A small amount of fungus naturally exists on and in the body, and there isn't a problem with it. However, certain situations could cause the fungus to multiply out of control, causing yeast infections.
The incidence of fungal infections, particularly those caused by Candida species, has been increasing. Among Candida species, Candida albicans is considered the most virulent pathogenic species in humans; and commonly causes superficial infections. But sometimes, oral thrush, throat thrush, and vaginal thrush may lead to lethal invasive Candidiasis.
Candida is a natural member of the human microbiota. It can colonize the mucosal surfaces and skin of healthy people. The recurrence of yeast infections may be higher in immunocompromised people due to aging, HIV infection, organ transplantation, and cancer chemotherapy.
What is Candida Yeast Infection?
The Candida genus contains around 100 different yeast species on the skin, mouth, throat, intestines, and vagina.
Standard Candida yeast concentrations encourage good health and the absorption of nutrients and help digestion. But too much of this yeast can lead to infections in the body or on the skin. Candidiasis is an infection of fungi caused by Candida overgrowth. The mouth, throat, skin, intestines, and vagina can be affected.
The vaginal yeast infection is named vaginal Candidiasis. Vaginal yeast infection causes several symptoms, including redness, swelling, itching in the vagina, soreness around the vaginal area, and vulva. Other symptoms include a sensation of burning while urinating and intercourse. About 75% of women all around the world will experience a vaginal yeast infection sometime in their life.
The first thing you should do during a yeast infection is to contact your healthcare professional. Proper medication must be used for a complete cure of Candida yeast infections.
Several foods and dietary changes may also help to treat this infection. You can prevent yeast infections by eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and some dairy products. Certain dietary products and foods have many health benefits and may help prevent chronic yeast infection.
People who follow the candida diet avoid sugar, gluten, alcohol, and milk products. These products might stimulate Candida yeast growth within the body. The Candida diet includes the consumption of foods rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and healthy fats. These foods help most people to have a strong immune system to prevent yeast infections. Certain foods rich in sugar must be avoided during a yeast infection.
This article gives you detailed information about certain dietary changes you need to adopt to prevent yeast infections.
Candida yeast is the most common reason for these fungal diseases. However, it can be eroded by eliminating foods high in carbohydrates and sugar, and eating foods loaded with vitamins, healthy fats, and probiotics.
The Candida diet requires people to avoid foods and beverages that can enhance the risk of overgrowth of Candida. Gluten, sugar, alcohol, and certain types of milk are among those. People can minimize the risk of developing yeast infections if they eliminate food that contributes to yeast growth. Studies show that high sugar foods increase the risk of vaginal yeast infections. (1)
The Candida diet concentrates on eating lean proteins, healthy fats, cultured foods, and probiotics. These foods are intended to help decrease inflammation and balance the bacterial concentrations inside the intestines.
People who want to prevent yeast infections should follow the Candida diet by incorporating healthy dietary changes.
People suffering from recurrent yeast infections should add certain foods to their dietary plan to prepare their bodies to fight against yeast infections. These dietary changes will help boost their immune system and create conditions in the body that are not favorable for yeast overgrowth.
1. Foods with low sugar content
Yeast feeds on sugar and starches. The growth of Candida yeast is encouraged by consuming refined sugar and dairy products with high lactose content. High sugar levels in your body create favorable conditions for yeast growth. Thus, the chances of getting yeast infections can be reduced by eliminating high sugary foods from your diet. (2)
You can prevent recurrent yeast infections by avoiding the consumption of the following foods with high glucose and starch content. Such as,
- White flour
- Food rich in simple sugar
- Foods fermented with yeast
- Drinks made with fermented yeast
Similarly, increased consumption of certain foods may prove helpful in controlling and preventing the recurrence of yeast infections. Such as,
- Protein-enriched nuts, seeds
- Low starch fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats and oils
Oregano essential oil is a popular complementary medication for fungal and bacterial illness prevention and treatment. Research suggests that many fungi, including Candida albicans, can be fought effectively by using oregano oil. (3)
A high level of yeast infections is also associated with some gut conditions. Oregano oils improve gut health by killing gut parasites and protecting against the syndrome. A healthy gut inhibits yeast infections on and within the body.
