A diet for herpes will include the following foods, clinically proven to reduce herpes outbreaks.
The herpes simplex virus, whether oral herpes (herpes labialis, HSV-1) or genital herpes (herpes genitalis, HSV-2), is a widely communicable, infectious disease for which there is no known cure. Fortunately, herpes outbreaks can be controlled, and to an extent, prevented, with diet.
While there is no “official” herpes diet, there is plenty of clinical support for foods that 1) improve general health, 2) heal the skin, and 3) specifically destroy the herpes simplex virus.
People who suffer from herpes should experience positive changes with this three-pronged approach.
The typical American diet is anything but healthy.
A quick look at what most people in the United States eat reveals large cups of sugar and cream- laden coffee drinks and either 800 calorie muffins, several doughnuts, or a couple of sausage and egg sandwiches from a local fast food restaurant for breakfast.
At lunch, the choice is usually a quick trip through the drive-through at another fast food restaurant, or a heavier “business lunch” with clients.
For dinner, parents frantically drive their children around to their after school activities, and pick up something they can eat in the car.
If the family does eat at home, they often throw in a couple of frozen pizzas, some hot dogs, or something that cooks in the microwave for ten minutes.
Over time, eating like this leads to all kinds of serious health problems. In addition, this lifestyle, although typical in the U.S., suppresses the immune system. This diet makes it very hard for the body to heal any infection it is fighting, including herpes.
In order to allow the body to heal itself from any type of disease, the first step involves improving the daily diet. An entirely different approach is required in order to give the body the nutrients it needs to fight infections.
In order to improve the immune system, and the health of the body in general, a person must understand the principle of eating “clean.” “Clean” eating, in simplest terms, means that a person eats food that consists of only one or two ingredients.
As an example, a “clean” meal might be chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and brown rice.
Each menu item has only one ingredient. The chicken breast may be seasoned with cracked black peppercorns, or sauteed with the broccoli, along with onions or some other vegetables. The rice may be cooked in chicken broth. However, "broccoli" is just broccoli.
In contrast to eating “clean” is eating “dirty.” “Dirty” foods include all packaged and processed foods and beverages that have a long list of artificial chemicals, flavorings, colorings, and preservatives on the label.
Sodas, drink mixes, most products made from flour, packaged cookies and chips, and anything containing either vegetable oil or high fructose corn syrup are considered “dirty” foods. Some nutritionists say, “If you can not pronounce it, you can not eat it.”
One example of a healthy diet that embraces the concept of eating “clean” is the Mayo Clinic Diet.
The Mayo Clinic states that the foundation of a healthy diet is built on a large volume of fruits and vegetables. Along with these complex carbohydrates, a variety of whole grains are also recommended.
In addition to carbohydrates, lean protein choices and a small amount of healthy fats are included in the Mayo Clinic Diet.
Regular exercise, adequate rest, drinking plenty of water, and reducing stress are also required when boosting the immune system to become more healthy.
In addition to eating “clean,” there are many foods that have been clinically proven to improve skin health. The skin is the largest organ on the human body, and forms the first line of defense against environmental toxins and disease.
A paper published in the Journal of Dermatoendocrinology states that nutritional deficiencies are often linked to skin health disorders. Increasingly, dermatologists are using diet and nutritional supplements to improve the health of the skin.
The following foods are recommended by the National Institute of Health to support the health of the skin: 1) Vitamin A (carotenoid)- rich foods, 2) Vitamin C- rich foods, 3) foods high in zinc, 4) collagen- rich foods, and 5) healthy fats.
There are some foods that have been clinically demonstrated to help prevent herpes outbreaks and reduce the healing time during outbreaks. Foods that help heal herpes include 1) lysine- rich foods, 2) garlic, 3) Vitamin A- rich foods as noted above, 4) Vitamin E- rich foods, and 5) lactoferrin.
L- lysine has been shown to prevent outbreaks of the herpes simplex- 1 virus, when patients take 1000mg lysine daily. The medical journal Acta Dermato Venereologica states that virucidal properties are at work in lysine which are capable of destroying the herpes simplex- 1 virus.
