Who doesn’t love ice cream? The one problem with ice cream for those with Candida overgrowth is that Candida LOVES ice cream. Ice cream can contain any number of flavoring ingredients, but the base is always made of milk/cream and sugar. It contains ingredients that can both help and harm the body, and should only be eaten in moderation. If you have Candida overgrowth, unfortunately you should refrain from commercial ice creams altogether. But, you may have some healthier, possibly tastier alternatives that will stick to your Candida diet.
Ice cream: The good and the bad
There is an upside to ice cream as a food – it is incredibly energy dense. While the exact nutrient values vary between brands and flavors, a 1 cup serving of vanilla ice cream contains about 38 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams fat and 4 grams of protein on average. If you need quick energy or need to gain weight, ice cream can help you with that. Another benefit is the amount of vitamins and minerals it contains. Since ice cream contains milk or cream, we know it also contains the minerals calcium and phosphorus, along with vitamin C and A, all of the B vitamins including 8% of the RDA of B12 and 2% of folate and 117 mg omega 3 fatty acids. Ice cream may not be the best the source of vitamins and minerals, but it is not devoid of all nutrients.
In regards to those with Candida overgrowth, vitamins C and B-12 along with omega-3 fatty acids can be especially important. Low vitamin C and B12 can actually lead to a Candida overgrowth. One of the functions of B12 is cell replication which when impaired can lead to inflammation in the mucous membranes of the mouth and digestive tract and decrease the immune response to infections. Vitamin C deficiencies can also impair the immune system leaving your gut susceptible to infection. A 2004 study by Paillaud, et al. found that vitamin C deficiency was 1 of 4 of the highest risk factors for candidiasis in the elderly.
Ice cream also has some disadvantages and they are exactly what you think – sugar and fat content. The US Code of Federal Regulations Standards of Identity require ice cream to contain a minimum of 10% milk fat and at least 20% milk solids.4 Most milk fat content in commercial ice creams range 10-16% and can be from milk, cream or butter. Milk fat is primarily made up of triglycerides which in high amounts can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease or plaque in your arteries. High amounts of sugar can also lead to harmful conditions such as obesity, metabolic disorders, high cholesterol, cancer and premature aging. If you have an existing problem with Candida, remember that it also feeds on sugar.
In the process of making ice cream, other ingredients like emulsifiers are used to keep the milk fat evenly dispersed. While some companies used eggs for this, others use mono- or diglycerides which may contains trans-fats. Mono- and diglycerides do not fall under the labeling requirement of trans-fat, so ice cream can still be labeled as 0% trans fats.
History of ice cream
Did you know that ice cream is one of those foods that we have no concrete record about its origin and invention? Food historians think they can date it back to about second century B.C. There are references to flavoring snow and ice associated with Alexander the Great, King Solomon in the Bible, and Nero Claudius Caesar of the Roman Empire. Ice cream became available to the general public around 1660 in Paris at Café Procope and by 1744 was introduce to the US. It remained a rare treat until in the invention of insulated ice houses in 1800. As technology advanced in manufacturing in the 19th century, ice cream became widely available. By the late 1890s, soda fountain shops began to serve ice cream sodas they called sundaes. In 1946 with the end of World War II and the dairy ration, Americans consumed over 20 quarts of ice cream per person. Ice cream’s popularity has continued and increased with availability at specialty shops today with 1000s of flavor and ingredient combinations.
Ice cream and Candida
The biggest problem with ice cream in association with Candida is sugar and lactose milk sugar. Candida being a yeast like fungi feeds on sugar. Candida is naturally present in our gut, but poor diet high in sugar can cause an overgrowth as Candida will thrive and the immune system will be suppressed. While of course sugar alone will not cause the overgrowth, the American lifestyle full of stress, antibiotics, processed foods and obesity most certainly can.
If you currently have Candida overgrowth, I wouldn’t recommend that you eat ice cream at all. Yes, there’s all those benefits listed above, but the sugar content plus the lactose milk sugar provides a cost that outweighs those benefits. There are other options of course to get your fill of flavorful, healthy cold desserts.
Healthy ice cream alternatives
Don’t start to panic that you’ll never eat sweet, cold, creamy desserts again. You have a few options!
Dairy free, sugar free ice cream can be found in most grocery stores, but look out for other ingredients that are not part of your diet, especially flavor add-ins.
Use stevia or xylitol as an ice cream sweetener if you make your own. Stevia is sweeter than sugar and contains no calories. It also has less of an effect on your blood sugar levels.
Coconut ice cream is a great option as coconut has a wealth of benefits to your health and fights against Candida. Also, the Candida diet allows you to eat coconut meat and milk.
Simple Candida Friendly Ice Cream Recipe – Coconut Vanilla Rosemary Ice Cream
1. Shake well 2 cans of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk and pour into a parchment paper lined rimmed dish. Place this in the freezer for several hours until hard.
2. Use the parchment paper to remove the frozen milk from the dish, peel off the paper and break the frozen milk into chunks.
3. Put chunks into the food processor and process until smooth, scooping the sides down as needed.
4. Add to processor: seeds from 1 vanilla bean, 3 (6 inch) sprigs of rosemary, ½ teaspoon of stevia and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Process until all ingredients are well incorporated. Serve immediately.