Coriander seed, a part of the cilantro plant, is a good source of fiber, copper, manganese, iron, and magnesium. In addition, essential coriander oil is a famous fungal fighter that plays a crucial role in killing various microorganisms causing vaginal yeast infections.
Swallow a couple of drops of the essential coriander oil or mix it with chili powder, paprika, cayenne, and dried lemon zest for a seasoning mixture. Such a mixture is proven significantly beneficial for the treatment of oral Candidiasis. (4)
Probiotics in food are healthy, but only when they are hard enough to resist stomach acid and make it into the gut. The composition of soft cheeses is perfect for providing the gastrointestinal tract with probiotics. The pH of cheese affects the survival and growth of probiotics in the intestines. For this reason, the supply of intact probiotics to the GI tract is probably better with soft cheese. These healthy probiotics help to prevent yeast infections on and within the body. (5)
Certain types of cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese contain probiotics. Such cheese types rich in probiotics should be part of a person’s diet suffering from yeast infections. (6)
Cheese with important probiotics like acidophilus helps in the treatment of yeast infections. Gouda is the most probiotic soft cheese of all.
Extract from papaya seeds and leaves are beneficial in fixing fungus growth and preventing yeast infections. Moreover, it contains vitamin C in large amounts, which treats all sorts of yeast infections more effectively.
Studies show that papaya seed extract helps in killing certain bacteria and fungi. The papaya seed extract is beneficial against three strains of fungi, one of which is the specific pathogen responsible for recurrent yeast infections. (7)
Fermented items like yogurt contain probiotics or good bacteria, including Lactobacillus, acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium. These bacteria compete with Candida yeast infections on and within the body.
Yogurt is a safe and affordable treatment used by women to prevent yeast infections. This natural remedy/treatment controls the overgrowth of yeast due to the presence of bacteria in yogurt, especially Lactobacillus.
Several studies show that people need at least one serving of yogurt each day to significantly reduce the incidence of yeast infections. In recent research, yogurt contains acidophilus bacteria, typically known as live or active cultures, on food labels. Such active cultures help treat yeast infections efficiently.
7. Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is an effective anti-fungal that contains high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. It is pure, fresh, and organic, unlike regular coconut oil. The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil make it effective in treating infections caused by Candida albicans, a type of fungus responsible for most yeast infections.
Coconut oil with its constituent fatty acids may help reduce the colonialization of Candida albicans in the gut and prevent infections. Lauric acid is the saturated fatty acid in coconut oil responsible for anti-fungal activity. Coconut oil comprises mainly lauric acid (almost 50%); and is the only food that contains lauric acid in such a high amount.
It is suggested to add virgin coconut oil to your Candida diet to overcome the recurrence of yeast infections. The use of virgin coconut oil in your regular diet may help in reducing yeast infections due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects. It kills most of the infectious microorganisms. As a result, it keeps you healthy. (8)
Curcumin is a naturally occurring yellow-pigmented polyphenol which is one of the active components of the spice turmeric. Turmeric is derived from the roots of Curcuma longa, which is most commonly cultivated in India. It is widely used as an anti-inflammatory agent in some medicinal preparations. (9)
Curcumin is famous for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activity, along with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Research indicates that curcumin, with its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activity, can inhibit the growth of most of the fungal species, especially Candida. The anti-fungal activity of curcumin helps in minimizing the occurrence of yeast infections. (9)
Probiotics, also known as good bacteria, are live bacteria that occur naturally in the human body and provide several health benefits. Probiotics support the growth of other bacteria and fungi necessary for the normal functioning of the body. These are usually present in the digestive tract, vagina, and skin. They do not allow harmful bacteria and fungi to grow on or inside the body. They maintain the pH balance and support the immune system against infections. (10)
Several factors, such as diabetes or weakened immune systems, make people more susceptible to yeast infections. Moreover, the excessive use of antibiotics may kill good bacteria present in your gut or vagina. The disruption in the balance of good bacteria favors the overgrowth of yeast, particularly of Candida. This overgrowth of Candida leads to yeast infections ranging from mild to chronic. Probiotics help mitigate these yeast infections. They not only prevent your body from yeast infections but also cure the existing ones.
