Candida is a yeast typically found in small quantities within the microbiome of healthy individuals. Under normal circumstances, candida is held in check by the immune system, but it can occasionally grow excessively, invading the lining of the mouth, the vagina, the skin or other parts of the body (1).
So, how does candida develop? Candida can occur due to one or more factors such as a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, use of antibiotics and a weakened immune system.
To read more about candida, along with its symptoms and management, check out our article here.
So can we fight Candida with food?
Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is essential for preventing and managing candida overgrowth. Research on candida and the gut microbiome is still ongoing, but there have been some exciting and more recent developments in this field.
Research has shown that probiotics can be effective in preventing candida overgrowth (2,3,4). Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that can be beneficial for balancing our gut microbiome with the good guys. When the delicate balance of the gut microbiome is thrown off, harmful bacteria and yeasts like candida can proliferate.
For example, a link has been suggested between the presence of a gut species called Alistipes putredinis and a reduction of candida in the body. A diet high in fibre and a variety of plant-based foods promotes the proliferation of this type of beneficial gut bacteria (5).
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum reduced the incidence of candida overgrowth.
If you’re trying to find the best probiotic for candida, be sure to find one that contains multiple strains (at least 5) and a high CFU count (colony-forming units). This means that the bacteria are more likely to establish themselves in the gut upon ingestion.
Overall, there is evidence that improving your gut health by rebalancing the bacteria and yeast in your body can help alleviate symptoms of candida, such as bloating, indigestion, fatigue, nausea, gas, and yeast infections (6).
What about antimicrobials?
Research on candida and anti-fungal foods is still ongoing, but there is some evidence to suggest that some foods have antifungal properties and they could be helpful in managing candida.
Foods that may have antifungal properties include ginger, garlic, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and oregano. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential anti-fungal properties of these foods.
It’s also worth noting that while some foods may have antifungal properties, dietary changes alone are unlikely to be sufficient to treat candida overgrowth alone.
Remember, the treatment for candida may require a multifaceted approach, including dietary changes, medication when necessary, and lifestyle modifications to support overall health and immune function. If you are experiencing persistent or severe candida symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.