What grains can I eat on candida diet?

When following a candida diet, there are certain grains that are recommended and others that should be avoided. The candida diet aims to eliminate sugars, processed foods, grains that contain gluten, and foods that can feed a candida overgrowth in the gut. By removing foods that may exacerbate candida symptoms, the diet can help restore balance to the gut microbiome.

Quick Overview of Allowed Grains on Candida Diet

The main grains that are considered candida diet approved include:

  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Amaranth

These grains do not contain gluten and are lower in carbohydrates than commonly eaten grains like wheat. They provide fiber and nutrients that support gut health.

Why Follow a Candida Diet?

Candida is a type of yeast that naturally lives in the body. When candida overgrows in the digestive tract, usually in the gut or mouth, it can cause symptoms like:

  • Digestive issues
  • Fatigue
  • Skin problems
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Yeast infections

Some factors that can cause candida overgrowth include high-sugar diets, antibiotic use, weakened immune system, and high stress levels. The candida diet works to restrict foods like sugar and refined carbohydrates that may feed candida.

Foods to Avoid on Candida Diet

These foods should be avoided while following the candida diet:

  • Sugar, honey, maple syrup
  • All grains containing gluten: wheat, barley, rye
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • All fruits except green apples, berries, grapefruit, lemons, limes
  • Dried fruits
  • Peanuts, pistachios
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Condiments with added sugar: ketchup, BBQ sauce, relish
  • Processed foods

These foods tend to be higher in sugars, processed carbohydrates, or contain yeasts and molds that may worsen candida overgrowth.

Allowed Grains on Candida Diet

Choosing the right grains is important when following the candida diet. Look for gluten-free grains that are low in carbohydrates and won’t spike blood sugar levels.


Quinoa is a protein-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy texture when cooked. It is naturally gluten-free and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.

Quinoa is lower in carbohydrates than grains like rice or wheat. One cup of cooked quinoa has around 40 grams of carbohydrates, but it also has 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein.

The fiber and protein help stabilize blood sugar response and promote satiety. Quinoa is easy to incorporate into candida diet recipes and can be used to make breakfast dishes, salads, side dishes, and more.


Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is gluten-free. It comes from a plant related to rhubarb. Buckwheat has a unique nutty, earthy taste and soft texture.

Buckwheat is lower in carbohydrates with about 20 grams per cup of cooked buckwheat groats. It provides fiber, antioxidants, and protein. Look for toasted buckwheat groats or soba noodles made from buckwheat flour.


Millet is an ancient grain that has remained largely unchanged over the years. It is naturally gluten-free and provides B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Cooked millet has about 22 grams of carbohydrates per cup. It has a mild, nutty flavor that can be incorporated into breakfast bowls, added to salads, or used in soups. Millet flour can also be used for baking.


Oats are naturally gluten-free, but are often contaminated with gluten during growing and processing. Be sure to choose certified gluten-free oats.

Oats contain beta-glucan fiber which helps lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels. A half cup of cooked oats has about 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Steel-cut oats and rolled oats tend to be lower in gluten cross-contamination compared to quick oats. Oats work well in candida diet breakfasts or desserts.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a good source of magnesium, selenium, and fiber. It is lower in carbohydrates than white rice.

A quarter cup of cooked brown rice provides about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Enjoy brown rice in stir-fries, rice bowls, casseroles, or as a side dish.


Amaranth is an ancient grain that provides protein, fiber, and micronutrients like iron. It has a nutty flavor and can be used similarly to oats or quinoa.

Amaranth only has about 15 grams of carbohydrates per quarter cup when cooked. Use it to make breakfast porridges, add it to yogurt, or even pop it like popcorn for a delicious snack.

Sample Menu with Allowed Grains

Here is a sample one day menu with candida diet approved grains:


  • Gluten-free oatmeal cooked with unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, and berries


  • Mixed greens salad with chicken, avocado, tomatoes, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown rice


  • Turkey burger on gluten-free bun with lettuce, tomato, and mustard
  • 1/4 cup quinoa tossed with olive oil, garlic, and spinach


  • Sliced apple with almond butter

This sample menu incorporates quinoa, brown rice, and oats as allowed grains on the candida diet. Lots of non-starchy veggies, clean proteins, and healthy fats help nourish the body while restricting candida growth.

