Fungal infections and food

by Carmel Reid, Somerset, UK

We can suffer from a number of different fungal infections in our bodies and two that are prevalent are ‘Thrush’ and ‘Athlete’s Foot’.

Many women experience occasional bouts of a common yeast infection known as vaginal thrush, caused by Candida albicans yeast (a single-cell fungus).

It causes itching, irritation and swelling of the vagina and surrounding area, sometimes with a creamy white cottage cheese-like discharge.

Vaginal thrush is fairly harmless, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also keep returning – this is known as recurrent (or complicated) thrush.(1)

We can buy creams over the counter at a pharmacist that help to suppress the symptoms, but my question is: Does it get rid of the underlying cause?

You can also get oral thrush: oral thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth. Symptoms of oral thrush include sore, white patches in the mouth, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, a burning sensation affecting the tongue and problems swallowing. Oral thrush can affect people of all ages, including adults with weakened immune systems.

Candida albicans is one of the ‘normal’ flora that live in our gut, but becomes a pathogen if there is a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in your gut. This balance of ‘gut flora’ is a crucial part of your immune system and digestive health, but it can easily be lost during periods of stress or after a course of antibiotics. When this balance is lost, the colonies of Candida albicans are able to expand rapidly until they involve a large portion of your gut, overwhelming the other flora and causing disease.(2)

If you’re wondering why a few extra pathogens in your gut are such a big problem, let me explain. Candida albicans releases up to 79 different byproducts, including uric acid and a powerful neurotoxin named acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde causes chronic headaches and brain fog, and was recently classified as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Uric acid can cause joint pain and lead to gout if an excess builds up. Meanwhile, the change in your gut flora can lead to digestive problems, food intolerances, yeast infections and oral thrush.

Another yeast infection is ‘Athlete’s Foot’.

Athlete’s foot is a rash caused by a ringworm fungus (tinea) that appears between the toes or on other parts of the feet.

The affected skin may be itchy, red, scaly, dry, cracked or blistered. It’s not usually serious, but should be treated to stop it spreading to other parts of the body or to other people. Treatment usually involves pharmacy-bought creams, sprays or liquids and good foot hygiene. The medical name for athlete’s foot is tinea pedis.(3)

Generally speaking, if you visit your doctor and Thrush or Athlete’s Foot is diagnosed, there will be a medical solution offered. There is no link made to the foods we eat and yet, eating fungus or yeast is a prime culprit, as is eating foods containing sugars, including starchy foods and alcohol, and many people who stop eating certain foods find that the symptoms disappear permanently.

Of course, a change in diet for some people will be too tough a challenge, so they will prefer to use the medication, and that’s fine, but let’s explore here what food groups some of those changes include.

Years ago when I suffered from these conditions, I was stressed but also eating a lot of marmite, sugar and bread, all yeasty foods. I was also drinking alcohol and taking a food-based vitamin B, which contained yeast.

I had painful cracks between and underneath my toes and was embarrassed by the vaginal discharge. I was visiting a natural therapist at the time and she recommended the ‘Candida Diet’, which meant cutting out alcohol, honey, and fruit as well as sugar. An effective Candida diet involves cutting out as many sources of sugar as possible, whether they are natural or added.

Amazingly the symptoms disappeared within 2 weeks.

When, a couple of years later, I again had symptoms, I approached my GP to confirm the diagnosis and he looked puzzled when I said, ‘Ok, time to change my diet again’.

I find it strange that such a simple solution is not known about or promoted by the medical profession – could it be that they don’t want to tell patients to stop drinking alcohol or eating sugar?

It has been over ten years now since I have had any kind of fungal infection. Two things have changed:

(1) I have taken care to develop a less stressful lifestyle and

(2) My diet no longer includes yeast.

I avoid alcohol, refined sugar, bread, honey, rice, starchy vegetables. I still eat some fruit but mainly green apples and blueberries.

Is it worth it? Well that depends on whether you would rather indulge your taste senses for a moment or two, or live with a healthy, vital body that does not itch, smell or discharge!



