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The Low Mold Diet: What It Is and How to Follow It

Jill C. Carnahan, MD
Founder, Medical Director, Flatiron Functional Medicine
If you or someone you love has been struggling with the challenging and often life-altering side effects that come with toxic mold exposure, you know the journey to recovery can be long and tedious.

But fortunately, you have a powerful weapon that can help your body detox from mold-related illness and begin healing. What exactly is this secret weapon? Your diet – or more specifically, the low mold diet.

Today we’re going to dive into exactly what the low-mold diet is and how you can implement it to start healing from mold illness.

What Exactly Is Mold Illness?

Mold exposure is a tricky, deceptive, and sometimes devastating illness. We’ve learned through scientific studies that mold illness is one of the primary triggers of many diseases and health conditions, such as:1,2

  • Asthma
  • Respiratory infections
  • Brain inflammation
  • Mood and sleep disorders
  • Mast Cell Activation Disorder
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cancer
  • And even death!

Mold-related illness can be particularly challenging to diagnose and treat because symptoms can seem vague and unrelated at first. Symptoms can range from coughing or wheezing to chronic headaches to persistent rashes.

If you have unrelenting and unexplained symptoms or suspect your symptoms could be from mold illness, it might be time to consult with a reputable Integrative and Functional Medicine Practitioner.

So, How Is Mold Illness Treated?

Treating mold illness requires a comprehensive approach that is two-pronged. The first step is removing yourself from sources of exposure. I’ve written extensively about dealing with environmental mold exposure. You can learn more about it by checking out the following articles:

The second step in treating mold illness is giving your body the support it needs to heal and start detoxing. And one of the most powerful ways to help your body detox from mold is by following a low-mold diet.

Why Follow a Low-Mold Diet?

The low mold diet is designed to support your body in healing from mold illness in three ways:

  1. It prevents mycotoxins from accumulating in your body by limiting your exposure to potentially contaminated food sources.
  2. It focuses on restoring nutrient deficiencies and imbalances that are caused by mold exposure.
  3. It boosts your body’s immune function and ability to repair itself by minimizing inflammatory foods that suppress your immune system.
  4. It reduces exposure to refined carbohydrates that feed candida and yeast.

So let’s dive into exactly what it looks like to follow a low-mold diet.

What Foods Should I Avoid on the Low-Mold Diet?

When it comes to following a low-mold diet, you’ll want to strictly avoid foods that are chock-full of sugars and additives. These fuel fungal growth and could exacerbate your symptoms. You’ll also want to avoid foods that are notorious for being contaminated with mold. To make it simple, I like to break these down into the following three categories:

Sugar-Laden Foods

Sugars are one of the primary sources of fuel for candida or mold. Sugar, in particular, can be sneaky because it can go by many different names and may be hidden in places you wouldn’t expect – even in foods you might consider “healthy”.

When following the low-mold diet, you should avoid:

  • Table sugar
  • Glucose
  • Lactose
  • Fructose
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Candy
  • Baked goods

Certain fruits also have a notoriously high sugar content and should be avoided when detoxing from mold. These include:

  • Pineapples
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Dried fruits and fruit juices

While sugar is typically the biggest dietary culprit that contributes to fungal growth, fast-absorbing carbohydrates and man-made additives can also promote mold growth – which leads us to our next category of foods to avoid.

Packaged and Processed Foods

Processed and pre-packaged foods almost always contain sugars, simple carbs, and/or additives that will fuel fungal growth in the body.

You’ll want to stay away from:

  • Canned foods: Baked beans, soups, ready-made sauces
  • Pre-packaged meals: Ready-made meals, breakfast cereals, frozen foods
  • Processed drinks: Soft drinks, fruit juices, flavored water, energy drinks
  • Bottled condiments: Vinegar, mayonnaise, pickles, soy sauce, mustard, relish

Try getting in the habit of reading the ingredient list of any product before you buy it. If it has more than five ingredients or is full of things you don’t recognize – it’s probably best to avoid it while on the low-mold diet.

