Dietary strategies to prevent and treat yeast infections include eliminating sugar intake while increasing intake of whole grains, vegetables, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc. Other highly recommended nutrients for yeast infections include digestive enzymes, garlic and fermented milk products such as yogurt.
At the Division of Infectious Diseases at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, yogurt was shown to produce a threefold decrease in vaginal yeast infections compared with a placebo. In this one-year study, 13 women with chronic yeast infections supplemented their diet with eight ounces of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus for at least six months. The researchers found that the women who ate yogurt daily averaged fewer yeast infections during the treatment period than the placebo group: 0.38 infections in the yogurt group vs 2.54 in the placebo group.
In a more recent double-blind study from the Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, a combination of probiotics was shown to reduce vaginal bacteria and yeast over-growths. In this study, 64 healthy women with mild microflora imbalances were given a daily probiotic supplement or a placebo for 60 days. The women taking the probiotic supplement experienced no adverse effects and 37% of them (vs only 13% with placebo) saw a return to normal microflora levels and high levels of Lactobacilli by 28 days. They also had a significant decrease in yeast colonization.
Sources: Ann Intern Med 1992 Mar 1;116(5):353-7; FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2003 Mar 20;35(2):131-4