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What Foods Cause Herpes Outbreaks

How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy

Herpes Simplex Virus in Depth / Alynn Alexander, MD

Genital herpes doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women diagnosed with herpes genitalis should start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent outbreaks during delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.

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Foods That Lower Your Immune System

According to, people with herpes should limit their sugar intake to help reduce the likelihood of an outbreak. Your immune system helps you fight off the virus and keep outbreaks at bay, while sugar suppresses your white blood cells from doing their job as virus killers. Sugar may also lower your immune system by inhibiting your body’s utilization of vitamin C and absorption of B vitamins, which all play a role in immune function.

How To Prevent And Treat Cold Sores Naturally

How to prevent and treat cold sores naturally! Here Im sharing what foods to avoid, which supplements to take and which natural oils work for healing cold sores.

Cold sores. Theyre embarrassing and no one wants them, yet theyre nearly impossible to avoid.

In fact, close to 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus, and nearly half suffer from them repeatedly. Like many people I was exposed early in life and Ive since struggled with reoccurring outbreaks. There will be times when a whole year goes by without one but other times were I seem to get multiple outbreaks in a few months.

Because of this Ive done a ton of research trying to figure out what causes them, what I can do to reduce their recurrence, as well as, natural remedies to speed up the healing of an outbreak. Ive also tried almost every product on the market including Abreva , Herpecin, Acyclovir and Valtrex. I still have a prescription for the generic version of Valtrex, but in the past few years Ive been working to manage the virus through natural prevention rather than relying on the prescription pills.

If you struggle with cold sores I hope this post with my experience and tips is helpful.

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Foodsto Avoid During A Herpes Outbreak

In addition,there are a number of foods that people should avoid as well. The virusrequires certain amino acids in order to replicate and build other copies ofthe virus. Specifically, the amino acid arginine has been implicated in thespread of Herpes Simplex Virus. Therefore, people should try to avoidfoods that are high in this amino acid such as rice, peanuts, and chocolate. Onthe other hand, the amino acid lysine has been shown to reduce the severity ofa Herpes Simplex Virus infection. Some people even recommend taking lysinesupplements to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.

Can Foods Cause Herpes Outbreaks

Foods That Can Trigger Your Herpes Outbreak

The herpes simplex virus, commonly known as herpes, is transmitted through direct contact. There are two strains of the virus — one that causes cold sores and the other that causes genital herpes. Most people with herpes have outbreaks multiple times within a year, with itchy, painful sores and blisters. The outbreaks occur less frequently as time goes on, and medication can help reduce the severity of outbreaks. However, watching your diet can also help you reduce the number of outbreaks you have.

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What Not To Eat

What to eat to prevent herpes outbreaks is important but what NOT to eat is even more crucial. In order to fully and naturally treat your HSV condition, knowing both is significantly beneficial. From what was mentioned above, you would probably be able to tell which types of food you need to avoid: acidic or high arginine. Acidic foods weaken your immune system while arginine boosts the reproduction of herpes viruses therefore they are the worst combination you need to avoid in order to avoid future outbreaks.

Best Foods + Worst Foods To Avoid Herpes Outbreaks

Foods for herpes might relieve symptoms from HSV. Cold sores from oral herpes and genital herpes can both benefit. Certain foods might help prevent herpes outbreaks, while others trigger them. Learn the best foods for herpes and the foods to avoid on a therapeutic herpes diet, plus the reasons why.

Medically reviewed by Meagan Fleming, RN on Jan. 1, 2019

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Foods High In Arginine

Hazelnuts, walnuts, sesame flour, chocolate, black tea, coconut, oats, whole wheat, gelatin, peanuts, soybeans and wheat germ are foods rich in arginine. These foods also contain lysine, but the arginine content exceeds the lysine content.

Coconut water and coconut oil do not contain arginine and can be included in your diet.

If you are interested in the diet for herpes sufferers, you should know which foods are high in lysine and low in arginine.

The Link Between Cold Sores And Diet

What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes

Herpes simplex virus lays dormant in the cells until the immune system is compromised, which is why so many people get cold sores when they are stressed or sick. Then, the virus can begin to activate, causing cold sores.

When the herpes simplex virus infects your body, it takes over cells and replicates them, creating new versions of itself. Which cells the virus targets is tied to the cells level of argininea semi-essential amino acid. Arginine allows the infected cells to reproduce. Without arginine, the virus cant cause an outbreak.

You need some arginine in your diet, since all amino acids are needed to create proteins within the body. However, if youre susceptible to cold sores, you should try to eat foods that have a high lysine to arginine ratiomeaning, foods that have a lot of the amino acid lysine and low amounts of arginine.

