Candida is the most common fungus in the human body – it is found in the mouth, skin, gut, digestive tract, toenails, rectum and vagina.
It is actually a extremely important part of our gut’s microbiome because it recognises and destroys harmful bacteria.
But overgrowth can easily lead to multiple health issues.
There are 150 known species of candida in the body which help with digestion and the absorption of nutrients from our food.
However – only 15 of those are capable of giving us an infection. The most common candida responsible for infection is Candida Albicans.
The most common symptoms that Candida Albicans is out of control are:
- Nausea, flu like symptoms
- Hair loss, scum on the scalp, dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness.
- Bloating, constipation or diarrhoea.
- Intolerances or allergies to foods, perfumes, odours, fumes, fabric shop odours, grass, cats, dogs or other animals, tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, molds, dust mites, dust, pollen, and other airborne substances. Seasonal allergies.
- Athletes foot, thrush, colic, diaper rash, cradle cap, rectal itching, hernia.
- Chronic fatigue, brain fog, lack of focus, poor memory, ADD/ADHD
- Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, rosacea, and easy bruising.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections in women, frequent urination in men,
- Cold hand and or feet.
- Anxiety or depression, irritability or mood swings
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and diabetes
- Joint pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, swelling or tingling in the head
- Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ulcerative colitis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
- Swollen lymph glands
- Ears – ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear pain, ear aches, ear discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, abnormal wax build-up.
- Cysts – abnormal growths.
- Female health problems – infertility, vaginitis, unusual odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), discharge, painful intercourse.
- Stomach – h. pylori bacteria (causes ulcers), heartburn, indigestion, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, belching, vomiting, burning, stomach pains, needle-like pains, food that seems to sit in the stomach like a lump, etc.
- Sleep – insomnia, waking up frequently, nightmares, restless sleep, etc.
- Sore throat, hoarse voice, constant tickle in the throat, laryngitis (loss of voice), etc.
- Nutrient deficiencies.
These are the 11 most common causes of a candida infection:
- A diet high in refined carbs and or sugar
- High consumption of alcohol, tea, coffee, chlorinated water from the tap
- Unhealthy fats, such as canola oil, too much animal protein.
- Imbalance in the gut’s microbiota
- Processed foods, preservatives, emulsifiers, food binders, food colourants
- Chemical cleaners, laundry detergents, toxic chemicals
- Antibiotics, birth control pills
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Weak immune system cause through stress or a sedentary lifestyle
- Gluten and dairy
- Processed foods, preservatives,
The gut has approximately 100 trillion bacteria – give or take a few trillion or two – in addition to multiple species of yeast and fungus that share the same space called the microbiome.
Research has found that our gut’s health will not only affect our physical health – but also our mental health
On a physical level, when the gut microbiota is not healthy, many health issues will occur such as weight gain, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatocellular carcinoma, cardiovascular diseases, chronic liver disease, auto- immune diseases.
Eat these foods to heal your body.
Non starchy vegetables
Fungus overgrowth eats what you consume – so your food choices need to be those that will kill the fungus and support the microbiome.
A diet high in green veggies such as kale, Bok choy, Pak choy and other Asian greens along with spinach, silver beet, rocket, watercress, alpha-alpha sprouts, broccoli, broccolini, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, chard, celery, cucumber, dandelion leaves, and clover sprouts – basically anything lovely and green.
I know that cauliflower isn’t green, nor cabbage – but they are high in sulforaphane – which neutralises toxins, reduces inflammation, and protects your DNA – it has also been found to slow tumour growth.
These wonderful plants are also prebiotics, that feed probiotics, which are needed to for healthy microflora.
The gut needs healthy fats to heal.
Cold pressed organic oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil are all high in healthy fats which serve as anti-inflammatories for the gut. They are actually anti-inflammatories for the whole body, and also for the brain.
Coconut oil is exceptionally good for the gut as it contains caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid which inhibits candida overgrowth.
Avocados, hemp seeds, flaxseeds and olives are all good for healing your gut as well.
These are foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, water or coconut milk kefir, fridge pickles, pickles and kombucha.