Mold and Yeast Containing Foods

If you’re trying to prevent mold from entering your body or kill off what you’ve already been exposed to, you should always stay away from products that have a reputation for being contaminated with mold or fungal growth.

Some examples are:

  • Cheese and sour milk products: Buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, aged cheese, sliced or block cheese
  • Nuts: Peanuts, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, prunes, figs, dates, etc.
  • Grains: Wheat, rice, oats
  • Packaged and smoked meats: Sausages, hot dogs, corned beef, pastrami, smoked fish, ham, bacon
  • Edible fungi: Mushrooms, truffles
  • Alcoholic beverages: Beer, wine, cider, liqueur, whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, etc.
  • Fermented foods should be avoiding in those patients with histamine intolerance. You can read more about Boosting DAO to break down histamine here.

While this list may seem restrictive, the good news is, there are still plenty of delicious foods allowed on the low-mold diet.

So, What Foods Are Allowed on the Low-Mold Diet?

Following the low mold-diet is not so black and white. There are some foods you should avoid entirely, some you can have in moderation, and some you can eat freely. We’ve already covered the foods to avoid, so let’s look at what you can eat on the low mold diet.

Foods to Eat in Moderation:

Foods you can incorporate into the low-mold diet in moderation include:

  • Gluten-free grains: Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, teff, certified gluten-free oats
  • Starchy vegetables and legumes: Sweet corn, potatoes, beans, peas, lentils, sweet potatoes, squashes, turnips, parsnips
  • Low-sugar fruits: Berries, apples, pears, peaches, avocadoes

It’s ok to incorporate these foods into your diet on occasion, but try building the majority of your meals around the foods in the next category.

Foods to Eat Freely:

When it comes to the food you consume while following a low-mold diet, quality matters – a lot! When purchasing meat, opt for organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed options. When it comes to fish and seafood, wild-caught is always a superior option. And when it comes to any kind of produce, always look for organic.

Now let’s dive into the list of foods you are free to indulge in as much as you’d like while on a low-mold diet:

  • Poultry (pasture-raised, organic only): Chicken, eggs, turkey, quail, pheasant
  • Fish (wild-caught only): Salmon, tuna, anchovy, sardines, flounder, catfish, caviar
  • Other meats (grass-fed only): Beef, goat, lamb, buffalo, wild game, rabbit
  • Raw nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds
  • Leafy greens: Romaine, kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, green and red cabbage
  • Root vegetables: Carrots, onions, radishes, garlic
  • Gourd vegetables: pumpkins, squash, eggplants, zucchini
  • Other vegetables: Cucumbers, brussel sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers
  • Spices: Pure vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, pink Himalayan salt, wasabi, horseradish
  • Herbs: Parsley, cilantro, basil, chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, ghee, organic butter
  • Beverages: Filtered water, mineral water, non-fruity herbal teas, fresh vegetable juice

Building your meals around these nutrient-dense, whole foods will equip your body with the nutrients it needs to properly heal and detox.

Getting Rid of Moldy Foods

If you’ve been suffering from the symptoms of toxic mold exposure, chances are you’re chomping at the bit to implement strategies to help alleviate your symptoms. But before you head to the fridge or grocery store and start whipping up a meal, it’s important to assess any food you’re planning on using.

If you do happen to discover mold on any of your foods, immediately discard it and make sure to follow these guidelines:3

  • Do not sniff the item. This can cause respiratory issues.
  • If it’s covered and unsalvageable, wrap it up in plastic and discard it in a covered trash can.
  • Thoroughly clean the area where the moldy food was.
  • Check the nearby food items to see if the mold has spread. Remember, it can spread quickly in fruits and vegetables.

While your diet is one of the core pillars that support the foundation of detoxing from mold exposure, there are some additional steps you can take to effectively eliminate any mold that might be lurking in your body.

Are There Any Other Ways to Enhance Mold Detoxification?

When you’re fighting mold illness, the symptoms can feel overwhelming and your recovery time may or may not be quick. On top of following the low-mold diet, you can enhance your detoxification and significantly cut your recovery time down by using the following strategies.

