What is The Candida Diet?

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As I’ve  discussed in a previous post, Leaky Gut and more specifically, Candida (yeast overgrowth) is very common in thyroid patients. Particularly those of us with autoimmune hypothyroidism (which is around 90%). [1]

I thought for a long while that once I reached my optimal dosage on thyroid medication, with test results to match, that I would return to the level of health and fitness I had before. But, I didn’t.

Even with optimal levels, I still had ongoing fatigue, poor stamina, cystic acne and irregular periods, which suggested that I needed to look at other issues and imbalances within my body.  

And this other major issue was called Leaky Gut, in the form of too much yeast.

What is Leaky Gut?

‘Leaky Gut’ is used to refer to when the intestinal barrier of the gut becomes permeable from hypothyroidism, infections, food intolerances (especially gluten) or even stress, which then goes on to cause other problems and symptoms.

Symptoms of leaky gut and candida include: constipation, wind, bloating, impaired metabolism, ongoing fatigue, mental health struggles, weight gain, a coating on the tongue, a large scalloped tongue, heartburn, acid reflux, bad breath, nutrient malabsorption, skin conditions and more. A UK test for Candida can be found here. and a US test here.

As I explained in my past post, my functional medicine practitioner implemented several things to help treat it. These included probiotics, digestive enzymes, magnesium supplements, Epsom salt baths, apple cider vinegar and then the all important adjusted diet; the candida diet.

The candida diet is a low sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health and eliminates the sugars that feed a Candida overgrowth, allowing you to overcome the dysbiosis and clear the excess yeast.

But What is it Exactly?

The below list is what my FMP has me following on my candida diet. Each doctor may differ it slightly depending on your own case of candida, but it gives you a good idea of what foods help and hinder overcoming a yeast overgrowth.

To Avoid Completely:
Yeast
Alcohol
Gluten

Dairy
Sugar including Sweeteners
Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Parsnips
Refined Carbs, Processed Food,
White flour
Peas
Beans

High Sugar Fruits – Banana, Mango, Pineapple, Dried Fruit

I didn’t find this list too daunting, as I can easily live without alcohol, am already gluten-free, eat relatively well and I figured it’s really not that long a list in all honestly. My biggest adjustment has been going dairy free but I thought: if I can do gluten-free, what’s one more thing?!

To Eat Less Of:
Quinoa and Rice (limit to one serving a day at most)
Honey and natural sweeteners (use sparingly)

Pears and Oranges (medium sugar levels, don’t have them too often)
Blueberries (somewhat high sugar levels but full of helpful antioxidants, so don’t have them too often)

Sauces containing sugar and a long list of ingredients, e.g. soy sauce, condiments such as Ketchup (no more than a couple times a week at most)
Anything listing ‘yeast’ as an ingredient
Processed food and refined grains
Stimulants

And the best part of the list…

To Eat More Of: (some will even help with combatting Candida)
Chia Seeds
Garlic
Onions

Horseradish
Cabbage
Broccoli

Turnip
Kale
Asparagus
Spinach
Coconut oil
Apple cider vinegar
Lettuce
Cucumber

Mushrooms
Peppers
Tomatoes
Lemon
Lime
Turmeric
Cinnamon

Flaxseed
Hemp Oil
Oregano
Low Sugar Fruits – Melon, Peach, Nectarine, Apricot, Kiwi, Cherry, Strawberry

How am I Finding it?

Whilst some may find following this diet daunting, I found that creating a list I could reference to made it a whole lot easier. I could decide what I wanted to eat, a certain meal for example, and then compare to this list to see if it was suitable and if it wasn’t i.e. it used potatoes, I’d see that I could just swap this ingredient out for something that wasn’t on my ‘to avoid’ list. Suede perhaps. And it would be OK.

It’s much more positive to think about all the foods you can have too, instead of just what you can’t.

Like I touched on previously, as well as following the candida diet, we also need to look at adding in some good bacteria with probiotics, supporting gut health with digestive enzymes, detoxification and efficient disposal of waste.  As well as killing off the excess yeast, you need to ensure you’re putting in some more good bacteria and that the excess yeast is being eliminated from the body properly.

Supplements that can also boost the body’s resistance to yeast include folic acid, Vitamin C, Zinc, Pyridoxal-5-phosphate, Vitamin A, riboflavin, magnesium and selenium. Caprylic acid is a naturally occurring anti-fungal found in coconut oil which can also help combat candida, as it kills off bad organisms but doesn’t affect useful organisms. Handy!

Do you have experience with gut issues?

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

Freedom From Thyroid Fatigue LogoThere is also the online thyroid course ‘Freedom From Thyroid Fatigue’, which walks you through how to overcome thyroid fatigue, including how to address your gut health when you have thyroid disease. Personalised support from other thyroid patients. 

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3066320

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Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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