Candida Vs. Nutritional Yeast & Medicinal Mushrooms
If you’re reading this, you’re probably on the hunt for good fungi to heal your gut. But as with most things in health, it helps to know the good from the bad. This post tackles what Candida is and how it differs from nutritional yeast and mushrooms.
I’ll also be sharing information about the nutrition in fungi and supplements to take for stellar gut health and holistic healing. Read on further to get your questions answered!
What Is Candida?
Candida is the yeast that causes a fungal infection called Candidiasis. The most common type of Candida is Candida albicans. Candida can be found on the skin and inside your body. It may be located in your gut, mouth, throat, or vagina.
When inside your gut, candida acts as a naturally occurring “opportunistic” yeast. Generally, in a healthy body, it lives in harmony with the rest of your microbiome, playing a beneficial role in your digestive system. Your good gut bacteria can usually keep the yeast in check.
The infection occurs when an overgrowth of the harmless Candida yeast turns into a fungus. These fungal colonies can cause a leaky gut among other symptoms.
Is It Bad to Eat Yeast or Fungi With a Fungal Infection?
Most people think that we have to avoid all yeast and fungi when we have a fungal infection like Candida. Although it makes sense, this isn’t necessarily true since there is such a thing as good fungi and bad fungi.
Removing all yeast and fungus from your diet because you have a fungal infection is a bit like saying, “I have a bacterial infection so I have to stay away from all bacteria.”
Just like there are harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli, there are good bacteria like Acidophilus and Bifido. The same logic applies to fungi and yeasts; you have friends and foes. Let’s talk about those which are good for you.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is part of the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae class of yeast that help fight Candida. According to yeast expert Seymour Pomper, Ph.D., nutritional yeast has become a popular herbal mono-preparation in Germany to help treat candida overgrowth.
Nutritional yeast has a delightful cheesy flavor and is often used to replace cheese in recipes. You can sprinkle it into fries, salads, and even dips like pesto or guacamole. Looking to give it a try? Check out this Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole.
What Is the Best Nutritional Yeast?
The best nutritional yeast you can eat would be fortified yeast. Fortified yeast contains essential vitamins such as vitamin B12 and folic acid while unfortified yeast only contains natural vitamins and minerals.
What Are the Best Medicinal Mushrooms?
We’ve covered good fungi and bad fungi (pathogenic). While Candida fungi can be both helpful and harmful (depending on it’s condition/amount), medicinal mushrooms are definitely for healing. They may aid in: supporting your immunity, boosting your energy, controlling inflammation, and fighting a Candida fungal infection.
Best medicinal mushrooms
Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, Chaga is also known as “The Mushroom of Immortality”. With one of the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) ratings known to mankind, it ranks as one of the most potent antioxidants in the world. This fact alone makes Chaga one of the ultimate anti-aging foods to fight free radical damage in your body.
Fighting free radicals may protect you from:
- Chronic inflammation
- Other age-related diseases
Chaga may also help inhibit cancerous tumor growth and stimulate the production of immune cells in your spleen as well as T lymphocytes that help regulate your immune system. This supports your body in properly fighting off bacteria, viruses, and candida!
Reishi is nicknamed “The King Of Mushrooms” and to this day is still considered a prized medicine mushroom in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC). It has also been used by Taoists, Buddhists, royalty, and herbalists of all levels for centuries.
Reishi acts as an immune modulator and adaptogen. Its benefits include:
- Managing stress
- Restoring hormonal balance
- Regulating activity of the immune system
- Cardiovascular, central nervous and digestive system health
- Preventing tumors and cancerous cells
Cordyceps is known to create zombie insects, high-jacking their neurological system in order to spread spores and reproduce. In humans, however, it’s upheld the reputation of being a “precious longevity-promoting herb.”
Also a potent free radical hunter, Cordyceps can help bring a hyperactive immune system under control which may help with autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation. It’s also often used to enhance exercise performance as it may help treat fatigue and lethargy.
- Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey Tail mushrooms are considered good fungi and very useful for improving the overall health of your body. Studies have shown that turkey tail mushrooms can greatly aid your body in the fight against candida. They contain a multitude of antioxidants and have been used to boost the body’s immune system and even enhance cancer treatment regimens.
How About “Normal” Mushrooms?
What about the ones you see in the grocery like brown buttons, Cremini, oyster, or portobello mushrooms? Do they feed or fight Candida? With a quick google search, you’ll only get frustrated finding conflicting information.
Some experts say avoid all mushrooms like the plague, while others say it’s fine. To set the record straight, mushrooms don’t feed Candida. Candida mainly eats sugar and the starchy and processed carbohydrates in your diet. Mushrooms are neither of these things.
The confusion begins if you happen to have developed a yeast intolerance or allergy while infected with Candida. This is where something like an Elimination Diet or the GAPS Diet can be of help to identify your kryptonite foods. Before taking any type of diet, it’s best to seek professional help from a nutritionist, health coach, or doctor first.
Can Candida Cause a Leaky Gut?
Candida fungus is known to cause intestinal permeability aka a leaky gut. A Leaky gut allows food particles to get into your bloodstream undigested, which ignites widespread inflammation in your body while stimulating an immune response. Over time, this causes allergies or intolerance.
Developing an intolerance to yeast and mushrooms is not uncommon. If this is the case for you, then these foods may hinder your healing process. (Because every time you eat these foods, you activate an inflammatory immune response.)
Here are some foods that may trigger inflammation for people with an intolerance:
- Edible mushrooms
- Nutritional yeast
- Yeast found in apple cider vinegar or in fermented foods like Kvass, Kefir, or Kombucha
Symptoms of intolerance may include:
- Bodily aches and pains
Oftentimes, these symptoms of food intolerances can get lost or be mistaken as symptoms of Candida and die-off.
I recently worked with a client, and we identified that he had an immune reaction to mushrooms. He was in Stage 4 of the GAPS diet and felt fantastic until he introduced mushrooms. Then fatigue and pain hit him like a ton of bricks. However, he felt fantastic on fermented foods like Beet Kvass and Sauerkraut.
Good Fungi to Heal Your Gut
Knowing what’s good for gut health is a great start to achieving holistic health and systemic benefits. However, the quality and absorption of beneficial fungi matters in ensuring you get optimal results.
Candida Cleanser offers premium quality supplements which have helped thousands of people fix their leaky gut. Learn about our community’s success stories and see how our Cleanse Preparation Program can benefit you.
In-House Holistic Health Coach