Processed foods are foods that have been modified from their natural state by chemical processes or the addition of artificial substances like preservatives, colorants, flavors and textures.
Packaged teas, flour and other foods that are simply cleaned and graded are examples of primary processed foods.
Tomato puree is an example of a secondary processed food. Ice cream, instant noodles, breakfast cereals, cheese, crisps, salad dressings and soft, fizzy drinks as well all canned, bottled or boxed ready-to-eat foods are classified as tertiary processed foods because the original foods have undergone the most changes.
Although these foods are convenient to consume, they should be avoided because they have been linked to health conditions that range from cancer to cardiovascular diseases. All processed foods should also be eliminated from the Candida diet in order to avoid these six health risks:
1) Processed foods feed Candida
Most processed foods contain a lot of sugar which is usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Their excessive sugar content contributes to Candida colonization because it feeds on it during the digestive process.
These yeast cells need sugar to grow and it contributes to their transformation from relatively benign forms into invasive forms. These aggressive forms have tentacles that help them breakthrough the walls of the intestines and enable them to cross into the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
This aids the migration of Candida from the gut to other parts of the body and contributes to the development of Candida symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nasal congestion, bloating, burning urination and athlete’s foot. The Candida crossover also plays an important role in the development of the leaky gut syndrome which enables other toxic substances to enter the blood from the gut.
Eliminating foods with a high sugar content will help starve the Candida and stop the overgrowth from occurring.
2) Processed foods can cause diabetes
Soft drinks, which are some of the major sources of high fructose corn syrup in the diet, have been linked to diabetes (1). Their high sugar content causes insulin resistance which leads to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Abstaining from drinking soft drinks and other processed foods with high fructose corn syrup can reduce the risk of developing Candida infections because diabetics are more prone to them because of the high blood sugar levels.
3) Processed foods increase inflammation
Dietary fat has been linked to inflammation (2). This is more so with processed foods which contain unhealthy trans-fats and fats with high concentrations of omega 6 fatty acids which increase inflammation in the body.
Consuming these foods therefore aggravates the state of chronic inflammation in the body that develops as a result of Candida overgrowth.
Deleting oily processed foods from the diet can reduce the inflammation in the body especially if it is combined with the consumption of healthy oils like flaxseed oil and fish oil. This is due to the fact that they contain omega 3 fatty acids which further reduce inflammation in the body.
4) Processed foods cause sugar cravings
Most processed foods contain a large amount of refined carbohydrates. These simple carbs cause surges in blood sugar after they are consumed. This leads to spikes in insulin levels which drop the blood sugar and cause cravings for more sugary foods.
Eliminating these foods from the diet can prevent a worsening of the cravings for sugar-rich foods and carbohydrates that develop as a result of Candida colonization.
5) Processed foods are low in fiber
Most processed foods usually have a low fiber content which can contribute to the development of constipation. Eliminating them from the diet can prevent worsening of the constipation, gas and bloating associated with Candida overgrowth.
The low fiber content of processed foods also contributes to them taking a long time in the intestines. This leads to their fermentation which changes the intestinal pH and contributes to the process of Candida overgrowth.
The alcohol produced in the fermentation process also destroys the good gut bacteria that keep the population of Candida in check. This further enhances the process of Candida colonization.
Eliminating low fiber processed foods from the diet and replacing them with fiber rich vegetables can reverse this process since it hastens the passage of food through the intestines and feeds the good gut bacteria that control Candida. Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale are some of the low-carb foods that can be consumed to achieve this goal.
6) Processed foods depress the immune system
Excessive consumption of processed foods can depress the immune system since they are usually low in nutrients. Some of their ingredients are also harmful to the body.
Avoiding processed foods can reduce a person’s risk of developing Candida overgrowth especially if they are replaced with organic foods which are rich in immune-boosting vitamin C like broccoli and red bell peppers.