigorous research on this association is lacking.
The candida diet, generally speaking, eliminates all sources of flour, sugar and yeast from your diet and encourages lean protein, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats as well as many supplements to encourage the process. Doing so prevents yeast overgrowth, says Miller. “It’s also important to consume compounds [through food and supplements] that help with the clearance of yeast and the removal of that yeast and its byproducts from the body,” he says.
But it’s important to note that many experts disagree with the idea that this diet is necessary in the first place. “There’s very little research in this area, and although it’s been blamed for a lot of things, we really don’t know what causes candida overgrowth and whether [the candida diet] works,” says Abby Sharp, RD, blogger. And YouTube says. Creator of AB Kitchen based in the Toronto area. “At this time, no research has definitively supported the use of a low-sugar diet to treat Candida overgrowth,” she adds. A previous review points to evidence that certain carbohydrates or sugars can promote yeast growth, but more specific research is needed.
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Another limitation is that the research completed has mostly been done in vitro (test tube), which cannot replace human studies. The way organisms behave in a test tube is not necessarily the same way they behave in the human body.
A perspective paper offers initial promise, noting that yes, as has been well established, the gut microbiome is an important factor in health, and that Candida, an “opportunistic” pathogen in the gastrointestinal tract, also affects digestion and immunity. can However, more research is needed to understand exactly how.
The authors also point to research that suggests diet may be a valid treatment. A pilot study of 120 patients with chronic intestinal Candida overgrowth found that the group that took an antifungal medication and followed a specific diet (no simple sugars, alcohol, deli and fatty meats or dairy) during and after treatment were more likely to have three levels of Candida normalized. was more. months later than those using the drug alone.
The researchers wrote that there is no established diet to treat the condition, but the results of the study were “encouraging.”
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You’ll want to check with your doctor before trying any kind of cleanse—or any strict diet, for that matter. This is essentially a temporary carb-restricted diet. “Think of it as a complete reset of your microbiome,” says Miller. He generally recommends six weeks to clear candida and suggests eating no more than 60 grams (g) of total carbohydrates per day. “Avoid flour-based foods, grains, and sweets, and limit fruits and starchy vegetables to a total of two [servings] per day,” says Miller.
The diet emphasizes lean protein, healthy fats, and leafy and cruciferous vegetables. This diet is not only designed to weaken yeast overgrowth, but it can also help control blood sugar because it limits foods that raise blood sugar in the body. “This is the environment in which yeast thrives,” says Miller.
Except for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the diet isn’t radical and is safe for most people, Miller says. In general, experts advise people with a history of disordered eating to avoid restrictive diets as well. “Also, if you have diabetes and take an oral hypoglycemic medication or use insulin, you may need to reduce your medication when you switch to a low-carbohydrate diet,” he says. Talk to your healthcare provider.
One thing you may notice is that you’ll feel worse before you feel better: nausea, headaches, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue may occur in the first two weeks after clearing. It won’t last for the entire six-week cleanse. “I see that as a positive. It’s a sign that the body is rooting out or eliminating something that was causing the dysfunction,” says Miller.
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Keep in mind that what’s actually happening is a phenomenon called the “keto flu,” which can occur when the body switches from burning carbohydrates for fuel to burning fat. “When we get into ketosis, we often experience keto flu symptoms, such as head fog, headaches and fatigue. “Carbohydrate restriction on a low-sugar Candida diet has the potential to induce ketosis and related symptoms,” says Sharp.
It’s also important to note that there isn’t much scientific evidence that cleansing the body in general is necessary or helpful.
You’ll avoid processed, refined flour and refined sugar foods because “sugar is the primary fuel source for yeast,” says Miller. But there are some additional “no” foods that may surprise you.
Proponents recommend several supplements for candida cleansing. Many professionals have their own proprietary blends, and depending on the program you’re on you’ll find a number of different supplements. Miller tells us about some you may have heard about — just keep in mind that scientific evidence to support these supplements is lacking.
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This is intended to support liver detoxification and also acts as an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It’s even better if it contains anti-inflammatory herbs like Oregon grape root and skullcap. Take it twice a day with breakfast and dinner.
This is found in coconut oil and can support a healthy microbiome, says Miller. Miller suggests using coconut oil in cooking or consider oil pulling with it. (Oil pulling is a folk remedy in which you put oil in your mouth. There is no scientific evidence that this has any benefits in terms of dental health, such as preventing tooth decay.)
“This is great for acute uses like vomiting or diarrhea from a food bug—but don’t take it for more than five to seven days at a time, as it can throw off your electrolyte balance,” says Miller. In general, if you’re shopping, Miller suggests looking for pharmaceutical-grade supplements tested for potency and purity to ensure high quality.
It’s not just the diet you’ll be changing during this time. Miller suggests using essential oils like oregano or tea tree in regular baths, or with Epsom salt, during saunas, massages and bubble time. These essential oils and other self-care activities help support your body’s cleansing process (the idea is that they kill the yeast and then transport it.
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