Are you considering a Candida diet but wondering why pork is off the menu?
While many meats are allowed on this diet, pork is one that is typically avoided. This is due to the presence of retroviruses and parasites that may survive cooking and be harmful for those with a weakened digestive system.
Additionally, pork often comes in an over-cooked form (i.e. bacon!) that is full of carcinogenic compounds.
But pork isn’t the only food to avoid on a Candida diet. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind the restrictions and provide tips for navigating this challenging but potentially beneficial diet.
Why No Pork On Candida Diet?
As mentioned earlier, pork is not allowed on a Candida diet due to the presence of retroviruses and parasites that may survive cooking and be harmful for those with a weakened digestive system. These organisms can cause serious health problems, especially for those who are already struggling with a Candida overgrowth.
In addition to the potential health risks, pork often comes in an over-cooked form (i.e. bacon!) that is full of carcinogenic compounds. These compounds have been linked to various types of cancer and should be avoided whenever possible.
But pork isn’t the only food to avoid on a Candida diet. In fact, there are many other foods that should be eliminated or limited in order to effectively combat a Candida overgrowth.
Understanding Candida And The Candida Diet
Candida is a fungus that naturally occurs in the body and aids in nutrient absorption and digestion. However, when there is an overproduction of candida, it can lead to negative health consequences. The candida diet is a restrictive diet that aims to reduce and eliminate candida symptoms by avoiding foods and drinks that could increase the risk of candida overgrowth.
The candida diet requires people to avoid foods such as gluten, sugar, alcohol products, and certain types of dairy. Instead, the diet focuses on eating lean proteins, healthful fats, nonstarchy vegetables, and probiotics. These foods help minimize inflammation and balance the concentrations of bacteria inside the gut.
According to a 2017 laboratory study, higher glucose concentrations may promote candida growth. However, foods containing fructose might prevent candida growth in the mouth. By eliminating foods that contribute to yeast growth, people may have a lower risk of developing candida infections. However, current scientific evidence has yet to confirm the diet’s effectiveness.
While some experts disagree with the necessity of the candida diet, there is some initial promise in research that suggests diet may be a valid treatment for chronic intestinal candida overgrowth. A pilot study found that a group that was treated with antifungal medication and followed a specific diet (one with no simple sugars, alcohol, cured and fatty meats, or dairy) during and after treatment were more likely to have normalized candida levels three months later than individuals who used medication only.
The candida diet promotes the consumption of whole and low-sugar foods, non-starchy vegetables, healthy protein, non-caffeinated beverages, and gluten-free grains. Embarking on a restrictive diet can feel overwhelming, but there are still many foods you can enjoy while trying a candida diet. Nonstarchy vegetables of all colors, low-glycemic fruits like citrus and berries, healthy fats including avocado and nuts and seeds that are low in mold, high-quality animal proteins like meat and fish, and gluten-free whole grains like quinoa and buckwheat are all allowed on the candida diet.
Why Pork Is Not Recommended On The Candida Diet
Pork is not recommended on the Candida diet because it contains a virus called Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus that can be harmful to people with weakened digestive systems. This virus can undermine the effectiveness of the Candida diet plan and cause serious health problems.
Furthermore, properly-cooked pork from a reputable source may be okay, but the majority of pork products available in the market are processed and full of unhealthy additives. Processed meats are known to promote inflammation in the gut, which can lead to bowel cancer and increase the risk of Candida overgrowth.
It is important to note that the Candida diet food list is populated with a variety of foods to avoid, many of which are unhealthy for a number of reasons beyond their supposed promotion of fungal growth in the body. These include sugars and alcohols of all types, wheat, rye, oats, and barley, corn, rice, and spelt that may contain mold that promotes fungal growth.
The Potential Health Risks Of Consuming Pork On The Candida Diet
While pork is a rich source of certain vitamins and minerals, it can also pose potential health risks for those on a Candida diet. The Candida yeast diet food list, as provided by the Mayo Clinic, recommends avoiding pork products due to the high risk of contamination with hepatitis E. This virus can infect up to 20 million people each year and can lead to acute illness, enlarged liver, liver failure, and even death.
Pork liver is the top food-based transmitter of hepatitis E in developed nations. In America, about 1 out of every 10 store-bought pig livers tests positive for hepatitis E. One study in Germany found that about 1 in 5 pork sausages were contaminated. In regions of France where raw or rare pork is a common delicacy, over half the local population shows evidence of hepatitis E infection.
People with compromised immune systems, including organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy and people with HIV, are more likely to suffer from severe hepatitis E complications. Thorough cooking is necessary to deactivate the virus. Cooking pork products for at least 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F) seems to do the trick. However, fatty cuts of pork might need extra time or higher temperatures.