But be aware – they are only good for you if you make them yourself or buy them in the fridge section – once jarred and on a shelf – they are dead.
Add a tablespoon of sauerkraut, kimchi or pickles to your lunch time salad – make your coconut kefir into cheese or a dessert with red berries.
Water kefir is delicious as a drink!
Store bought kombucha is not recommended for someone with candida overgrowth as it if often still high in sugar, choose to make you own.
I actually recommend making your own water or coconut kefir as well – you at least know exactly what is in it, plus how old it is – and after a few trial and error sessions – you will perfect it!
Herbs have many powerful health benefits – oregano, cats claw, olive leaf extract, chaga mushrooms, and pau d’arco tea are all powerful anti-fungal agents.
Turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon as a health shot in the morning on an empty stomach works as an anti-inflammatory, prebiotic treatment. To help consume – take these ingredients in MCT coconut oil for added benefits or add them to a green smoothie for super gut healing drink in the morning (more on green smoothies further on).
What to drink
Green tea and ginger tea help to manage candida overgrowth, you can have these with a teaspoonful of raw honey for taste and added gut health benefits.
Consume at least 2 litres per day of filtered water to help detox the body. Give your body a helping hand by adding 10 ml of chlorophyll to your water daily – it is a great green body detoxifier!
Probiotics are an important part of managing candida – but cannot get rid of it alone – it is really important that you treat candida with a healthy diet and use probiotics as a tool, not as a complete solution.
Certain probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus acidophilus have the ability to fight candida, you will find those two strains in most probiotic blends.
Feed the good gut microbiome – they are all foods which are hard to digest – but also each individual prebiotic food is loaded with added nutritional benefits.
A few of the best prebiotic foods are:
- Raw chicory root
- Raw Jerusalem artichoke (add it to your morning smoothie for a delicious nutty flavour!
- Raw dandelion greens
- Raw garlic – this has body odour side effects – so I recommend you buy garlic capsules instead – or lightly cook it with your meal.
- Raw leeks
- Raw or cooked onions (red are best because they are loaded with polyphenols).
- Raw asparagus
- Under-ripe bananas – as they are turning yellow, but still greenish and hard to peel.
Some other sources are apples with skin, and foods such as raw honey (please note the RAW part) psyllium husks, oatmeal and fresh corn on the cob.
Other foods you can eat.
Fish is loaded with omega 3, so is an excellent gut healing food.
But in so saying – your diet should still consist of 80% vegetables whilst you cleanse (not a bad way to live full stop!)
Real free range organic eggs, free range organic chicken, grass fed and finished beef and or lamb, and wild meat such as deer or kangaroo are all good sources of protein – just remember – meat is inflammatory – so you should only eat a fist size or less a day.
Deer and kangaroo are better options than farm animals as they do not go through the abattoir – the fear and trauma these animals suffer is printed in their cells – and then we eat that trauma which effects our adrenals. And of course, our gut, and then our brain.
Wild animals also eat medicinal plants whilst they forage – what animals eat – we eat!
Buckwheat pasta – read the back of the packet to ensure it is only buckwheat – not buckwheat with other fillers.
Paw Paw or papaya and pineapple – they are loaded with natural enzymes which help heal the gut.
Keto, paleo or sprouted grain gluten free breads – NOT gluten free bread – it must be full of nutrient dense grains. Gluten free bread is still refined carbs.
Paleo cereals are a healthy breakfast choice – choose one which is not coated in honey or loaded with dried fruits.
I mentioned consuming a green smoothie earlier on – I actually highly recommend you have one every morning on a empty stomach with a high quality greens powder which contains prebiotics, probiotics and liver herbs – add celery and cucumber to this, and a shot of coconut MCT oil – you can also add a slice of ginger, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and turmeric for added gut cleansing and repairing benefits!
Don’t eat these foods – when you have candida.
Preservatives, emulsifiers, binders and anything which is a number on your food packaging feeds candida overgrowth.
- Sugar – is the worst offender, any form of sugar – white sugar or any form of brown sugar. You can use stevia in moderation as it is a natural sweetener, because it doesn’t inflame the gut.
