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Foods to Eat to End Herpes

by
author image Berit Brogaard
Dr. Berit Brogaard has written since 1999 for publications such as "Journal of Biological Chemistry," "Journal of Medicine and Philosophy" and "Biology and Philosophy." In her academic research, she specializes in brain disorders, brain intervention and emotional regulation. She has a Master of Science in neuroscience from University of Copenhagen and a Ph.D. in philosophy from State University of New York at Buffalo.
Foods to Eat to End Herpes
A head of garlic on a table. Photo Credit johnandersonphoto/iStock/Getty Images

The two herpes simplex viruses, HSV-1 or HSV-2, trigger oral or genital herpes. They enter through the body's moist surfaces, such as the mouth, the head of the penis or the vaginal membranes, or through cracks in the skin. After entering the body, the viruses take up residency in the nervous system. Here, they lie dormant until they give rise to an outbreak. While no food or medicine can kill the virus, there are ways to reduce and even prevent herpes outbreaks.

Herpes Facts

When the herpes viruses enter the body, HSV-1 hides in the nervous system close to the ear, whereas HSV-2 hides at the base of the spine. Both viruses can trigger herpes outbreaks, which start as blisters that eventually turn into sores. Outbreaks normally reduce in frequency over time. Though HSV-1 typically causes cold sores, whereas HSV-2 causes genital herpes, both viruses can lead to sores anywhere in the lower and upper regions of the body.

Garlic

Though there is no way to kill off herpes viruses, you can reduce and even prevent outbreaks from occurring. The key to preventing outbreaks is a healthy body, a strong immune system and lack of stress. Garlic may help prevent outbreaks owing to its high content of antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that destroy foreign intruders that can damage cell membranes and modify genetic material. Eating lots of garlic can thus make it more difficult for the herpes viruses to generate blisters and sores on your skin. