Following the right diet is essential to treating a Candida overgrowth. Candida feed primarily on sugar, so a big part of the anti-Candida diet is to cut off all processed sugars, and significantly cut back on all natural sugars. Along with cutting out foods that promote Candida growth, it is important to incorporate antifungal foods and Candida-killing herbs. In this article, we are going to discuss the top foods that kill Candida.
What Is Candida?
Before discussing the foods that fight Candida, let’s make sure we are clear on what Candida is. Candida is a type of yeast, a single-celled fungus that normally lives inside the body and on the skin. There are hundreds of these yeasts, but many species can cause fungal infections if their numbers grow out of control, and these can lead to serious and even fatal illnesses if they enter the bloodstream or other organs. The medical term for a Candida overgrowth is called candidiasis.
Candidiasis is the most common type of fungal infection that people suffer from. Usually it is caused by a certain type of Candida yeast called Candida albicans, but other types of Candida can cause an infection too. To learn more about this common fungal infection, read our blog "What is Candida Alibicans? Understanding Fungal Infections."
How Do You Get Rid of a Candida Infection?
To get rid of a Candida infection, we also want to look at how someone can get an infection in the first place. As mentioned, Candida are a natural part of your body’s microbiome—the community of microorganisms that live in and on your body. So, having Candida is not the issue—everyone has Candida. The issue is when Candida populations grow out of control.
Candida are kept in check primarily by the bacteria in your gut microbiome. If something happens that threatens the community of healthy bacteria in your gut, it creates more opportunity for Candida to thrive and grow out of balance.
Some of the most common causes of Candida overgrowth include:
- Taking antibiotics
- Consuming alcohol, especially high amounts of alcohol
- A diet high in sugar and refined carbs
- A weakened immune system
- Taking oral contraceptives
- High stress levels
All of these effect your gut health and gut microbiome. When your microbiome is imbalanced, Candida are likely to grow excessively. This is why gut health is so important, and why probiotics are so beneficial.
Now, to get rid of a Candida overgrowth we need to return Candida populations back to healthy levels and maintain them there. This is done by:
- Following an anti-candida diet
- Incorporating antifungal herbs
- Recolonizing the gut with beneficial bacteria
How long you need to follow this protocol depends on the severity of the infection, but generally, 90 days is a standard recommendation. During this time, you will want to eat Candida fighting foods. Incorporating more Candida killing foods in your diet, ideally eating some with each meal, will significantly help to treat an infection.
So much of the treatment protocol for Candida revolves around diet, so really, what you eat each day makes the difference between your health or illness—but then again, it always does! Listed below are the 10 best foods for Candida overgrowth.
Top 10 Foods That Kill Candida
Coconut oil is a powerful antifungal and one of the best foods for killing Candida. Coconut oil contains Lauric acid and Caprylic acid, which both help prevent Candida overgrowth and also strengthen your immune system.
Coconut oil can also aid in restoring a healthy balance to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Organic virgin coconut oil is packed with anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal nutrients. Many of the nutrients in coconut oil provide excellent support to help boost immunity and improve gut health.
Coconut oil is also very heat stable, so it is a great oil to use for frying and cooking, making it easy to incorporate into your diet. It is also fairly inexpensive and has a pretty long shelf life. Be sure to buy organic, extra virgin coconut oil.
How to take coconut oil for Candida in gut:
On an empty stomach, take 1/2 - 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Wait at least 2 hours before or after any meal to consume. Only once a day is necessary. Coconut oil can also be added to other foods.
Garlic is another powerful antifungal and a great food for killing Candida. Not only does garlic attack Candida, it also helps to maintain a healthy microbiome in the digestive system. Garlic destroys harmful bacteria while leaving healthy bacteria in place, making it an excellent remedy for a Candida cleanse protocol.
Garlic is high in a compound called allicin — formed when garlic cloves are crushed or chopped — which has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of fungi and bacteria. Studies suggest allicin can protect against Candida overgrowth and may reduce the ability of Candida to attach to cells lining the mouth.
Allicin contains sulfur, which gives garlic its distinctive smell and taste. However, allicin is unstable, so it quickly converts to other sulphur-containing compounds thought to give garlic its medicinal properties and ability to boost the health of the immune system.
These sulfur-containing compounds have been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses, such as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu. Garlic may help the body resist or destroy viruses and other microorganisms by boosting the immune system.
Garlic is easy to incorporate into a wide variety of meals. When buying garlic, always aim to buy only good quality, organic, local garlic, or garlic grown in Europe or North America, as a lot of garlic is grown in China, where pesticide use is high and agricultural regulations are lacking.
Onions contain strong anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. These antifungal properties help to fight Candida and can help restore Candida to healthy populations. Onions also assist the body by flushing out excess fluids. Since many Candida sufferers experience severe water retention, this is an additional bonus. Onions are also rich in Vitamin C and other phyto-chemicals that support immune system function. It also assists in improving circulatory health.
Onions are very pungent and help to increase the circulation of blood. This increase in circulation has been linked to the prevention of both heart attacks and strokes. Several studies note that onions also contain a nutrient called quercetin, which breaks up the mucus in both the chest and head while continuing to boost the immune system. Quercetin is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.
