How a low glycemic diet helps get rid of Candida
Does your tongue look like cottage cheese? Is your skin covered in a flat, red rash
Candida is a common fungal infection, but when it overgrows the symptoms aren’t always as obvious as the ones above.
In this blog post, we’ll break down candida and explain how a low glycemic diet is the natural solution you need to stop candida in its tracks.
What is Candida
Candida is a fungus that causes a common yeast infection known as Candida albicans.
Typically, it’s present throughout our bodies in small amounts — mucous membranes of the mouth, intestines, gut microbiome, etc., and often appears in warm, moist areas such as the armpits and genitals.
While it’s a harmless infection in otherwise healthy people, it can become problematic when too much candida is present and starts to overpower the “good” bacteria in the gut. This is especially dangerous for those with diabetes or a compromised immune system.
Symptoms of candida overgrowth include repeat yeast infections, digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain.
A candida infection can occur from:
- Taking antibiotics as they suppress the bacterial flora that is normally present in the body.
- Having a diet high in refined carbs and sugar
Candida & low GI
To know which carbohydrates to include (and exclude) in your diet, it’s important to understand the relationship between candida and carbs.
Candida & carbs
Similar to how we use carbs to get glucose for energy, so does candida. In fact, it utilizes carbs for protection from the immune system and multiplies when blood sugar levels are high.
This means that the longer high levels of glucose are circulating in your blood, the more likely it is for candida to take advantage of the extra glucose and grow.
So, how can you prevent candida overgrowth? The solution is simple — avoid carbs that will spike your blood sugar levels continuously, i.e., foods high on the glycemic index scale.
High GI vs. Low GI
High GI carbs: These carbohydrates are quick to break down into glucose, causing a dramatic rise and fall in your blood sugar levels. It’s this sudden spike that makes high GI carbs great for candida growth.
Low GI carbs: These carbohydrates are slow to break down and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Meaning, there isn’t enough glucose for candida to multiply.
Bacteria & Candida
Good bacteria, bad bacteria, and candida exist in a harmonious state in the gut microbiome. But when this balance is overthrown, candida can start to overgrow, impacting your gut and health.
For example, as a result of the imbalance, leaky gut syndrome can develop, causing candida, food particles, and other toxins to enter the bloodstream.
Not only does this riddle the body with inflammation, but it’s also a precursor to invasive candidiasis — a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect the blood, heart, brain, and other parts of the body.
Low GI diet for Candida
The foods you eat have the power to course correct and restore balance to your gut flora…
But refined carbohydrates, i.e., carbs packed with sugar, will do the opposite.
To ensure candida doesn’t have the opportunity to grow, eat foods low on the glycemic index scale, with an emphasis on natural probiotics, to promote a healthy and balanced gut.
What you should eat
A low GI diet for candida removes refined carbs and replaces them with whole foods that are slow to break down such as:
- Non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach, and sweet potatoes
- Fruits such as berries, grapefruit, and apples
- Whole grains such as steel-cut oats, millet, and quinoa
- Lean Proteins such as eggs, salmon, and turkey
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts
To promote healthy bacteria growth in your gut and fight candida, you should also consider adding fermented foods to your diet such as:
- Greek yogurt
Below are examples of some of the best low GI foods to fight candida:
- Garlic — This vegetable has strong antifungal properties is easy to incorporate into any dish.
- Coconut oil — This oil is a natural lauric acid that promotes gut health.
- Apple cider vinegar — Research indicates that apple cider vinegar can damage candida’s cell walls and protein structures.
- Ginger & Cinnamon — These spices are packed with antifungal and inflammation-fighting compounds that work to promote gut health.
Foods to avoid
The higher the glycemic index a carb has, the more likely it is to cause candida overgrowth. Stay away from:
- Caffeine and alcohol as they create an acidic environment in the gut which promotes candida growth
- Foods with yeast such as bread and pastries
- Sugary beverages such as fruit juice and soda
- Foods high in sugar
- Fast food
For more information on how to follow a low GI diet for candida, check out Well + Easy’s comprehensive low GI guide and library of recipes.
In itself, candida isn’t an issue. But when it overgrows and the symptoms start setting in, that's when you have a problem.