Read more:

  1. What we get told about food
  2. Plastic surgery, designer vaginas and true beauty

600 thoughts on “Fungal infections and food

  1. It’s interesting to see how things change in our body when we address the root cause of an illness instead of only attending to the symptoms. Twenty-five years ago I was diagnosed with chronic rhinitis and was prescribed antihistamines for the rest of my life without being asked anything about my diet. In that time I ate lots of dairy products. I clearly used that food with the intention of numbing my body and not feeling what was around me. Someone suggested to me to avoid dairy products and after few months, the rhinitis completely disappeared. No need for antihistamines anymore, and the best of all is that now I’m more clear and sensitive again, which after all is my natural state.

  2. I absolutely love this punchline of a statement, ‘whether you would rather indulge your taste senses for a moment or two, or live with a healthy, vital body that does not itch, smell of discharge’. It is literally that with any illness or diseases; put up or do something about it.

    We can’t be fixed unless we play the role to make some changes too. The rest complements the healing process, it is that simple…

  3. Sometimes even when we get sick there is still a want to keep repeating what got us ill in the first place. Not everyone stops to see that illness is a way the body tries to get us to look at our behavior and change it. But then that just means it’ll get louder until we are crippled and have to listen. It’s wiser to listen to the little messages rather than be forced to pay attention.

  4. I’ve recently had athletes foot and no amount of cream would help it. I take sugar out of my diet and within three days it’s cleared up! So simple but taking the foods out means I 1. deal with why I wanted that food in the first place or 2. swap it for something else that will eventually result in a different condition. Taking the first option is generally the wiser choice and the one I prefer to take nowadays.

    1. Leigh, I’m not perfect but there is much to ponder about or food for thought (pun intended). For the sake of a moment or two, or for the moment of satisfying our taste buds, we are left with the ramifications of this on our bodies. There comes a point when we have to do something about it or something does it on our behalf instead.

      1. Shushila, could it be that we think the burst of sweetness that we can taste in our mouth is worth it because that is the only sweetness we feel in our day? Is it possible that we lead a life so far removed from who and what we are that we need this type and other stimulants to keep us going. Take away the stimulants with out addressing the reasons why we need to be stimulated and we reveal the zombie way of life we have made our reality.

  5. Thank you for sharing the facts about Candida albicans and how it can affect many parts of the body- a wake up call to look at our eating habits and lifestyle, and act in a more responsible, loving way towards our body.

  6. It’s really hard to change our diet because we think we should. Experiencing the discomfort and registering it as such can be a great medicine that allows us to have a point of reference from which we can learn to make a different choice.

  7. That last part is often how I describe why I live the way I do. Do I want a healthy, vital body or one that is itchy, revved up, sleep deprived, grumpy…the list goes on! I live how I live cause it makes me feel amazing.

  8. I cleared what appeared to be entrenched athletes foot for good. Through a naturopath, I was placed on a treatment plan which included taking supplements and clearing the gut with a diet free of sugar over twelve months, a great way to train my body to release its dependency on sugar. Alongside this, and over six months, I also took a course of prescription medication. A great example of esoteric and conventional medicine working beautifully together.

  9. Such simple changes and choices that we can all make – observe what we’re eating and how our body is feeling, and adjust and make changes from there.

    1. Yes I have found it is great experiment to play with my diet and see how my body responds and feels as a result – you really can go to a lot of detail and precision with this if you really pay attention. There is a lot we can do for our health by adjusting our diets.

  10. Looking at our diet when diagnosed with athletes foot, candida albicans and other ailments and diseases asks us to look at our choices. It begins to make the connection between illness and disease and our livingness and how the choices we make on a daily basis have an effect on our health and well being. Is this the reason why our doctors are reluctant to say that our food choices affect our health because it then asks us all to be responsible for what we create in our lives and that includes illness and disease?

    1. This could be applied to behaviours as well. I engaged in roughhousing last night, it was ‘fun’ but I was left feeling sore and when honest my body didn’t like that activity that parades as ‘playful’.

