A Nutritionist Just Revealed the #1 Worst Food to Eat for Yeast Infections
Cut your risk of yeast infections by cutting down on this in your diet—plus, the foods that can help keep your intimate wellness balanced.
It’s no secret your nutrition plays a key role in regulating your health, from the appearance of your skin to your mental wellness. And, according to a 2021 study in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, watching what you eat can even make the difference in a clean bill of health from your OB-GYN. This study found that high blood glucose levels, such as those that many of the 37.3 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes work to manage, can cause a drop in the vagina’s pH. Clinicians specializing in female health say if you’re overdoing it on one ingredient, it’s possible this diet choice could be increasing your susceptibility to yeast infections.
Get more tips on maintaining good vaginal health—even when it’s hot out!—in The Most Breathable Women’s Underwear You Can Buy, According to Gynecologists.
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The link between eating sugar and yeast infections
Katie Bressack, CHHC, AADP, a Los Angeles-based, board-certified holistic nutritionist with a specialization in hormone health, tells The Healthy one uncomfortable way your diet can affect your wellness down there: “The foods you’re eating could contribute to a yeast infection,” Bressack says. One food in particular? “Yeast loves sugar and feeds off of it, which could lead to a yeast infection.”
Sharon Malone, M.D., FACOG, NCMP, the chief medical officer of Alloy Women’s Health who has worked on women’s health initiatives with figures like former First Lady Michelle Obama, points out that while there’s not necessarily a correlation for everyone, people with high blood sugar—or those who are prone to yeast infections—are the ones who should really be mindful about sugar consumption. “The biggest thing is to control your blood sugar,” Dr. Malone tells The Healthy. “If you are a diabetic or prediabetic, the best thing that you can do to limit the number of yeast infections you have is to control your blood sugar.”
Dr. Malone says a diet low in processed sugars can help keep your yeast production in check. Bressack adds: “Focus on eating lots of healthy proteins and fats to support your blood sugar, and try to reduce simple sugars as much as you can to help reduce yeast infections.”
Simple sugars often come in processed foods, packaged snacks, and, yes, sweets. One key is to always look at the number of grams of added sugar on the food labels you buy, keeping in mind that four grams of added sugar is equivalent to dropping one teaspoon of sugar in whatever you eat or drink.
What foods can help fight a yeast infection?
Here’s the good news: if there are foods that can hurt, there are foods that can help. Experts say there are some things you can introduce to your diet to keep your pH balanced.
(You may have heard that cranberry juice can help. We did some inquiring.)
To maintain healthy gut flora, help with digestion, regulate hormones and tamp down inflammation, fermented foods are the way to go. Dr. Malone suggests options like kimchi and sauerkraut.
Kombucha is also a good choice, but Bressack says to sip it with caution: “Only have a little bit of kombucha, since it does have a lot of naturally occurring sugar.”
- Katie Bressack, Holistic Nutritionist, CHHC, AADP
- Dr. Sharon Malone, M.D., FACOG, NCMP, Chief Medical Officer of Alloy Women's Health
- The Cureus Journal of Medical Science. "The Interplay Between Sugar and Yeast Infections: Do Diabetics Have a Greater Predisposition to Develop Oral and Vulvovaginal Candidiasis?"