There are many health benefits to eating onions—not just their antifungal Candida-killing properties. Onions are also very easy to incorporate into your diet. As with all produce, strive to buy organic and local onions whenever possible.
Research on ginger shows that it has a great antifungal and antimicrobial effect and has an exceptional anti-Candida effect against certain strains, including C. Albicans, one of the most common causes of Candida infection.
Ginger is also a well-known anti-inflammatory, long used in traditional medicine for treating an enormous variety of ailments. Ginger helps to detoxify the body due to its ability to increase circulation which also helps the liver perform more efficiently in flushing out toxins.
Ginger also stimulates immune system function, helping to fight off invading pathogens. Its anti-inflammatory effects can help to soothe irritation caused by Candida overgrowth in the intestinal tract.
You can include ginger in your diet in many ways—in a stir-fry, a curry dish, a soup, or you can simply make an easy ginger tea.
Turmeric is in the same family as ginger, and like ginger, it has been used for centuries for a variety of ailments. Turmeric is as a very powerful anti-inflammatory herb. It also contains mild antifungal properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth and spread of Candida in the gut. Turmeric is also antibacterial and antiviral, which makes it a very beneficial herb to include in your diet for immune system health.
Turmeric can easily be added to meals, soups, smoothies or taken as a concentrated supplement. It’s important to take turmeric with black pepper and a healthy fat such as coconut oil, as this aids the absorption of the therapeutic properties in the body. Alternatively, one can buy a turmeric curcumin extract supplement for greater potency and absorbability.
6. Lemon and Lime Juice
Lemon and lime both contain some anti-fungal properties, but they primarily help on an anti-Candida diet by detoxing the liver as it fights off Candida overgrowth. Lemon and lime juice stimulate peristalsis, which is “the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wave-like movements that push the contents of the canal forward.” Essentially, peristalsis means the muscles of your intestines squeeze together, moving waste along so it can be moved out of the body. This increases the efficiency of your digestive system.
Lemons and limes also help to alkalize the pH of the body, which can help it function more efficiently. Both lemons and limes are easy to include in a variety of dishes, making them a simple addition to your anti-candida protocol.
7. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has potent antifungal properties, making it a great spice for killing Candida. It also improves circulation, naturally speeds digestion and supports the immune system. Cayenne helps in the breakdown of food in the gut and speeds up bowel transit time, which reduces the incidence of constipation. Cayenne also speeds the metabolism, providing an energy boost that helps to combat Candida-related fatigue, which is very common among people with Candidiasis.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are known to have anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties. They are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, an important healthy fat. Omega-3s are a vital component of healthy brain and thyroid function, and they also help to combat depression and other symptoms of Candida-related inflammation, such as skin conditions.
Pumpkin seeds are also one of the highest plant-based sources of zinc. No other nut or seed can compare to the zinc content found in pumpkin seeds. A 100-gram serving of pumpkin seeds will typically provide around 7-8 milligrams of zinc. This extra zinc can be crucial for those dealing with candida overgrowth because zinc has been shown to have an inhibitory effect against the growth of candida. One study showed that a deficiency in zinc can give rise to hyperactive growth in candida yeast cells in the body. As a result, it’s critical that those looking to inhibit the growth of candida always make sure that they’re getting enough daily zinc.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains a powerful chemical called Oleuropein. It has powerful antifungal properties and has been shown to stimulate your immune system’s own response to effectively fight off Candida albicans overgrowth. Oleuropein has also been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels. This is an important benefit for Candida sufferers, as elevated blood sugar levels can increase the yeast’s ability to spread.
Olive oil is a common oil that most people already have in their kitchen. It can easily be added to salads, stir-fries, and vegetables. Be sure to choose a high-quality, organic, extra-virgin olive oil.
10. Fermented Foods
As mentioned earlier, Candida are kept in check by healthy bacteria in your gut. One of the greatest ways to strengthen the community of bacteria in your gut is to consume more fermented foods. When it comes to healthy digestion, fermented or probiotic foods are a must. These are foods that have been prepared in a way that allows beneficial bacteria to grow, creating live nutrients within the food itself.
When you eat fermented foods, these live bacteria are quickly established in your gut. The best sources of probiotic foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kefir. Eating fermented foods can help fight off Candida and can greatly support immune system health.
Candida is a type of yeast, a single-celled fungus that normally lives inside the body and on the skin. There are hundreds of these yeasts, but many species can cause fungal infections if their numbers grow out of control.
To get rid of a Candida infection, it is recommended to follow an anti-Candida diet, incorporate antifungal foods and herbs in your diet, and recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria. How long you must follow this diet depends on how severe your Candida infection is, but generally a 90-day period is recommended.
During this time, you will want to eat Candida fighting foods like the 10 listed in this article. Incorporating more Candida killing foods in your diet, ideally eating some with each meal, will significantly help to treat an infection.
Nearly all of the treatment protocol for Candida involves a focus on diet. When it comes to your Candida situation, and to your health in general, what you eat each day makes all the difference. If you suffer from a Candida overgrowth, include these 10 foods in your diet and check out our Candida Cleanse tonic to use as an additional anti-Candida remedy.