A clinical study performed at the Indiana University School of Medicine suggests that taking 3000mg L- lysine daily for six months can significantly reduce the occurrence of herpes outbreaks. Lysine also reduces the healing time during outbreaks of oral herpes.
Garlic has been used to kill viruses and harmful bacteria for centuries. Medical science confirmed the effectiveness of garlic against viruses such as herpes simplex- 1 in a clinical study performed at Brigham Young University in 1992.
In 2008, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition stated that Vitamin E was an antioxidant and was effective against free radical damage. Mice fed a diet rich in Vitamin E for four weeks had fewer cases of herpes virus- induced encephalitis.
Lactoferrin is a protein found in dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. It is also found in many whey protein powders used in bodybuilding. Lactoferrin helps provide antibodies and probiotics. It also helps deliver iron to cells throughout the body and boosts the immune system.
According to studies from the 1980s and 90s, including one hallmark study published in Chemotherapy in 1981, the amino acid arginine may be responsible for making herpes outbreaks worse. According to the study, arginine is normally a beneficial amino acid that reduces healing time and repairs damaged tissue. However, for some reason, it also tends to make herpes outbreaks worse. This means that individuals with herpes should avoid foods with a high arginine to lysine ratio.
By avoiding these foods, particualrly around a suspected outbreak, you may be able to reduce your number of outbreaks.
These studies show that a variety of foods are scientifically proven to help heal and prevent herpes. Try to eat a diet rich in vitamin E, healthy fats, vitamin C, and lysine, as well as foods that are naturally anti-viral, like onions and garlic. By adding these foods to your diet and avoiding the potential herpes trigger arginine, you will reduce the number of outbreaks seen each year.
Mayo Clinic.com, “The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight loss program for life”
Pubmed.gov, “Nutrition and nutritional supplementation: Impact on skin health and beauty,” by Nathalie Piccardi and Patricia Manissier. Dermatoendocrinology. September- October 2009; 1(5): 271-274.
Pubmed.gov, “Vitamin A”
Pubmed.gov, “Vitamin C”
Livestrong.com, “Food Sources of Collagen,” by James Young
University of Michigan Health System.edu, “Healing Foods Pyramid”
Pubmed.gov, “Lysine prophylaxis in recurrent herpes simplex labialis: a double-blind, controlled crossover study,” N. Milman, et al. Acta Dermato Venerologica. 1980:60(1):85-7.
Pubmed.gov, “Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Treatment and prophylaxis,” R.S. Griffith, et al. Dermatologica. 1987; 175(4): 183:90.
Pubmed.gov, “Effect of L-lysine monohydrochloride on cutaneous herpes simplex virus in the guinea pig,” E. Ayala and D. Krikorian. Journal of Medical Virology. May 1989; 28(1): 16-20.
Pubmed.gov, “In vitro virucidal effects of Allium sativum (garlic) extract and compounds,” by N.D. Weber, et al. Planta Medica. October 1992; 58(5): 417-23.
Pubmed.gov, “Herpes simplex keratitis treatment with vitamin A,” G. Smolen, et al. Archives of Ophthamology. November 1979; 97(11): 2181-3.
Pubmed.gov, “The immune response to herpes simplex virus enchealitis in mice is modulated by dietary vitamin E,” by P.A. Sheridan and M.A. Beck. Journal of Nutrition. January 2008; 13891): 130-7.
Pubmed.gov, “Anti herpes simplex virus activity of lactoferrin/lactoferricin-- an example of antiviral activity of antimicrobial protein/peptide,” by H. Jenssen. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. December 2005; 62(24): 3002-13.
University of Maryland Medical Center.edu, “Lysine”
Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institute of Health.gov, “Vitamin A”
Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institute of Health.gov, “Vitamin E”
Pubmed.gov, “Relation of arginine-lysine antagonism to herpes simplex growth in tissue culture,” by R.S. Griffith, et al. Chemotherapy. 1981;27(3):209-13.
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