Health Fitness

Dietary guide to prevent outbreaks of cold sores

What are cold sores?

Cold sore outbreaks are a manifestation of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that you carry in your nerve cells. If you suffer from cold sores (herpes) you are probably infected with Herpes Simplex Virus type 1, but type 2, usually associated with genital herpes, can also manifest on the lips or in the nose region. About 80% of the world’s population carries the virus, but only 15% to 30% of them experience recurrent outbreaks. Once you are infected by the virus, you are infected for life; there is no known cure for herpes.

Even if you suffer from recurring cold sores, you can drastically reduce or even prevent outbreaks by following a few simple rules. Some of these rules are not fun to implement in your daily life, but their effects may convince you to follow them. Let’s start!

The battle of the amino acid ratio.

Arginine: Arginine is an amino acid found in virtually every food you eat. Arginine by itself is not bad; the problem is that it is the herpes simplex virus’s favorite ‘food’ to reproduce. High levels of arginine seem to indicate that the virus is starting to replicate.

lysine: Lysine is also an amino acid that is obtained from the diet. If arginine has herpes growth promoting activity, lysine has the opposite effect. The herpes virus cannot use Lysine to feed or replicate; this is why we need to feed more lysine to our cells. So logically, the more lysine and less arginine you consume in your food, the fewer cold sore outbreaks you are likely to have. BUT the goal is not to eradicate arginine from your diet, you need it to stay healthy and rebuild muscle! What we need is food with a good lysine/arginine ratio. Here are 2 examples:

Example 1 Peanuts: 100 grams of peanuts contain: 1006 mg of lysine and 3506 mg of arginine. This is a lysine/arginine ratio of 0.29. Eat peanuts in moderation!

Example 2 plain yogurt: 100 grams of natural yogurt contain: 311 mg of lysine and 104 mg of arginine. The lysine/arginine ratio is 2.99. Yogurt is fine!

Foods with a poor lysine/arginine ratio (consume in moderation):

• Eat in extreme moderation all kinds of nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc…) as well as their derivatives.

• Eat all kinds of seeds in moderation (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc.) as well as their derivatives.

• Citrus-based juices (orange juice, grapefruit, tangerine, etc.)

• Grapes

• Coconut

• Chocolate and all other cocoa by-products

• Puffed oats and oatmeal, wheat and wheat by-products

• Cucurbitaceae (Squash, pumpkin, etc…)

• Beware of food supplements rich in arginine, which are commonly found in bodybuilding food products

Some food with a good lysine/arginine ratio (ok food)

• Dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese)

• Meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc.)

• Fish (tuna and sardines are full of lysine)

• Soy

Some foods with a nearly neutral lysine/arginine ratio (neutral foods)

• All the vegetables

• Seafood

• Vegetables

Refined sugars and their substitutes.

This is not easy, today everything contains refined sugars or artificial sweeteners, from industrial bread to your favorite yogurt. To avoid these sugars try to buy ‘plain’ foods and sweeten them yourself with pure honey.

Try to stay away from refined and processed sugars like:

• White sugar

• fake brown sugar

• Corn syrups

Try to stay away from refined and processed sugars like:

• Aspartame (also known as: Equal and NutraSweet)

• Saccharin (aka: Sweet’N Low)

• Sucralose (aka: Splenda, Altern)

• sorbitol

Remember, try to use honey instead of refined sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Avoid acidic drinks and liquids.

Drink these drinks in moderation, they acidify your body and a low body pH is more subject to the proliferation of viruses:

• All soft drinks with phosphoric acid or refined sugar or artificial sweeteners (actually those 3 conditions apply to 99% of soft drinks, it might be a good idea to give up soda forever!)

• Beer, wine and alcoholic beverages

• Be careful with all kinds of vinegars, including by-products like yellow mustard. If you really like fizzy liquids, try replacing sodas with sparkling mineral water, they come in a variety of flavors.

fatty foods

Fats from natural sources such as meat, fish, and plants (unsaturated fats, Omega-3 oils (fish oils, flaxseed oil), Omega-6 oils (most natural vegetable oils), and saturated fats) are relatively safe to consume. But hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, should be avoided at all costs. It is widely found in fast food, packaged, pre-made and processed foods.

Final Word on Dietary Habits

The goal is not to eradicate everything we’ve listed from your diet; you can treat yourself once in a while without any consequences. But moderation is the key!

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