Do you often suffer from vaginal complaints such as itching and white discharge similar to cottage cheese? You probably tried everything – from changing underwear and washing more often, to antifungal creams and probiotics, but with not much luck. Some people are just prone to Candida albicans infections. Thrush can be very annoying, especially when it recurs with every hormonal change or stressful situation. Still, don’t despair! Here’s a tip: try correcting your diet. Start with a special anti-candida diet regime that will aid you in keeping both your bowels and intimate area safe from yeast infections.
What does diet have to do with your vagina?
Even though many specialists claim that diet does not have any impact on your vaginal flora, many women swear by these diets. There are some logical conclusions in support of the diet, but no sound proof. Candida, like any other yeast, loves sweets. For this reason, people who eat lots of sugar-rich foods are more likely to develop thrush. Chances are that using an antifungal cream you managed to get rid of vaginal thrush, but you might still have Candida in your bowels. Unfortunately, this may result in re-infecting the vaginal area over and over again.
Before you decide to start, there are three things you should know about this diet:
1. This is not a thrush therapy. If you already have thrush you should consult your doctor, who can recommend an anti-fungal drug, or an efficient probiotic. The diet helps you maintain a healthy balanced flora, once the balance is established.
2. The results of the diet are not visible quickly. Most women are happy with the results only after a month, while others have to be persistent for two, or even three months, for improvements in their intimate health.
3. If you are pregnant or having problems with your kidneys, you should not try this diet.
On a brighter note, anti-candida diet will not limit the amount of food you can eat, nor will it be monotonous and boring – there are lots of ingredients that you can cook with or eat raw, and you should have no problems getting used to it!
What foods to avoid?
- Sweet food: sugar, honey, maple syrup, jam, chocolate… you’d be surprised, but ketchup, barbeque sauce and similar also contain a high percentage of sugar, so try to avoid them too.
- Starchy food: bread, pastry, crackers, biscuits, corn, rice… but also potatoes, beans and peas.
- Fruit, either fresh or dried, should also be avoided. The same goes for smoothies and fruit juices. If you really can’t live without fruit, indulge yourself with a green apple or grapefruit every now and then.
- Milk and non-fermented dairy products, like milk-shakes, ice-creams and very young white cheese. If you have to use milk for coffee, tea or cooking, it’s best if you use goats’ milk instead of cows’.
- Avoid mushrooms and food that contains yeast. Avoid sour food too: pickles, mayonnaise, vinegar etc.
- Try not to drink alcohol, but especially not beer and sweet liquers.
- Delicatessen: processed meat and pâté is not only full of salt, but often contains all kinds of preservatives that can damage your intestinal microbial balance.
- Peanuts, pistachio, and ready or reheated meals should also be avoided.
- A good tip is to read the labels, and avoid all of the following: lactose, fructose, saccharose, maltose, galactose, sorbitol, manitol, etc.
Are you already wondering what you are allowed to eat?
- You can eat all kinds of vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, aubergine, courgettes, cucumbers, carrot, onion, garlic, green beans, all green leafy vegetables, turnips, tomato, and so on…
- Meat, fish, eggs – go crazy, you can have it all!
- Sour cream, yoghurt and butter should be eaten every day, but in small quantities. Hard and strong cheeses should only be eaten if cooked and served warm.
- Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, sesame, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts are allowed.
- You should drink lots of water, but you are also allowed tomato juice, herbal teas and decaf coffee.
- You can use all kinds of oils for both cooking and dressing – olive, sunflower, sesame, flax… or simply use vegetable oil (although I’d suggest trying some more interesting ones).
- Whole-grain wheat, oats, millet and other grains, can be eaten – but in small quantities and preferably hot!
- If you can’t do without biscuits, try to eat those for diabetics and/or lactose intolerant people.
Is there a special schedule to follow for the anti-candida diet?
Even though you can just start randomly and keep an eye on the ingredients and foods you eat every day, there are a few steps that should ensure that the diet acts more quickly and efficiently.
1. Detox! Start your days with a glass of warm water spiced by a few drops of lemon (or more if you prefer). Drink lots of water throughout the day. Eat lots of fresh vegetables, and don’t avoid onions and garlic either (if you don’t mind the smell). In the first instance, avoid red meat. Eat smaller meals more times per day, and chew your food thoroughly.
2. Use probiotics! To help the good bacteria in your organism, try to add a few nutrients for them into your daily routine. You can buy probiotics as supplements, or you can have a few spoonfuls of natural or Greek yoghurt every day. For better results – mix it with crushed flax seeds. For your intimate microbes, use a vaginal probiotic (we recommend Multi-Gyn FloraPlus).
3. Be strict! The stricter you are – the better the results. Don’t lie to yourself, it’s only your health that will suffer.
4. Expand! After achieving results (which, just to remind you, can be after a month or more), you might want to start introducing some ingredients back into your life. Every week choose one food that you will “test”. Start with red meat, than expand onto potatoes, beans, peas, milk products etc… Every week, watch for signs that the balance of your microbial flora might be broken. If no itch or discharge appear (nor bloating, which can be a sign of intestinal yeast), move on to the next ingredient. Try not to re-introduce sweet foods that contain refined sugar, or keep them at a minimal level.
Anti-candida diet has been tried and tested by many women around the globe. Have you tried it? What is your experience with it?