The first step to starting the candida diet is getting familiar with what you can and cannot eat. Resources outlining this information are plentiful and pretty consistent. There are however a few controversial foods that have caused great confusion for candida dieters. Vinegar is one of these foods.
When I first started the candida diet I studied several candida diet resources. I studied these resources until I understood why I could not consume particular foods. Most resources provided good explanations as to why it was necessary to avoid certain foods, but the reason for avoiding vinegar eluded me. These resources were consistent in recommending that vinegar be eliminated but the information as to why, was vague. Till this day I have never found a good reason for avoiding it. Vinegar is found in many condiments and can be challenging to avoid. Despite this challenge and not understanding why I had to eliminate vinegar, I decided to eliminate it anyway, just to be on the safe side.
Vinegar and Candida
So what is the relationship between vinegar and candida? Maybe understanding what vinegar is and how it is made will help us figure this out. According to Wikipedia vinegar is primarily acetic acid and water. Acetic acid is produced by the fermentation of alcohol by bacteria. Fermentation is the process of adding bacteria or yeast to convert sugars into acid. So vinegar falls into the fermented foods category and historically fermented foods have not been recommended for the candida diet.
Fermented foods are prohibited on the candida diet because they are often developed using yeast. Avoiding all types of yeast has been a widely held candida diet belief that has recently been called into question. While vinegar may be developed using yeast, the bacteria which develops in the fermentation process may be beneficial to our health. This is actually the case with all fermented foods.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) seems to be the mother of fermented foods. Most new candida diet resources have started to include ACV as an approved food. ACV is actually encouraged as it is suspected to have antifungal properties that combat candida. I have been using ACV for 2 to 3 years without any problems. It is actually my go to remedy for sinus infections. I use natural, unfiltered ACV because I believe that it contains the most beneficial enzymes and bacteria. While I use ACV other types of vinegar may also provide health benefits.
I wish I had some concrete scientific studies that I could share explaining the health benefits of vinegar but I don’t. There have been animal studies and small human studies involving vinegar. While these studies are promising they are only preliminary and need further investigation. The benefits of vinegar are grounded in folklore rather than modern science. This folklore however spans thousands of years. The Healing Powers of Vinegar by Cal Orey offers numerous first person accounts of people who have successfully treated health problems with vinegar. There are also numerous vinegar success stories online.
While I believe vinegar may be a beneficial addition to the candida diet, vinegar may not be for everyone. Some people are extremely sensitive to fermented foods so ultimately you will need to decide if vinegar and other fermented foods are right for you. If you are not seeing improvement in your candida symptoms while consuming or after adding vinegar or other fermented foods to your diet than you may have to eliminate them.
One thing that I have learned is that candida guidelines while helpful are not be perfect for everyone. With allergies, food sensitivities and other coexisting health issues it is hard to develop a one size fits all protocol. Your body is the best judge of what you should be eating, so listen to it carefully.
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