  11. I’ve always found it important to honour how I feel related to food and the symptoms I feel in my body. I find this ever changing as sometimes a food can be right for me and then I get a clear message this is not right anymore, this happened for example with vinegar, so I changed to lemon juice for salad dressings.

  12. This is great to have a very practical and real approach to symptoms we can go through when the body is clearly trying to communicate something to us. Get the medical support but also take a moment to stop and assess how we are eating and what we are eating can all have an impact.

  13. It is always a great starting point to look at the food we are eating and work out if there is any correlation between what we are eating and the effects it has on our body.

  14. Our body is a great marker, and when we suffer illness and disease our food is a good place to look at and discern if what we are eating is truly supporting us or not.

  15. An inspiring and factual blog Carmel. I love the understanding and awareness you now have about your body and choosing to live in a respectful and responsible way with it.

  16. It’s amazing how the truth works, if people don’t know about it they assume it might not be correct, and if many people think a certain way it can be assumed as a truth even if it’s not. The body is a beautiful thing reflecting back the truth always.

  17. When you put it like this who wouldn’t want to take the first option! ‘Is it worth it? Well that depends on whether you would rather indulge your taste senses for a moment or two, or live with a healthy, vital body that does not itch, smell or discharge!’ Reading this I can feel where I need to change and re-imprint my diet more. Thanks for the simple to the point information.

  18. Carmel, great you are talking so openly here about these thrushes, as it is a very taboo subject for most of the people. When we start to talk about it openly and not only looking for diet changes but what a thrush is telling you energetically, people will become more honest and humble towards their body.

  19. Yes I experience a clear link between diet and fungal infections too. I am not sure what my GP would say but it is very interesting that your GP did not mention a diet free of sugar and yeast as well because it is such a simple way of dealing with fungal infections and anyway great for our whole body to stop eating these foods. Medication is needed but not always for long and the body can take over itself when a healthy balance is restored.

  20. ” Is it worth it? Well that depends on whether you would rather indulge your taste senses for a moment or two, or live with a healthy, vital body that does not itch, smell or discharge! ”
    It sounds like it is worth it and I am guessing ones digestion would improve as well because of the balance of gut flora, thank you for sharing.

  21. We use food for many reasons and nutrition is a very small part of it these days. Sugar in particular has come to be used for reward and yet it is incredibly damaging to our bodies.

  22. Carmel what stood out for me in this was self responsibility, how you took responsibility over changing your diet, stopped drinking alcohol and decreased your stress, rather than just looking for a medical treatment to fix the problem.

  23. Going on a health regime to remove the candida, that I know now was all through my regularly un-well body, was one the most self-loving decisions I have ever made. It was quite a challenging time as the toxins died off but any discomfort was absolutely worth the results; a body that was much healthier, much more vital and a whole lot lighter – now that was the bonus, not the goal.

  24. Wow. Our shops are filled with what makes us unwell, as well as what would remove the symptom but not cure completely. It seems that this world needs us to be unwell as its foundation. That is pretty sick.

  25. Feeling somewhat stressed recently I started eating almonds like there’s no tomorrow. Now almonds are healthy but not in the quantities I was eating them. I was also eating fruit, a lot of fruit. What stopped me was realising I’d got addicted because every time I went to the supermarket I’d ‘treat’ myself to a small bag of dried papaya and lime. Very yummy and I couldn’t feel any adverse effects… except that I put on around 10 kilos. Seeing as how I was so proud of myself for losing 48Kgs it didn’t make sense to put it all back on again. One day I simply stopped. No almonds, no fruit. The resulting stillness in my body is amazing and I can feel so much more.

  26. Our behaviour around food is so worth studying, it can tell us a lot about ourselves and if we are willing can lead us to an ever increasingly healthier and lighter life.

  27. Our choice of food to eat is not just what appears to be. The food we choose and eat has profound consequences on our body and being. Food is a powerful tool we resort to either to support our evolution, or to cement us in a point we do not wish to move from.

  28. We can underestimate the effect that stress has on our body, and the way we live. That is why it is important to not only consider diet but looking at the quality of energy that we live our lives in.

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