Nutritional therapy employs dietary changes and supplements to treat and prevent yeast infections. If you have problems with vaginal yeast infections, there are some foods that you should avoid and other foods that you should be sure to include in your diet.
Eating certain foods can contribute to a yeast infection in one of two ways: by encouraging the growth of the Candida albicans and by taxing the body's immune system. These bothersome foods may contain yeast or mold or trigger the symptoms of food allergies or sensitivities. Foods you may want to avoid include:
- sugars (including honey, fruit juices, and maple syrup)
- artificial sweeteners
- dried fruit
- meat, poultry, and milk (which can have traces of antibiotics in them)
An elimination diet can help pinpoint any foods that trigger allergy symptoms: Frequently eaten foods and common food allergens (such as wheat and milk) are avoided and then reintroduced one by one, taking note of which ones bring on symptoms.
Some items can introduce "good" bacteria that keep fungus growth in check. They include live yogurt and the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus and certain species of Bifidobacterium, which can be taken orally or used as a douche. (Beware of sweetened yogurt and, for people with milk intolerance, lactose.)
Nutrient deficiencies may also contribute to an overabundance of fungus. Supplements that can be helpful include vitamin A, vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, and essential fatty acids, among others. (If taken, these should be yeast-free.)
Garlic can be added to the diet for its fungus-blocking properties and may prevent infections. Caprylic acid, grapefruit seed extract, and undecenoic acid also have strong antifungal properties. In general, good nutrition that comes from eating a varied, whole-foods diet contributes to a strong immune system -- one that can ward off infections.