- Artificial sweeteners – these are just toxic – and have been linked to cancer – so should never enter your trolley (only stevia).
- Too much fruit – although they contain fructose not sugar – in too great a quantity they will ferment and feed candida.
- Refined grains – including gluten free flour. Almond flour, hazelnut flour, buckwheat flour and coconut flour can be used, once the gut is healed – gluten free flours can be used again but in moderation- all refined starches turn into sugar, gluten free or not.
- Alcohol can wreak havoc on the intestinal lining and has been linked to leaky gut syndrome. It also damages detoxification pathways. These pathways need to be optimised for the gut to function properly.
- Dairy – avoid dairy products unless they are made from raw milk – which unfortunately has been made illegal (unless you have your own cow) in Australia. Raw milk is loaded with healthy colostrum which is extremely healing for gut health and is used for treatment of IBS. Unfortunately – our pasteurized and homogenised milk is completely dead and has become inflammatory to our gut. Once your gut is healed – you can try consuming A2 milk as this is from a non-genetically engineered cow – basically an ancient cow species and the milk from these cows can be tolerated by more people.
- Starchy plant foods such as potatoes, sweet potato, yams, beets, carrots, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, peanuts, cashews, chickpeas are all out when you first start your cleanse. If you are a vegan or vegetarian consume tofu, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and quinoa for protein during this phase.
- Farmed meat, and pork. Free range game or organic grass fed and finished meat in small quantities is fine – as is free range organic chicken. Farmed meat and chickens are fed hormones and heavens knows what which you then consume – you shouldn’t be eating traumatised animals anyway.
- Coffee irritates the lining of the gut. Most coffee contains moulds which then just adds to the problem at hand. Decaf coffee has a higher mould and acid content than regular coffee. If you MUST have a cup of coffee – choose organic coffee – and only have ONE.
- Plant milks – most of them are loaded with sugar and emulsifiers, make your own (easy to do especially if you are lucky enough to own a Thermomixer, or something like that.
Where possible – choose organic – the pesticides used on our foods are extremely toxic to our system – and of course our gut.
Some people have issues when the die off occurs – feelings of nausea, diarrhea, light headedness and foggy brain. This usually happens around day 3 and can go on for a few days – do push through, it too shall pass.
If you want to take something to give you extra help – there are extremely good gut health supplements and powders on the market – choose one you relate to and only use that one. Avoid using multiple different ones as you could end up overdosing yourself – and distressing your gut, body and mind. Don’t use them to fix everything – they are not going to replace a healthy diet.
Allow 6 weeks for the cleanse – be aware that it will take 12 weeks for your gut to heal – after the 6 weeks, add foods such as legumes, sweet potatoes, potato and other starchy vegetables back into the mix. Eat more papaya, pineapple and red berries.
Still avoid sugar, preservatives, packaged foods, rice crackers, alcohol and anything which will turn to sugar – stay on your herbs and probiotics.
If going hard core is not your thing, or not possible because you travel for work.
Follow all of the information above, but still eat the sweet potato, potato, and legumes. If you must have bread – make it gluten free, but ask to have avocado or hummus used instead of butter or margarine.
Because this is a blog post – and not a reference document – I have chosen to add links to every reference material I would normally cite – easier for those who want more information to find the information without having to do the research from my notes.
My next blog post will be about eating a candida growth free diet – some easy ways to help you on your candida diet – but also great ways to live a healthier gut life!
Book a glowing skin consultation if you would like one on one help dealing with your candida!
Thank you for reading my blog!
I am Yvette van Schie, I am a holistic beauty therapist, skin nutritionist, skincare developer and makeup artist. I am passionate about sharing real beauty advice with a whack of reality.
For over 30 years I have worked with the best in the beauty and health industry as a trainer, educator and product formulator and I still do – so my knowledge is diverse – I am not blinkered when sharing my information with you because everyone I speak to shares what they know, and I turn it into easy to digest information because I want my readers to feel empowered to make their own decisions and to feel that they are fully in control of their beauty and well being.