Ask The GI

I Have Candida Overgrowth – Should I Eat Starchy Foods?

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Recently, I’ve been increasing the amount of fibrous vegetables I eat, based on the recommendations I’ve seen here. I’ve also started eating oatmeal again. But I seem to notice Candida flare-ups when I eat too much starch. Should I limit my intake of oatmeal and other starchy foods, such as sweet potatoes? Also, I’ve seen that green banana and green plantain are good prebiotics. Would you recommend eating these foods?  –Autumn

Dr. Chutkan: Autumn, as a general rule, incorporating fibrous plant foods high in inulin and resistant starches – like bananas, green bananas, green peas, lentils, uncooked rolled oats, white beans, as well as squash and sweet potatoes – is a great way to increase the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and in turn, crowd out pathogenic bacteria.

While some individuals suffering from dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria, including Candida overgrowth) will thrive on a diet containing these foods, others may find that starchy foods lead to symptoms. If you find this is the case, listen to your body, and decrease, or completely eliminate, these foods from your diet for 2 to 3 weeks. If you enjoy these foods and would like to reintroduce them, do so slowly and find a balance that works for you.

Another way to feed beneficial gut bacteria is through leafy greens, so if you find that foods high in inulin and resistant starches are problematic, focus instead on daily consumption of leafy greens to help promote a balanced microbiome.

For more on starchy foods check out a reader’s question regarding low carb diets and weight loss.

The information on this website is for informational or educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. All readers should consult with their healthcare provider before beginning any new medical, dietary, or lifestyle programs. 

Robynne Chutkan, MD

Robynne Chutkan, MD, FASGE, is the founder of Gutbliss Rx. She is an integrative gastroenterologist and the bestselling author of Gutbliss, The Microbiome Solution, and The Bloat Cure. Educated at Yale and Columbia, she’s been on the faculty at Georgetown University Hospital since 1997 and is the founder of the Digestive Center for Wellness, an integrative gastroenterology practice incorporating microbiome analysis and nutritional counseling as part of the therapeutic approach to digestive disorders. An avid runner, snowboarder, and yogi, she is passionate about helping her patients live not just longer lives, but dirtier ones!

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