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Canned tomatoes and the Candida diet

Tomatoes are such an important part of my life and while I would love to always have fresh ripe tomatoes on hand, it doesn’t always work that way. I use fresh tomatoes in my kitchen, but keeping them handy and ready to use is a daily chore or at least several times a week. If I buy too many at once, surprise, surprise, they go bad. This leaves me frustrated by the fact that I have now wasted money and still don’t have the tomatoes that I need to cook with. That is why having canned tomatoes in the kitchen is a must. However, using canned tomatoes becomes very tricky when trying to follow the candida diet. A candida diet is used to treat a condition called candidiasis, an overgrowth of yeast (candida) that can be caused by a variety of external factors. The symptoms of this condition vary widely, but are generally characterized by a multitude of seemingly unrelated symptoms. These symptoms can range from something as vague as fatigue to mood disorders.

The problem with canned tomatoes and the Candida diet is that canned tomatoes contain preservatives that have been found to feed candida and therefore exacerbate yeast symptoms. The most commonly found prohibited ingredients in canned tomatoes are citric acid and calcium chloride. Since citric acid is the biggest and widely used offender, and since I’ve found that very few brands of canned tomatoes contain calcium chloride, I’ll just discuss why citric acid is problematic for candida dieters.

Citric acid is used to flavor and preserve food. It exists naturally in citrus fruits, but the type used in commercial food products often causes problems for candida dieters. Most of the citric acid used commercially is produced by fermentation, a process by which yeast is added to convert a form of sugar to a form of alcohol. This whole process is contrary to the candida diet, since it is forbidden to add yeast, sugar and alcohol. Therefore, it is not the citric acid itself that is the problem, but the process by which it is created. I have seen naturally sourced citric acid canned tomatoes on their ingredient list, although it is naturally derived from citrus fruits, it still undergoes the fermentation process.

So what are yeast dieters going to do? Should we live with rotten tomatoes and constant frustration? The answer is no. Fortunately, I have found some brands of canned tomato products that do not contain citric acid, calcium chloride, or any other preservatives. These brands are fine for the candida diet. I have found that most tomato paste brands are safe. Pomi brand tomatoes are preservative free and come in sauce and chopped. Cento makes a variety of tomato products without preservatives. Stop & Shop’s Nature’s Promise line also has some preservative-free canned tomato products. Although I use these brands regularly in my candida diet kitchen, I urge you to always read product labels as things can change. Hope this helps other candida dieters who were experiencing the tomato dilemma. For more information on the Candida diet, visit Yeast Free Living.

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