On this website, we’ve broached the subject of diet and its affect on any possible progression or regression of angular cheilitis. This blog entry will further examine which foods to avoid and safer foods to consume to keep perleche at bay. It may be advisable to discuss this important topic with a nutritionist or alternative health care provider.
As angular cheilitis may arise from fungi (many attribute its symptoms as candida overgrowth), it may be prudent to follow an anti-candida diet for some period of time. Even if your cheilitis is not a fungi-overgrowth manifestation, a diet that can treat problematic Candida albicans may provide relief to your immune system, and indirectly marshal your own body’s defenses to quell the condition.
So you don’t want to feed the yeast! Yes, as you probably read our minds, this means abstention from sugar. Say goodbye to granulated sugar and other similar sweeteners, soft drinks, processed cereal, sauces, canned fruit, spreads, jams, and preserves, and of course, quintessential junk food, such as cakes, cookies, candy, pies, and ice cream. A special warning should be provided to avoid ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup which can contribute to a variety of unhealthy conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and skin issues.
Now, let’s be realistic and acknowledge that a completely sugar-free diet is probably not within the realm of possibility for most of us. However, make a conscious choice to greatly diminish your intake of sugar which will spur positive dividends in creating a healthy, or at least healthier, immune system.
There are a couple of alternatives to satisfy that insatiable sweet tooth. Fresh fruit may be on your menu or perhaps some Greek yogurt. But even foods that have ‘natural sugar’ cannot be taken indiscriminately as carbohydrate intake must be monitored. As you can guess, yeast love high carbohydrate foods and get ‘empowered’ by them. Some folks report successful elimination of angular cheilitis with a low-carb diet.
Check for food sensitivities, and even if you’re not certain of your own body’s reaction, it may be worthwhile to investigate avoiding foods high in gluten. Remember this little poem: Avoid sweets and treats and processed meats. And while you’re becoming more sensitive to possible gluten or even wheat sensitivities, forgo condiments and seasonings, ‘gluten grains,’ such as wheat, barley, and rye, and even alcoholic beverages. Admit it, you know that beer is made with grains containing gluten.
You can find a host of gluten-free alternatives at your local health food store. Gluten-free grains, such as millet, amaranth, and quinoa are readily available and should satisfy your taste buds. Opt for whole grains instead of refined grains as the latter has less fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as iron. (Some speculate that cheilitis may more readily appear when vitamin and mineral deficiencies are present. It’s best to get a whole spectrum of nutrients from healthy foods that don’t cause any allergic reaction.)
While we’re on the subject of the body’s response to ingested foods, try to avoid any hot, spicy foods. They may taste good but they’ll hurt so good as well because you have an infection on your mouth. These foods will only add to your pain and discomfort. Look for bland foods, such as tofu and tempeh (assuming you don’t have a soy intolerance), baked chicken, poached fish, or a piece of grilled meat.
While you’re on this health kick with the goal of at least diminishing angular cheilitis, you may – at least for the time being – refrain from eating foods which purportedly contain yeast, such as mushrooms, breads, tomato paste, and cheeses. Yes for those included to imbibe, beer also contains yeast.
Now if your angular cheilitis is not caused by wayward fungi, but by warlike bacteria, you must consider waging a war against these distasteful microbe strains. Ensure that you eat a balanced, healthy diet and avoid the foods that we list above. Moreover, do everything within your power to favor the balance of good, health-promoting bacteria vs. the so-called ‘bad bacteria.’ Foods may not kill bad bacteria directly but can introduce good bacteria which in produce various compounds that can deter and thwart harmful strains.
You can look towards some fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and pickles as potential allies in your angular cheilitis fight. Indeed, they can add friendly bacteria (probiotics) to your diet. Other foods that can introduce a greater reserve of probiotics include yogurt with ‘live and active cultures,’ kefir, microalgae used in food juices, and olives in brine. (Of course, you can always purchase a probiotic supplement as well but food sources are always the most nutrient-rich way for your body to absorb the ‘goodies.’)
Use the aforementioned information to better plan meals while fighting perleche. By knowing angular cheilitis foods to avoid, and consuming skin and body-friendly alternatives, your perleche will not be so recalcitrant and long-lasting.