Lysine helps counteract arginine in terms of cold sores, helping to prevent outbreaks.

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Colds Fever And Immunity Busters

Getting another illness like the common cold can bring on herpes outbreaks because your immune system is busy fighting the new thing.

A fever is popularly known to cause HSV-1 outbreaks, or cold sores, giving them the name fever blisters.

Those with compromised or taxed immune systems will have more frequent herpes outbreaks. After all, thats the reason things like UV light, which affects immunity, and fighting off other illnesses are outbreak triggers at all.

An immune system compromised by receiving chemotherapy can lead to more outbreaks, as can an immune system weakened by HIV.

What Are The Best Foods For Cold Sores

Honey, lemon, rhubarb and beyond: many foods are touted for being a cure for cold sores. Unfortunately, there is no magic food you can eat to prevent you from ever developing a cold sore ever again. Likewise, you wont find a food that can make a cold sore disappear immediately. Cold sores are a tricky condition to manage. Sometimes, even with effective treatment, cold sores need additional time to heal.

Luckily, eating a healthy diet can still help support cold sore recovery. As you read above, nutrition helps supports immune health, which in turn can help with cold sore outbreaks. A nutritious diet offers other benefits as well. Eating well can give you energy, improve your mood and help you sleep betterall of which is important when you have cold sore and feel less than 100%.

Some studies report that L-lysine, an amino acid commonly found in food, is an effective treatment for cold sore infections.5 Foods with lysine include chicken, salmon, beans, tofu, and more. You may hear people suggest to eat these foods to get rid of cold sores, but take this advice with a grain of salt. Research is contradictory as to whether or not lysine, either from food or a supplement, can help cold sores. However, talk to your doctor if youre interested in more information. Besides, you may want to eat some of these foods with lysine for nutritional benefits or even great flavorcold sore benefits aside.

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Recommendations About Diet For Herpes Sufferers

In this section you will be able to read recommendations including which foods to eat and which to avoid in your diet and why.

The list of recommendations is listed first, followed by an explanation of each recommendation.

If you are infected with the herpes simplex virus, you should commit to the following recommendations:

  • Eat a diet high in lysine and low in arginine.
  • Say no to coffee, tea and chocolate.
  • Do not eat moldy food.
  • Avoid alcohol or reduce your alcohol intake to a minimum.
  • Reduce sugar consumption.
  • Avoid dehydration.

Can Coffee Trigger Cold Sores

Best Foods + Worst Foods to Avoid Herpes Outbreaks ...

Foods that worsen symptoms should not be consumed. foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes can worsen or exacerbate symptoms, making them harder to treat. Your doctor might be able to help you relieve or avoid complications caused by your cold sores. One example is the onset of herpes ocular, which can result in the sight being darkened due to HSV-1 exposure.

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Supplement With Vitamins E And C

Vitamin E naturally soothes skin and helps repair damage and inflammation, while vitamin C can boost your white blood cell count and help your body defend itself against foreign invaders. Filling up on foods filled with these vitamins will set your body up to defeat any cold sore virus that comes your way.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
  • How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
  • Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
  • How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/23/2020.


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How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally

Not every person with a herpes infection actually experiences breakouts of cold sores throughout his or her lifetime or even after initially becoming infected. How often someone has a herpes cold sore outbreak, how severe the outbreaks are, how contagious someone is after infection and how long the sores take to heal all depend on someones individual immune response.

1. Boost Nutrient Intake

If youre going to keep the herpes virus from frequently causing outbreaks, the first step in how to get rid of herpes is to improve immune function by boosting nutrient intake. Include these healing foods in your diet to keep the virus dormant as much as possible:

2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Certain foods can raise inflammation, weaken immune defenses and make skin irritation even worse. Avoid the following foods as much as possible to limit outbreak severity and duration.

3. Consider Supplements

  • Antiviral herbs: These include elderberry, calendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root.
  • L-lysine : Can help treat and prevent outbreaks.
  • Lemon balm extract: Apply as a topical cream for healing.
  • Vitamin C : Vitamin C boosts immune function improving herpes.
  • Zinc : Zinc benefits include supporting immune function, keeping viruses dormant and rebuilding skin tissue to speed up healing.
  • B-complex : B vitamins help your body deal with stress and can prevent outbreaks.

