Several naturally occurring nutrients found in various foods have been recognized for their potential anti-fungal properties. Incorporating these nutrients into your diet may help support your body’s defense against fungal infections. Here are some examples of naturally occurring anti-fungals in food:
1. Sulfuric Compounds
Sulfur-containing compounds in vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, have been studied for their potential antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. While research is ongoing, some sulfur compounds that are thought to have antimicrobial and anti-fungal effects include:
Isothiocyanates – These are sulfur-containing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Isothiocyanates are released when these vegetables are chopped or chewed.
Sulfides and Sulfoxides – These compounds are present in garlic, onions, leeks, and shallots. While they contribute to the pungent aroma of these vegetables, they also possess potential antimicrobial properties that could extend to anti-fungal activity.
Thiosulfinates – Another group of sulfur compounds found in garlic, thiosulfinates are known for their potential health-promoting properties.
Garlic contains allicin, an allyl sulfides compound with potent anti-fungal properties. It can inhibit the growth of various fungi, including Candida species. Allyl sulfides in garlic and onions are known for their strong odors. These compounds, particularly allicin in garlic, are associated with various health benefits, including potential anti-fungal effects.
3. Caprylic Acid & Lauric Acid
Coconut oil contains caprylic acid and lauric acid, both of which have anti-fungal properties. Lauric acid, in particular, has been shown to be effective against Candida albicans, a common fungal pathogen.
4. Carvacrol & Thymol
Oregano oil contains compounds such as carvacrol and thymol, which exhibit strong anti-fungal properties. They can disrupt the cell membranes of fungi and inhibit their growth.
Ginger contains gingerol, a bioactive compound with potential anti-fungal effects. While research is ongoing, ginger’s anti-fungal properties could offer some benefits.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been studied for its anti-fungal properties. It may help inhibit the growth of various fungi and could be a useful dietary addition.
7. Acetic Acid & Malic Acid
Apple cider vinegar has been traditionally used as a remedy for various ailments, including fungal infections. It contains acetic acid, which may help create an unfavorable environment for fungal growth.
8. Pau d’Arco Tea
Pau d’arco is a type of tree bark that has been used in traditional medicine for its potential anti-fungal properties. Drinking pau d’arco tea is thought to provide anti-fungal benefits.
While not exactly a nutrient, yogurt and other probiotic-rich foods contain beneficial bacteria that can help maintain a healthy balance of gut microflora, potentially reducing the risk of fungal overgrowth.
Onions contain compounds like allicin and quercetin, which possess anti-fungal properties.