Herpes Diet Advice


Did you know that what you eat can directly affect the herpes virus (the virus that causes genital herpes and cold sores)?

Cutting back on certain foods and correcting your diet could mean the difference between having regular herpes outbreaks and having no outbreaks at all.  It’s simple and it’s true.

Let me explain, there are two key things to consider when treating and managing herpes:

1)  The state of your health and immune system:

If you become sick (or are recovering from an illness), are under stress or have a particular strain on your health, then this could allow the herpes virus to become more active more often. 

Smoking, drinking alcohol and other negative lifestyle habits can contribute to poor health – but diet is the most important factor.  To improve your overall health, stay away from processed and packet foods, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and reduce toxins and caffeine wherever possible.

Easy Steps to Improve Your Diet and Help Your Body Conquer HSV:

  • Drink a freshly made fruit or vegetable juice daily.  This has an amazing potential to boost your health and vitality.  But it must be freshly made, so buy a juicing machine or visit your local juice bar if you have access to one.
  • Cut back on coffee and soda; try substituting these drinks with water or herbal tea whenever possible.  Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to flush and hydrate your body.
  • If you do splurge on “unhealthy” foods try following it with a glass of water with a generous squeeze of citrus (such as lime or lemon).  The citrus juice has an alkaline effect in the body which can help to neutralize acid forming foods (like bread, meat, deep fried or junk food, etc).  This helps your body to metabolize and break down these heavy foods more effectively, better eliminating the waste and giving you an improved quality of health.
  • Don’t like your vegetables?  Recent clinical studies may change your mind.  Eating broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts may be a step in the right direction to successful suppress herpes.  These vegetables are naturally high in a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which studies show may have the potential to interfere with the way the Herpes simplex virus reproduces.  Current clinical trial results are promising.

2)  Foods that can trigger an outbreak:

Did you know that eating certain foods that are rich in “Arginine” can actually provoke an outbreak for some people? 

Arginine is an essential amino acid that the herpes virus needs to become active, grow and well basically to function altogether.  Arginine is the food supply for the herpes virus and without it the virus cannot surface to the skin or cause symptoms.

So then let’s stop eating Arginine altogether, right? No, definitely not.  You still need to obtain arginine in your diet because it does a range of necessary and wonderful things for your body. Arginine has a similar mode of action to the drug Viagra which gives us a clue as to one of the many benefits of this amino acid.

What you do not want to do is ‘tip the scales’ and have an excess amount of Arginine in your diet – too much Arginine can create an environment where the herpes virus can thrive and become very active.

If all of this is too much for you to take in right now don’t worry.  The good news is that there is another amino acid called Lysine that makes this whole situation very easy to manage.  Lysine is an essential amino acid which naturally balances out high levels of Arginine (the herpes virus’ food source).

What this means is that whenever you eat foods that contain Lysine and Arginine, the Lysine will help cancel out the Arginine.  It does this naturally and is the reason why Lysine has been proven in clinical studies to help reduce and prevent herpes outbreaks.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, if you have high enough levels of the amino acid Lysine in your diet this can slow down the growth of the herpes virus and restrict it from causing outbreaks.Here we explain which foods can be helpful and which to avoid or reduce in order to help reprevent a herpes recurrence.

Foods which can be benefical – High in Lysine and low in Arginine:

  • Milk and dairy products (including ice-cream, cheese and yoghurt)
  • Eggs
  • Papaya (pawpaw fruit)
  • Beets (beetroot)
  • Mango, Apricots, Pears, Apples, Figs
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish, Chicken, Lamb and Beef
  • Brewer’s yeast 
  • Baked Beans

Foods which can trigger an outbreak for some people – High in Arginine and low in Lysine:

  • Nuts (including peanut butter and other nut products)
  • Chocolate
  • Oats and Oatmeal
  • Caffeine
  • Beer
  • Brown rice
  • Coconut
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Raisins
  • Seeds
  • Gelatin
  • Some multivitamins, protein shakes and body building supplements contain Arginine, which should be avoided.

These foods that are rich in Arginine do not need to be completely eliminated but should not be taken in excess.  Monitor your outbreaks and see if cutting back or avoiding any of these foods helps to reduce the herpes symptoms.

If you are unsure about how much Lysine and Arginine you are getting from your diet a sensible idea is to take a Lysine supplement.  The recommended dose in clinical studies is 1250mg daily (any less than this and it will not be enough to affect the herpes virus). 

Not all Lysine supplements are created equal:

  • Try to avoid any supplement that contains gelatin or animal bi-products, magnesium stearate, stearic acid, calcium stearate or titanium oxide, all of which can be counterproductive.  Gelatin is high in Arginine so should be avoided.
  • The results are likely to be as much as 200% more effective if you combine Lysine with other vitamins and minerals that are specifically effective for HSV (such as bioflavonoids, zinc and vitamin c).  Many vitamins and minerals work in synergy with each other so may be more effective when combined in one supplement.  A combination of these compounds are proven to give better results than Lysine alone.
  • Lysine derived from real food is likely to be metabolized and processed more efficiently by the body.  Many Lysine supplements are artificially made.

Lysine is very safe and virtually side-effect free.  Taken in sensible doses, Lysine is suitable for pregnant women and is a gentle alternative to help control herpes.  With lysine supplements, you are simply elevating the amount of this amino acid that you get naturally in your diet so that it is enough to influence the herpes virus.  In addition, you can also pay attention to your diet and lifestyle to avoid any unnecessary stress on your immune system.

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