4. Try Essential Oils

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Additional Dietary Tips For Herpes

3 At-Home Treatments for Cold Sores

1. Eat Foods Good for Skin

  • Citrus fruit
  • Wholegrain cereals

2. Eat Plenty of Cruciferous Vegetables

There are plenty of foods to avoid with herpes but cruciferous vegetables are not one of them. High in indole-3-carbinol , foods with this compound may hinder the virus by interfering with its reproduction. Studies are showing significant evidence supporting this finding. Foods include:

  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

3. Eat Stress-Relieving Foods

Research has found that stress weakens the bodys immune system, making it more susceptible to illness. It is important to de-stress and relax whenever possible. Certain foods and nutrients can help your body fight tension and anxiety, thus warding off a herpes outbreak. Foods and drinks high in vitamin B and magnesium can help your body bounce back from stressful situations quicker. If you decide to take a supplement, make sure it is in the form of a vitamin B complex so you keep the nutrients in balance. The complex includes B1, B2, B6, B9 and B12. They help your body produce serotonin, which is the hormone that relaxes you and puts you at ease. Foods that can help you de-stress include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Dairy

4. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods

  • Berries
  • Spirulina

5. Drink Purified and Alkaline Water

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What Foods Contain Lysine

Your body doesnt naturally produce lysine, so it must come from your diet or a supplement. Fortunately, lysine is easy to find. The following foods are lysine powerhouses because theyre not only rich in lysine, theyre low in arginine:

  • Yogurt
  • Legumes such as kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, and edamame
  • Quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat
  • Spirulina powder

Most people receive enough lysine from their standard diet, but those with ongoing cold sore outbreaks may benefit from additional supplementation.

Adopting An Alkaline Diet

  • Watermelon: this is the easiest method because they are easy to eat with great taste and can improve the effectiveness of your alkaline diet. Fruits and vegetables in general are perfect for an alkaline diet.

  • Adding lemon to your water: a quick method to enhance your alkaline balance. Stay away from soda, or caffeinated drinks because they increase your arginine amount which will lead to outbreaks.

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Which Foods Should You Avoid During An Outbreak

If you have symptomatic oral or genital herpes, youll likely experience outbreaks on occasion even with a flawless diet.

During a herpes outbreak, the best way to fight the virus and speed up healing is through the use of an antiviral medication such as valacyclovir. This is a prescription medication that youll need to talk about with your doctor.

While theres no proof that food can worsen or improve a herpes outbreak, many people with herpes report improvements after avoiding certain foods.

Avoiding foods with a herpes outbreak is tough, but generally, stay away from anything spicy, salty or oily, as these foods are most likely to irritate the lips and gums. Acidic drinks, like fruit juices, are also best avoided if you have open cold sores that could potentially become irritated.

Studies also show that arginine, an amino acid found in a variety of foods, can play a role in the spread of viruses such as herpes. Arginine has viral growth properties, meaning it may increase the rate at which viruses like HSV-1 and HSV-2 multiply in the body.

As such, its best stay away from foods high in arginine like turkey breast, pork loin, chicken breast, nuts , pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, soybeans, dairy products and lentils during an outbreak of herpes.

Instead, stick to a simple, healthy diet that gives you a complete supply of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients without supply excessive amounts of arginine.

What Typically Triggers Cold Sore Outbreaks

Can Foods Cause Herpes Outbreaks?

If you were diagnosed with the herpes simplex virus, especially type 1 , cold sore outbreaks may be common. While the virus may remain dormant during certain periods, when its triggered, you can expect to see cold sores.

While some people believe that food can trigger cold sore outbreaks, environmental factors are more likely to trigger an outbreak than anything else.

Exposure to hot sun, cold wind, a cold, or other illness is usually the cause of an unexpected cold sore outbreak. Fluctuating hormones might also be to blame.

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Foods That Trigger Herpes Recurrence

While some foods can aid your recovery during a herpes flare-up, others can increase the chances of a recurrence of this infection. Following are some food items you should avoid:

Sugar: Sugar is bad for the immune system. Sugar hinders a main component of our complex immune response, slowing down the white blood cells that attack pathogens in the body. Besides the obvious culprits like sugary sodas, sweets, cake and pastries, sugar can hide in many processed foods as well. If you want to boost your immune system to help you fight herpes, lower your sugar intake by reading food labels closely and replacing sugar with natural sweeteners such as fruits, dates, figs, etc.

Unhealthy fats: Saturated fats, which are typically fats that are solid at room temperature, are not good for your body. You can limit their consumption by avoiding foods such as fatty meat, butter and cheese. Coconut and palm oils also have a high saturated fat content. Packaged and preserved foods are also known for high trans fat content and bad quality of oil. Choosing low-fat foods or those with unsaturated fat such as olive oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, walnut, etc to boost your immune response and help keep herpes flare-ups at bay.

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