Use Detox Binders:

Detox binders are designed to “bind” to toxins in your body so they can be safely eliminated. The most effective detox binders that I recommend include:

In addition to detox binders, there are a few more powerful supplements I recommend if you’re in the process of detoxing from mold.

Take Detox-Enhancing Supplements:

Using supplements, such as the ones listed below, can aid in facilitating detoxification:

Taking these binders and detox-enhancing supplements can help speed up your detox process.

So, How Long Does It Take to Get Mold Out of Your System?

The answer to that question is – it depends. Exactly how long it’ll take you to recover from mold illness depends on three main factors:4

1. Length of Exposure:

This is the single greatest factor in determining how long it will take for mold to get out of your system. If you’ve been exposed for long periods of time, such as years, you’re likely to have mold buildup in your body.

Typically, the longer the exposure, the longer the recovery time. This is why removing any sources of mold exposure is the very first step in recovering from mold illness. If you fail to remove the sources of mold exposure – whether environmental or through the foods you eat – you may never be able to fully heal.

2. Type of Exposure:

Nearly 90% of all molds don’t affect the majority of the population due to them being nonpoisonous. But for those with fungal allergies, even these “harmless” molds can cause big problems.

And, if you have fungal allergies and you’re unlucky enough to be exposed to the 10% of poisonous molds – your recovery is expected to take longer than most. This is thanks to the toxic metabolites produced by poisonous molds known as mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can accumulate in your body and cause damage over time.

So exactly how long it takes to recover from mold illness will depend on the types of mold you’ve been exposed to. If you want to learn more about mycotoxins, I’ve got some helpful resources on my blog that you can check out by clicking right here.

3. Your Level of Sensitivity:

The third factor in your recovery time is your degree of sensitivity to mold. This is important because some level of mold exposure is inevitable – we’re all exposed to mold on a daily basis. Every time you open the door, you’re breathing in new mold spores in the air and letting them into your home. And if you are in the 16-20% of the population that has a high level of mold sensitivity, this can impact your recovery time.

A Simple Solution to Detoxing From Mold

Dealing with mold illness can be challenging and discouraging – especially when it takes time to begin seeing improvements in your symptoms. In my practice, I’ve dedicated countless hours of research to finding answers and helping my patients recover from mold illness. Which is why I’m so excited to introduce a simple and powerfully effective solution to help my patients and their loved one’s detox and heal from mold illness.

I’ve teamed up with the brilliant Dr. Christopher Shade and the team at Quicksilver Scientific® to create a comprehensive kit specifically designed to help your body release and flush out mold toxins. The potent blend of supplements in my Miracle Mold Detox Box is scientifically proven to:

  • Enhance your natural detoxification cycle
  • Mobilize and increase the release of toxins
  • Promote energy production
  • Support cellular recovery and mitochondrial health
  • Aid in remineralization and electrolyte balance

If you or a loved one is suffering from mold illness, I highly recommend pairing the Miracle Mold Detox Box with a low-mold diet. This powerful combination is hands-down the most effective way to tackle mold illness and begin healing. You can learn more and order your own Miracle Mold Detox Box by clicking here.

Now it’s time to hear from you. Were you surprised at what is and isn’t allowed on the low-mold diet? What steps are you taking to protect yourself from the toxic effects of mold exposure? Leave your questions and thoughts in the comments below.

References

  1. https://sanitred.com/symptoms-of-toxic-black-mold-exposure/
  2. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/CPSCStatementmoldmycotoxinhealtheffectsJuly2015.pdf
  3. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/a87cdc2c-6ddd-49f0-bd1f-393086742e68/Molds_on_Food.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
  4. https://www.sinusitiswellness.com/how-long-will-my-recovery-take/

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2020/04/13/lyme-mold-a-practical-guide-to-protecting-yourself-at-home/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/10/25/dealing-with-lyme-disease-and-mold-illness-at-the-same-time/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/14/got-mold/