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Gluten Free & Candida Diet

By Max Quigley

Candida is a type of fungus present in all humans, yet a poor immune system can cause an unhealthy growth of candida leading to a fungal infection such as athletes foot, oral thrush and conjunctivitis. Gluten is a type of protein found in grain products which can cause stomach upsets, inflammation and fatigue in celiac disease sufferers. Candida infections and celiac disease are not directly related, though similar foods must be avoided on either a gluten-free or candida diet.

What is Candida?

Candida is a fungus that is shared by all humans. Candida can, however, spread and cause oral and genital infections. Candida is an opportunistic infection meaning it usually does not cause infection other than in an unhealthy host. A compromised immune system can cause proliferation of candida which can manifest itself in rashes and irritations such as thrush. The use of steroids, antibiotics, progesterone cream and other factors such as sugar consumption, puberty, menopause and heavy metal poisoning can all cause a candida infection.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a type of protein that appears in products made from grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is a glue-like component in grain and is responsible for giving dough its elastic quality. Gluten can cause allergic reactions in people with the autoimmune disease known as celiac disease. Celiac disease affects around 0.5 to 1 percent of the U.S. population and can cause symptoms such as inflammation, weight loss, weight gain, nausea, diarrhea, bloating and anemia.

Candida Diet

A candida diet consists of foods that inhibit the growth of yeast. A candida diet begins with a detox by fasting, drinking vegetable juices, colon cleansing, drinking plenty of water and taking detox herbal supplements. Restrict yeast intake from foods such as bread, cheese, fermented foods, alcohol, all types of sugar, honey and, depending on the severity of your condition, you may also need to restrict your fruit intake as fruit contains a lot of sugar. Eat foods that naturally inhibit yeast formation. Probiotics found in natural yogurt work against candida by reinforcing healthy bacteria in your stomach. Protein sources such as meat, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds will also help to reduce the growth of candida as will plenty of green vegetables. Abstain from starchy vegetables such as potato and sweet potato at least until the candida infection has cleared up.

Gluten-free Diet

A gluten-free diet is one in which all forms of gluten are restricted including gluten in processed foods. Foods such as bread, rye products and oats are restricted. Oats, though they do not contain gluten, contain a component that is similar to it and often causes a similar allergic reaction. Other foods such as ice-cream and ketchup often use gluten as a stabilizer so it is important only to buy specified gluten-free products. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, lentils and chickpeas are permitted as well as buckwheat and graham flour. Most alcoholic beverages, except beer, can be consumed on a gluten-free diet. Despite being made from gluten-rich foods, the distilling process involved in making spirits such as rum and whiskey actually removes the gluten so it can be safely consumed by gluten allergy sufferers.

Related Foods

Although gluten allergies and candida are not directly related, a diet comprised of gluten based foods can cause both. If you are a sufferer of celiac disease or a gluten allergy, all gluten foods must be restricted from your diet. If you suffer from candida, most gluten rich foods will also affect you adversely. While gluten does not cause candida to grow, the high amounts of sugar and yeast in most breads and gluten-rich foods will exacerbate a candida infection.

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