Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) with no cure, affecting one in five American adults and teenagers just like you. Many people with herpes are constantly searching for ways to reduce the frequency and severity of their herpes outbreaks. There are many things that can trigger a herpes outbreak ranging from environmental factors, your health, stress, and your diet. Medication and drugs are the primary way to keep the virus at bay, but with a nutritious and smart diet, your immune system can be stronger and outbreaks can be naturally prevented or reduced.
The most common recommendation regarding diet, food and better managing herpes outbreaks is centered around two amino acids – L-lysine and arginine. The general idea is to eat more lysine and less arginine in your diet.
Clinical studies and research have shown that diets high in L-lysine help to control herpes outbreaks. The body uses the amino acid lysine as a protein building block. Lysine boosts immunity and is effective in reducing the occurrence, severity and duration of frequent herpes outbreaks. Lysine also prevents other viruses that can attack the immune system and cause other health problems. Foods that are high in lysine content include:
• Most fruits such as apples, figs, pears, mangos and apricots
• Orange and red vegetables such as cauliflower, beets, yellow beans and potatoes
• Milk, cheese and yogurt
• Wild caught fish and other lean proteins such as chicken, lamb and beef
Even more important than what to eat is what not to eat. Many chronic viruses including herpes can be trigged by high amount of arginine in the body. Arginine encourages the virus’ growth and reproduction. Therefore, the goal is to increase consumption of foods rich in lysine and decrease the amount of foods that are high in arginine. To reduce and possibly even avoid herpes outbreaks, you should cut down on your intake of low-lysine, high arginine foods including:
• Seeds and nuts, nut butters
• Orange Juice
• Wheat and wheat products
• Oatmeal and oats
• Brown rice
• Whole wheat and white flours
• Dried beans
• Packaged and processed foods in general
• Protein supplements, protein shakes and multivitamins
Other dietary strategies for reducing herpes outbreaks include adopting an alkaline diet and eating more foods that are rich in vitamin B. By lowering the amount of acidic foods you eat, suppressing the herpes virus will be significantly more effective. Fruits and vegetables in general are perfect for an alkaline diet. Watermelon is an excellent example as well as adding lemon to your water. Eating foods rich in vitamin B and antioxidants support the overall dietary recommendations and can also help decrease your stress level, which is a key contributor to herpes outbreaks.
These above lists of beneficial foods and foods to avoid are just a general list to provide some overall dietary guidelines that can help you better manage your herpes outbreaks and lead a healthier and more vibrant life. Keep in mind that there are many known triggers that can contribute to a herpes outbreak and diet alone is not the complete answer – but it can help!