Tips for Preparing Allowed Grains

Here are some tips for preparing candida diet friendly grains:

  • Rinse quinoa and millet well before cooking to remove any saponins, compounds that can make them taste bitter or soapy.
  • Experiment with herbs, spices, garlic, shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt-free seasoning blends to add flavor to grains.
  • Cook grains in vegetable or bone broth instead of water for extra nutrients.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3-5 days.
  • Pair grains with cleansing veggies like onions, garlic, carrots, and greens.
  • Toast buckwheat groats in a dry skillet before cooking for enhanced nutty flavor.

Potential Benefits of Following the Candida Diet

By limiting intake of sugary and high carbohydrate foods, the candida diet can help restore balance to the gut microbiome. Potential benefits of following a candida diet include:

  • Improved digestive health: Restricting foods that can harm gut health like sugar, alcohol, and processed foods allows beneficial bacteria to thrive.
  • Reduced inflammation: Sugar promotes inflammation which exacerbates candida overgrowth. Removing excess sugars and refined carbs can lower inflammation.
  • Improved immune function: When candida overgrows, it can weaken the immune system. The diet helps strengthen immune function.
  • Increased energy levels: Candida can contribute to fatigue. As the gut heals, energy levels may increase.
  • Healthy weight loss: Eliminating sources of excess calories like sugar and refined carbohydrates can promote gradual weight loss.

Sample Meal Plan

This 5-day sample meal plan provides an idea of what a candida diet may look like:

Day 1 Breakfast: Gluten-free oats with blueberries and almond milk
Lunch: Mixed greens salad with chicken, bell peppers, and balsamic vinegar

Dinner: Baked salmon with zucchini noodles and broccoli
Snack: Hardboiled egg
Day 2 Breakfast: Veggie omelet with spinach, peppers, and goat cheese
Lunch: Leftover salmon over arugula salad with olive oil and lemon
Dinner: Turkey baked ziti with gluten-free pasta, turkey sausage, marinara sauce, and roasted asparagus
Snack: Strawberries
Day 3 Breakfast: Coconut milk yogurt with toasted walnuts, chia seeds, and banana
Lunch: Baked chicken breast with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato
Dinner: Veggie stir-fry with tofu, broccoli, peppers, onions, and brown rice
Snack: Green apple slices
Day 4 Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with turkey, spinach, and tomatoes
Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with romaine, carrots, cucumber, and balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner: Pork roast with mashed cauliflower and roasted asparagus
Snack: Half an avocado
Day 5 Breakfast: Vegetable hash with sweet potato, kale, eggs, and turkey sausage
Lunch: Tuna salad with chickpeas over mixed greens
Dinner: Chicken meatballs with roasted carrots, zucchini noodles, and marinara sauce
Snack: Handful of pumpkin seeds

This meal plan focuses on lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, and gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, and gluten-free oats. The candida diet helps rebalance gut flora by promoting foods that fight candida overgrowth.

Foods to Reintroduce After Candida Diet

The candida diet is typically followed for 2-4 weeks, then foods can gradually be reintroduced. Here are some foods that can be added back in modest amounts:

  • Starchy vegetables: Sweet potato, yam, winter squash, potatoes
  • Gluten-free whole grains: Amaranth, teff, wild rice
  • Fermented dairy: Kefir, plain Greek yogurt
  • Beans & legumes
  • Fruit: Grapes, melon, bananas, plums, etc.

Keep monitoring symptoms and avoid any foods that seem to trigger candida symptoms. Continue to limit intake of refined carbs, excess sugar, and alcohol.

The Bottom Line

An overgrowth of candida in the gut can contribute to digestive issues, fatigue, poor immune function, and more. The candida diet works to fight candida by eliminating sugars, gluten, alcohol, and some starchy vegetables.

Key candida diet friendly grains include quinoa, buckwheat, millet, certified gluten-free oats, brown rice, and amaranth. These provide fiber, protein, and nutrients without spiking blood sugar. Follow the diet for 2-4 weeks, then slowly reintroduce foods and monitor symptoms.

Consult a healthcare professional before making significant diet changes. With appropriate modifications and careful meal planning, the candida diet can help restore balance to the gut microbiome.

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