Why You Should Ditch Fermented Foods if You Have Candida
In my many years of treating patients for Candida overgrowth, I saw a surprising number of people who were surprised to learn that eating fermented foods isn’t the way to go. A number of Candida treatment plans suggest adding fermented foods to your diet to feed the good bacteria in your gut. While fermented foods do feed your gut’s population of probiotics, they also feed Candida. What’s more, some fermented foods are already yeast-containing, and can directly contribute to Candida overgrowth. This is exactly why I recommend everyone dealing with Candida remove fermented foods from their diet.
Let’s discuss how you can overcome Candida overgrowth by eliminating fermented foods and restoring the friendly bacteria that keep Candida in check with the help of my Candida Breakthrough® Program.
A Recap on Candida
Candida is a yeast—a simple fungus—that is naturally present in your digestive tract. It helps you digest what you eat, and assists in drawing nutrients from those foods. Your body only needs a very small amount of Candida to perform these essential functions, and the “good” bacteria in your gut generally keep Candida levels from getting out of control.1 However, there are several common circumstances that can easily lead to Candida overwhelming your “good” bacteria. These include:
- A high carb and high sugar diet, which can fuel the growth of Candida
- Excessive alcohol consumption, which weakens your immune system
- Antibiotics that kill your body’s good bacteria along with the bad
- Chronic stress, which impairs your immune system and negatively impacts your digestive system
- Immunosuppressant drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases that reduce your body’s infection-fighting abilities
Once Candida’s reproduction is no longer balanced by “good” bacteria, Candida can break down the walls of the intestine and enter your bloodstream. This Candida overgrowth can cause leaky gut which leads to an array of health problems from irritable bowel syndrome and skin issues, to fatigue and mood swings that can appear in every part of the body.
How Fermentation Works
All yeasts, including Candida and edible yeast such as the one used to make bread, need sugar to thrive. Yeasts, with the help of certain bacteria, break down sugars for their fuel through the process of fermentation. There are two main types of fermentation: alcohol fermentation and lacto-fermentation, in which the lactobacillus species of bacteria is part of the process.2 Various strains of lactobacillus bacteria are present in plants, and are also naturally found among the “good” bacteria in your gut. In fact, strains of Lactobacillus are often found in probiotic supplements because of their gut health benefits.
During the fermentation process, the lactobacillus multiplies quickly, because in addition to producing enzymes and nutrients the fermentation process produces prebiotics. Prebiotics help probiotics grow, so fermented foods are very high in probiotics3, as well as prebiotics, which feed your gut’s natural probiotics when you eat them. They’re also high in lactic acid, which helps retard the growth of “bad” bacteria. This is why fermented foods don’t spoil quickly.
Why Fermented Foods Cause Problems
That sounds like you should be eating fermented foods if you have Candida overgrowth, doesn’t it? However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. All of the prebiotics produced during the fermentation process feed not only the “good” bacteria, they also feed “bad” bacteria and yeast. This means that fermented foods themselves may be high in bad bacteria and yeast.
Additionally, the high concentration of prebiotics found in fermented foods makes their way to your gut, where they feed probiotics, bad bacteria, and yeast alike. So if you are dealing with Candida overgrowth, and already have an overpopulation of bad bacteria or yeast, eating fermented foods is the equivalent of adding fuel to the fire.
So fermented foods do have potential health benefits, yet they may lead to more harm than good by perpetuating gut infections. Here are the main culprits you should avoid, at least until you are sure your Candida is back in balance with the rest of your gut microbiome, and maybe longer:
- Beer: Technically a byproduct of the fermentation of barley, it also contains gluten.
- Champagne: The signature bubbles are created by a second fermentation of white wine with added sugar and yeast.
- Kefir: Milk that has been fermented with the addition of live kefir grains.
- Kimchi: Shredded cabbage and radishes fermented with garlic, salt, and spices.
- Kombucha: Tea fermented with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).
- Sauerkraut: Shredded cabbage fermented with salt.
- Vinegar: Wine with added bacteria that changes the alcohol to an acid.
- Wine: The result of fermented fruit, usually red or green grapes.
- Yogurt: Milk fermented with yogurt cultures to produce lactic acid.
Foods That Fight Candida Overgrowth
By now, you’re probably wondering what you can eat while treating Candida overgrowth. Fortunately, there are a number of anti-Candida diet foods that fight yeast that you can incorporate into your diet. If you’re looking for inspiration, I have a ton of diet-friendly recipes on my blog that contain anti-Candida foods such as:
- coconut oil
- apple cider vinegar
- cruciferous vegetables
- olive oil
- wild salmon
- lemon juice
Treating Candida Overgrowth
Removing fermented foods from your diet is a great first step to help resolve Candida overgrowth. However, diet alone will only go so far as to treat your symptoms. To fully recover from Candida overgrowth, you’ll need to restore the “good” bacteria and repair your gut so that Candida cannot enter your bloodstream. You can take on Candida today by following my 30-day Candida Breakthrough® Program, and find relief from chronic symptoms such as digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurrent fungal infections including jock itch and athlete’s foot, skin problems, mood swings, and more.
By following the simple and proven three-action approach that includes all of the powerful, pharmaceutical-grade supplements you’ll need and an easy-to-follow anti-Candida diet meal plan full of foods that kill Candida, you will:
- Step 1. Starve the Candida by removing the foods that feed it from your diet. This means eliminating all sugar and alcohol, and restricting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes. It also means ditching all fermented foods.
- Step 2. Attack the Candida by taking supplements that destroy Candida’s cell walls. I like to use Candifense® as well as Caprylic Acid, both of which are excellent at breaking down the walls of Candida cells to destroy them.
- Step 3. Repopulate your gut with good bacteria by taking a high-potency probiotic that keeps Candida under control. While battling Candida, I recommend a probiotic supplement containing 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) to restore your gut’s healthy microbial balance.
For the highest level of support for dealing with stubborn, recurring Candida, start on my Candida Breakthrough® Program today.
- Candidiasis. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020.
- Alcoholic and Lactic Acid Fermentation in Food - A Primer. Savory and Sour Test Kitchen.
- What Are Probiotics?. WebMD.
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