Probiotics are available in the form of food (such as yogurt), supplements, and capsules. Different probiotics are available to treat different infections. Lactobacillus strains are helpful in the prevention and treatment of infections caused by Candida albicans. They also have a role in reducing the symptoms of yeast infections. It is recommended to talk to your healthcare professional and discuss your symptoms. They may prescribe you the right probiotic according to the type of infection. (10)
Garlic is popular for its anti-fungal activity. Allicin is the active component of garlic which is responsible for the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects of garlic. Consumption of garlic favors the growth of healthy bacteria in the human body, and in return, it controls the growth of yeast to prevent yeast infections. Garlic is another plant food in the Candida diet that helps in preventing Candidiasis. The anti-fungal effect of allicin inhibits the growth of Candida in your body and keeps you safe from yeast infections. You can add garlic to your food or use it in garnishing. (11)
These dietary changes may help you in the prevention and treatment of recurrent yeast infections. A healthy diet plan and recommended probiotics may prove beneficial for people prone to yeast infections. In case of severe infection, it is recommended to visit your healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Man A, Ciurea CN, Pasaroiu D, Savin A-I, Toma F, Sular F, et al. New perspectives on the nutritional factors influencing growth rate of Candida albicans in diabetics. An in vitro study. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz [Internet]. 2017 Sep;112(9):587–92. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28902283
- Patil S, Rao RS, Majumdar B, Anil S. Clinical Appearance of Oral Candida Infection and Therapeutic Strategies. Front Microbiol [Internet]. 2015 Dec 17;6:1391. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26733948
- Pozzatti P, Scheid LA, Spader TB, Atayde ML, Santurio JM, Alves SH. In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. Can J Microbiol. 2008 Nov;54(11):950–6.
- Freires I de A, Murata RM, Furletti VF, Sartoratto A, Alencar SM de, Figueira GM, et al. Coriandrum sativum L. (Coriander) essential oil: anti-fungal activity and mode of action on Candida spp., and molecular targets affected in human whole-genome expression. PLoS One [Internet]. 2014 Jun 5;9(6):e99086–e99086. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24901768
- Ganesan B, Weimer BC, Pinzon J, Dao Kong N, Rompato G, Brothersen C, et al. Probiotic bacteria survive in Cheddar cheese and modify populations of other lactic acid bacteria. J Appl Microbiol. 2014 Jun;116(6):1642–56.
- Ortakci F, Broadbent JR, McManus WR, McMahon DJ. Survival of microencapsulated probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei LBC-1e during manufacture of Mozzarella cheese and simulated gastric digestion. J Dairy Sci. 2012 Nov;95(11):6274–81.
- Singh O, Ali M. Phytochemical and anti-fungal profiles of the seeds of carica papaya L. Indian J Pharm Sci [Internet]. 2011 Jul;73(4):447–51. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22707832
- W. GKT, N. T-BS, R. MN, H. LA, A. KC, P. MA. Manipulation of Host Diet To Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen Candida albicans. mSphere [Internet]. 2021 Aug 30;1(1):e00020-15. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00020-15
- Varthya SB, Thangaraju P, Venkatesan S. Curcumin and fungal infection – commonly available herbs for common female infection. J Fam Med Prim care [Internet]. 2020 Feb 28;9(2):1272. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32318514
- Matsubara VH, Bandara HMHN, Mayer MPA, Samaranayake LP. Probiotics as Antifungals in Mucosal Candidiasis. Clin Infect Dis an Off Publ Infect Dis Soc Am. 2016 May;62(9):1143–53.
- Shams-Ghahfarokhi M, Shokoohamiri M-R, Amirrajab N, Moghadasi B, Ghajari A, Zeini F, et al. In vitro anti-fungal activities of Allium cepa, Allium sativum and ketoconazole against some pathogenic yeasts and dermatophytes. Fitoterapia. 2006 Jun;77(4):321–3