Suspect Candida? Seven Steps for What to Do About It

Candida is one type of yeast that naturally occurs in the mouth and digestive tract and helps absorb harmful toxins. However, with too much toxicity, say from heavy metals or broad-spectrum antibiotic use, we begin to see an imbalance of this fungus which can cause a multitude of problems in the body. Do you get recurrent skin or fungal infections like athlete’s foot, or yeast infections? Candida overgrowth can be a culprit. But there are many other symptoms too.

A candida yeast overgrowth issue can be painful, upsetting and frustrating, but I always turn to food for the solution. Having the right nutrition prescription is the solution to reducing symptoms and creating a balanced ecosystem.

Symptoms of candida overgrowth

Some are more obviously related to a fungal imbalance:

  • Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.
  • Recurring vaginal yeast infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Itching in the vaginal or rectal area
  • Skin issues including psoriasis, rashes or eczema
  • Dandruff, dry flaky skin, or adult acne

Other symptoms, however, are not as straightforward. But these issues could also point to candida overgrowth:

  • Feeling tired and worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Feeling bloated or constipated
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea, chronic gas, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and heartburn
  • Brain fog, mood swings and other cognitive issues
  • Severe seasonal allergies
  • Severe PMS, endometriosis or irregular menstruation

This is a big one too: Experiencing strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings. I’m always saying that food cravings aren’t just lack of willpower. For a fungus like candida to grow, it needs food, and nothing makes it flourish like sugar. So those sugar cravings might be excess candida getting hungry for more fuel.

How did I end up with a candida overgrowth?

The healthy bacteria in our gut typically keeps yeast levels balanced. However, there are a few factors that can tip this ecosystem out of balance:

  • Taking a heavy dose of antibiotics
  • Having heavy metal toxicity
  • Consuming too much refined sugar and processed foods
  • Consuming excess alcohol
  • Dealing with lots of stress

Using nutrition to help

The goal is to create an ecosystem that doesn’t encourage excess yeast growth. Here are steps I take with my clients, and you can use them too. The goal is to stop the overgrowth and encourage healthy bacteria in the gut.

  1. Stabilize blood sugars. To stop overgrowth, we want to keep your body’s natural sugars nice and balanced. That means three meals and two snacks every day, and possibly an extra snack if you’re a night owl. You’ll also need to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning.  
  2. Strategically choose fruits and carbs. To keep dietary sugars on the lower side, opt for lower glycemic fruit like strawberries and blueberries instead of high glycemic fruits like pineapples and apples. I find it can also be helpful to replace grain-based complex carbs like bread and pasta with non-grain based carbs and starchy vegetables like wild rice or sweet potatoes. (If you are following my Candida Cleanse, fruits and grains are not on plan at all.)
  3. Add small amounts of fermented vegetables. Sometimes when we do heavy candida burn off, I layer in small amounts of fermented vegetables. Add a couple tablespoons of kimchi with a meal like my Kimchi Salmon Patties or a fermented salsa over my Fat-Blasting Egg Casserole. Keep it to a tablespoon or two per day.
  4. Add lots of cruciferous vegetables. We’re going to need to focus on absorbing and removing any harmful substances (like heavy metals), that are causing candida overgrowth. Alkalizing vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and collards have incredible properties, and I even tell my clients to use a little chlorella or spirulina in their green smoothie to support the body’s natural detoxification process. I love using my cleanse shakes because they include spirulina to help remove excess toxicity.
  5. Add probiotics. For any healthy gut protocol, I use my Metabolism Pro-Biotic (available separately or included in the Candida Cleanse package) to create balance and homeostasis in the gut.
  6. Get tested. You’ll want to get tested if you suspect a candida overgrowth. You can do this via a blood test, a urine test, or a comprehensive stool test (I think the stool test is the most accurate).

Customize your FMD Plan. For clients on the Fast Metabolism Diet, I customize the plan for them a bit if they have a candida yeast overgrowth:

  • Phase 1. Spend just one day in Phase 1 and replace the higher glycemic fruits (apples, pears, pineapples) with lower glycemic fruits that are found in Phase 3 (things like berries, cherries, and grapefruit).
  • Phase 2. Spend three days in Phase 2 with at least one meal containing some sort of cultured or fermented vegetable, about two tablespoons of fermented salsa or kimchi. I love to add in the I-Burn tea because it contains bioflavonoids that are extremely antimicrobial for fighting off candida overgrowth.
  • Phase 3. You will spend three days in Phase 3, but replace grains with wild rice or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.

Using these strategies will help you reduce the symptoms of your candida overgrowth and bring your body back to balance.