If you've ever had an upset stomach or a bout of thrush, you may have questioned if the foods you ate were the cause, or if something else was to blame. Sometimes, the organisms that naturally live in our body—such as the fungus Candida—can be at fault. So, can eliminating certain foods with a vegan Candida diet help to prevent Candida overgrowth and its associated health problems?
First, you should always consult your doctor before beginning a new diet to ensure that it will meet all of your health and nutrition requirements. And if you're considering this diet, it's important to get the full scoop on what it entails before taking the plunge. Let's take a look.
What Is Candida?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Candida albicans is a fungus-like organism found in the intestines. It's normal for Candida to be present, but an overgrowth can aggravate certain conditions, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Fatigue, headaches, and poor memory are some symptoms that alternative medicine practitioners associate with an overgrowth of Candida.
Candida can also affect other parts of the body, causing yeast infections or oral thrush, which is an infection of the mouth and throat, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. The intention of a Candida diet is to reduce the consumption of foods that trigger the overgrowth of this fungus.
How to Follow a Vegan Candida Diet
The Candida Diet website describes the meal system as a "low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health and eliminates the sugars that feed a Candida overgrowth." In some ways, it is easier to think about what not to eat when following a Candida diet. In short, a Candida diet eliminates sugar, white flour, and yeast with the goal of reducing the amount of Candida in the digestive system, explains the Mayo Clinic.
Here are the foods you'll steer clear of on a vegan Candida diet:
- Processed foods
- Foods with added sugars, such as certain cereals, fruit juices, and condiments
- Foods containing gluten
Try incorporating these foods in your meals instead, as recommended on The Candida Diet website:
- Low-sugar fruits, such as lemons, limes, and avocados
- Good fats and oils, such as virgin coconut oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Non-starchy veggies, such as asparagus and spinach
Effectiveness of a Candida Diet
While studies are still being conducted on the effectiveness of a Candida diet, reducing the amount of sugar and processed foods you eat can often be a good thing. The Mayo Clinic reports that people who follow this diet often notice improvement in their symptoms, because they're cutting out foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value.
Be sure to discuss any symptoms that you're hoping to alleviate through a Candida diet with your doctor to explore treatment options. A nutritionist can also help to make sure that your meals are well-rounded and healthy.
Vegan Candida Diet Recipes
You don't need to reinvent the wheel when developing recipes for a Candida diet. Many of your favorite foods may already meet the guidelines for low-sugar, gluten-free meals. Here are two examples to get you started:
- Grilled vegetable kebabs. This quick and easy recipe for grilled vegetable kebabs includes mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchinis. Place the veggies on a skewer and add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper before cooking outside on the grill or inside on your stove top.
- Arugula and white bean salad. Arugula is one of my all-time favorite ingredients, thanks to its peppery taste. Create this salad by combining arugula with white beans, tomatoes, avocado, sliced almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Are you trying to eat more healthfully? Check out some other nutritious recipes on the Smart Snacking board by @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!
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Why It's Good
A vegan candida diet omits processed and sugar-filled foods in favor of healthier choices. Whether or not it actually prevents Candida overgrowth has yet to be determined, but it may still help you feel better about what you're putting in your body!