10 Foods to Fight Candida

September 19th, 2013

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Do you suffer from mood swings, seasonal allergies, digestive issues, or frequent yeast infections? If so, you may have Candida overgrowth.

Candida is one of the scientific names for yeast, which is a form of fungus. A very small amount naturally resides in your mouth and intestines to aid digestion, but your medications, diet, and environment can all change your normal balance of Candida. When it’s overproduced, it breaks down the wall of the intestines and enters directly into the bloodstream, where it releases toxic byproducts that can cause a leaky gut. Symptoms of Candida overgrowth can range from digestive issues to depression.

How Can I Treat it?

When it comes to treating Candida overgrowth, there are few key points to remember.

  • Starve the yeast

  • Overpower the yeast

  • Build up good bacteria

First, you  want starve the yeast, which feeds off of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and yeast-containing foods. For this reason, you will want to remove all sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, dried fruit, fruit juices, fermented foods*, vinegars**, and mushrooms.  You will want to limit legumes and grains to 1 cup a day.

Once the Candida is contained, we want to overpower it. You can do this with anti-fungal prescriptions, like Diflucan or Nystatin or anti-fungal supplements like candisolcaprylic acid, anti-fungal foods, or a combination of the three. Treating with Diflucan or Nystatin is certainly the fastest option, but not the only way to combat a Candida overgrowth. If you don’t want to take an anti-fungal medication, consider eating more of the foods that naturally fight Candida listed below.

Lastly, we want to reinforce our body’s defenses against future infections. You can do this by taking a high quality probiotic supplement.


10 Foods to Fight Candida

Coconut oil

Coconut oil naturally contains a fatty acid, called caprylic acid. This anti-fungal interferes with Candida growth and replication by poking holes in the walls of the yeast cells, causing them to die off.


Garlic contains allicin, a sulphur-containing compound with natural antifungal properties, specific to Candida. When eaten raw, this little food is one of the best antifungals around.

**Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is the one type of vinegar allowed on a Candida diet. Research on apple cider vinegar is limited, but it appears to contain enzymes that help break down Candida.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, and radishes, contain isothiocyanates, the sulphur- and nitrogen-containing compounds that attack Candida.


Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols, the anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal components of the ginger root. While ginger is not the most powerful antifungal of the group, it does provide significant liver support while your body is detoxifying the Candida overgrowth.

Olive Oil

Olive, flax, avocado, and primrose oils contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can help your body fight Candida.


Cloves naturally contain eugenol, a powerful essential oil and extremely effective antifungal when taken internally. Clove oil can also be effective as a topical aid for fungal infections of the toe and fingernails.


Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice with added anti-fungal properties. Similar to caprylic acid, it appears to damage yeast cells, causing them to denature and eventually die off. Cinnamon appears to be beneficial in the treatment of Candida, H. pylori, and even head lice, but it should not be used while pregnant or in the presence of a stomach or intestinal ulcer.

Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also known to fight fungal infections.

Lemon Juice

The essential oil of lemons contains mild anti-fungal properties.  Lemon’s main role in the diet is to help detoxify your liver as it tries to fight off the Candida.

*Fermented foods are considered ‘food’ for the good bacteria in your gut, however it can feed Candida as well.  Therefore, I recommend eradicating the Candida overgrowth first and then adding in fermented foods to help build-up your army of beneficial bacteria.

If you would like to find out for sure if you have candida overgrowth, consider seeing a functional medicine doctor, who is trained in detecting and treating candida.

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  • Belle A

    Turmeric, oregano oil and Grape seed extract are potent herbs to fight off candida infections.

  • Kimberly

    Hi! I was wondering if you would recommend avoiding sweet potatoes while trying to kill candida? There is a ton of conflicting information when it comes to sweet potatoes and I would love to get your opinion! Thank you!

    • I’d recommend limiting starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes while trying to kill Candida.

