Coffee On an Antifungal Diet

Elise Deming, RDN
Reviewed by
cup of coffee

Can coffee be consumed on an antifungal diet? Anti-fungal, or anti-candida, diets are becoming increasingly popular in the world of alternative medicine. Most traditional anti-candida diets restrict coffee on the basis of its caffeine content, but some science suggests coffee restriction may not be necessary for all.

Does Coffee Contain Yeast?

Some coffees may be fermented, meaning they are processed with yeast and may not be best on a candida diet. According to foodie website Kitchn, coffee beans are processed in two ways, either using the wet method, which involves fermentation and yeast, or using the dry method, which does not. It's not always possible to tell which method the manufacturer used. Therefore, you may want to consider avoiding coffee altogether for this reason, particularly in early stages of a candida diet when you are the most sensitive. However, if you still really need that cup of java, contact the manufacturer and ask them about fermentation of the coffee beans and the yeast status of the coffee.

Coffee and Mycotoxins

Additionally, some coffee samples tested have been found to contain mycotoxins, which are molds (fungus) that can affect candida status. While studies into consumed mycotoxins and their specific effect on candida are not currently available, the Candida Diet notes mold exposure can worsen candid and weaken immunity, which is also something to consider when it comes to coffee consumption. Not all coffee contains mycotoxins, but some does and it's not always possible to tell which is which, so again it may not be worth it to have your daily cup of coffee if you on a strict diet to eliminate candida.

Caffeine and Candida

Coffee is sometimes considered a health threat because of a single component of its chemical makeup: caffeine. However, it is important to remember caffeine is not coffee; coffee contains some caffeine. Coffee also contains a wide variety of other nutrients, antioxidants, and ingredients that may actually be beneficial to your health. In the past two decades, the medical opinions regarding coffee have taken a drastic shift and news agencies such as CBS and U.S.News have been happily reporting the latest research.

Caffeine and Candidiasis

If coffee isn't quite the dietary demon it was once assumed to be, why are major anti-fungal programs such as the Body Ecology Diet still leaving this food off their "good" list?

First of all, candidiasis is a tricky diagnosis. A systemic fungal overgrowth is a very real condition, but it is rare, and mostly present in highly immune-compromised persons such as cancer victims and AIDS patients. The more common diagnosis of candidiasis is often given by alternative medical practitioners who are seeking an explanation for a patient's tricky symptoms such as:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Persistent yeast or fungal infections
  • Digestive symptoms

Oftentimes, these patients have experienced little success from conventional medicine treatments, and so they look for an alternative program. It is always possible a yeast or fungal connection can be linked to their symptoms, and thus an anti-fungal diet alongside anti-fungal supplements are often prescribed.

Anti-Fungal Diets

Anti-fungal and candida diets are eating programs that:

  • Contain anti-fungal ingredients
  • Are yeast-free
  • Eliminate any foods that feed fungi and yeasts, such as sugars and carbohydrates

Many, if not most, of these diets are extremely restrictive when it comes to stimulants, alcohol, sugars and carbohydrates. However, resources such as CandidaFood.com reports on the more interesting aspects of the coffee/caffeine and yeast connection.

Caffeine affects the central nervous system as a stimulant. Fungi feed on sugars. Caffeine is not a sugar. Dieticians may be able to make the argument that caffeine can overstimulate the nervous system, resulting in a rush of hormones that may compromise the immune system. The Mayo Clinic lightly outlines this process. However, such a response occurs mostly in individuals who are drinking too much coffee or in individuals who are inherently caffeine sensitive.

In otherwise healthy individuals, it is not proven that minimal coffee consumption affects a fungal condition.

Where the Research Lies

Currently, research cannot corroborate claims that mild coffee consumption will exacerbate a fungal condition. Hence, fungal diets that eliminate coffee completely from their regimen, are not necessarily in line with the latest medical opinion. However, it has been proven that excess caffeine consumption can be harmful to the endocrine, digestive, and immune systems. Anything that compromises the immune system can lead to or at least aid a fungal infection.

Err on the Side of Caution

If you are attempting an anti-fungal diet and are concerned about your coffee consumption, you should always speak with your doctor about your plans. Discuss whether your fungal diagnosis is indeed accurate and talk about any supplements or dietary changes you may be considering as a treatment. Likewise, if you think you can get by without your daily coffee habit, since there's a possibility of yeast fermentation or mycotoxins in coffee, you may want to skip it.

Coffee On an Antifungal Diet