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 science is proving that coffee restriction may not be necessary for all.

Caffeine and Candida

Can coffee affect a fungal overgrowth? The answer to this question is, "It is possible." However, the most important question to ask is, "Will caffeine always affect a fungal overgrowth?" There is a vast difference between answers like "absolutely" and "possibly," and the reason behind this disparity lies in the nature of caffeine and the unique aspects of an individual's biochemistry.

About Caffeine

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 USNews 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.

If you are attempting an anti-fungal diet and are concerned about your coffee consumption, you should always preempt your plans with a doctor's visit. Discuss with your medical practitioner whether your fungal diagnosis is indeed accurate and any supplements or dietary changes you may be considering as a treatment.

Coffee On an Antifungal Diet