Other Foods To Avoid On The Candida Diet
Aside from pork, there are several other foods that should be avoided or limited on a Candida diet. These include:
1. High-sugar fruits: Fruits that are high in sugar, such as bananas, dates, figs, fruit juices, grapes, mangoes, melons, and raisins should be avoided. These fruits can feed the Candida fungus and promote its growth.
2. Dairy products: Full-fat dairy products should be limited on a Candida diet. While probiotic yogurt, ghee, and real butter (in moderation) are allowed, all sugary milk or yogurt products like ice cream or frozen yogurt should be avoided. Moldy blue cheeses, processed cheese, cream cheese, and cheese dipping snacks are also generally not allowed.
3. Grains: Wheat and gluten are often discouraged on a Candida diet, but there is insufficient evidence that this can help. Some Candida diets also advise against food made with yeast. If you decide to cut gluten from your diet, it is generally best to do so if you experience gluten intolerance or sensitivity rather than as a means to control Candida.
4. Sugary and processed foods: Foods that contain refined sugar, such as table sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, maple sugar, molasses, date sugar, raw sugar, rice syrup, or sorghum should be avoided. Many breads also contain these ingredients and should be checked for nutrition labels for other names for sugar.
5. Alcoholic and fermented drinks: Alcohol is discouraged on a Candida diet. Fermented drinks like cider and root beer are also generally avoided. The same applies to sodas or energy drinks whether they are sugar-free or not.
By eliminating these foods from your diet and focusing on anti-inflammatory foods like garlic, olives, probiotics and coconut oil, you can help reduce levels of Candida fungi in your body and promote gut immunity. It is important to remember that the guidelines of the Candida diet are often strict and may require you to completely eliminate several food groups. If you decide to embark on the diet, you should do so under the supervision of a health professional to ensure that you are meeting all of your nutritional needs while effectively managing your Candida overgrowth.
Alternatives To Pork On The Candida Diet
If you’re looking for alternatives to pork on the Candida diet, there are plenty of options available. White meats like chicken or turkey are excellent sources of protein and can be consumed in moderation. It’s important to buy local, organic, and hormone-free meat to ensure that you’re not consuming any harmful additives.
Eggs and fish are also great sources of protein and can be included in your diet. When it comes to dairy, full-fat dairy should be limited, but probiotic yogurt, ghee, and real butter (in moderation) are allowed. Almond-based cheeses like Kite Hill or Daiya can also be used as substitutes for regular cheese.
If you’re looking for meat substitutes, tempeh is a great option that provides a meaty texture in your foods. You can also make your own meat substitutes with seeds, nuts, vegetables, and spices.
It’s important to remember that the guidelines of the Candida diet are often strict and may require you to completely eliminate several food groups. If you decide to embark on the diet, it’s best to do so under the supervision of a health professional. Stick to non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and tomatoes and avoid produce that is likely to be exposed to mold, such as mushrooms.
Tips For Successfully Following The Candida Diet
Following the Candida diet can be challenging, but it is essential to stick to the guidelines in order to see results. Here are some tips to help you successfully follow the diet:
1. Avoid added sugars: Added sugars like dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, and high fructose corn syrup are a no-go on the Candida diet. Candida albicans feeds on sugar, so it’s crucial to eliminate it from your diet.
2. Cut out junk food: Processed foods, fast food, and other junk foods should be avoided as much as possible. These foods contain preservatives, chemicals, and other additives that can disrupt your gut health.
3. Eat non-starchy vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens are excellent choices for the Candida diet. They are low in sugar and high in fiber, which helps support healthy digestion.
4. Eat low-sugar fruits: While fruits are generally healthy, some are higher in sugar than others. Stick to low-sugar fruits like berries and avoid high-sugar fruits like bananas and mangoes.
5. Enjoy healthy proteins: High-quality meats like grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and organic chicken are great sources of protein on the Candida diet. Vegetarian options like beans and lentils can also be included.
6. Use healthy fats and oils: Healthy fats like avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil can be used for cooking and dressing salads.
7. Minimize caffeine: Caffeine can disrupt your gut health and exacerbate Candida overgrowth symptoms. Try to limit your intake of coffee and tea as much as possible.
8. Eat non-glutenous grains: Gluten can be difficult to digest for some people, so it’s best to stick to non-glutenous grains like quinoa, brown rice, and millet.
9. Enjoy fermented foods: Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir contain probiotics that promote healthy gut bacteria.
By following these tips, you can successfully follow the Candida diet and alleviate symptoms of Candida overgrowth. Remember that it’s essential to stick to the diet for a set period of time before reintroducing eliminated foods to ensure that Candida overgrowth has been addressed.