  • Isobel

    Hey I think I have Candida overgrowth, I have perioral dermatitis, eczema and ”chicken skin”. I went on one antibiotic to ”cure” my dermatitis and it just led to weakening in my immune system, which made me get other things and the ”only way” to cure those was more antibiotics. My skin is much better for some reason that I haven’t really wrapped my head around. But i want to cure these three things ”fully”. So I thought about buying your candida book, now what i wonder is does it have all the parts the starving, overpowering and the build up with good bacteria. And does it say how long you have to do all of these things for. I want to get rid of the candida, and then prevent it. But i don’t want to eat a strict diet where i can never eat sugar or never eat gluten with it coming back. Now my question is, in this book is all information on how to combat candida in there.

    • Yes, my Candida eBook does provide information on how to fight Candida infection. It’s a great place to start–the Guide to the Gut or Elimination Diet eCourses would be the next steps.

  • Peggy Lowe

    I am a vegan can I use your plan?

  • What about coconut yogurt?

    • Coconut yogurt is great, I even have a recipe you can use: http://www.amymyersmd.com/2014/02/coconut-milk-yogurt/

      • Thanks Amy, but I am not really interested in making it haha. What about any store bought brands? (low in sugar obviously)

        • Hmm, it depends. Sometimes it can be slim pickings in grocery stores. I’d read the ingredients on the back and look for one without any rice starch or soy added, which is common.

  • Basma

    Why are fermented foods not allowed. I thought they’d help providing healthy Bactria to the gut?

    • When someone has an active candida infection I treat that first before I add in any fermented foods (which feed good and bad microorganisms).

  • Hunter Aikins

    I’ve done some basic research on the symptoms of Candida and I’m trying to determine if these symptoms sound familiar to Candida overgrowth? Chronic brain fog, lack of concentration, acid reflux, joint pain in knee and esophageal irritation. I’ve been put on Prilosec and ranitidine but they haven’t really worked for me. Please help! 🙂

    • YES–those can all be symptoms of Candida overgrowth–especially brain fog, lack of concentration, and joint pain – those are very common.

  • Crystal Climenhage

    I have a question. Is organic, plain Kefir and organic plain yogurt alright to eat on Candida diet?

    • Hi Crystal, I don’t recommend that my patients consume dairy.

  • Crystal Climenhage

    I think I went and messed up the diet by consuming some lean ground beef. I didn’t know until I read this that it could become a breeding ground for candida. What it be a good idea to get a colonoscopy prep kit and just completely clear myself out? Or could that make things worse?

    • No I don’t think that’s necessary, just start back on the diet.

      • Crystal Climenhage

        Hi Dr Amy, I am having another problem now. I was getting really bad constipation. I ended up taking some Restorolax…..which helped. Even though it isn’t technically a laxative I stopped taking it because I don’t want my bowels to become dependent on it. I have been eatting broccoli, papaya, pears, flax oil, drinking hot lemon water with some salt in the morning, lots of water…..and stopped taking anti fungals for now. I really think it was the anti fungals causing this. I am getting bowel movements now but they are not normal like before. They are still hard at times. I feel like i’m not digesting things the same. I can’t have any almonds anymore I think they are contributing as well. What is going on with me? Do I need to take something to repair my gut? I figure when I start feeling better I will resume the anti fungals but what if this happens again? How am I supposed to rid myself of candida when anti fungals are are causing me to get constipated? Even when I was taking chia seed, I was having difficulty.

  • Crystal Climenhage

    Hi Dr. Amy. I have a problem now. I have been following the diet perfectly, been taking lots of chia seeds for fibre, drinking lots of water……..I am constipated now. Although I am releasing water, no stool is coming out. I read that this can be a symptom of candida die-off? Is that true? I went and got some Restorolax. Any suggestions on how to handle this and make this more bearable? My gp said it’s not a good idea to go completely cantabolic and to at least eat rice or quoinoa….I don’t think he knows much about candida diet though.

  • Cynthia Bittar

    Hi Dr Myers- I took the Genova GI effects test and have +2 Candida Glabrata. Any helpful tips on killing this type of candida. Is it the same proticol as Candida Albicans?

  • Sidea

    Dr. Myers – I’m confused about why garlic would be acceptable as it’s also an antibiotic. Shouldn’t we avoid any form of antibiotic on a candida cleanse?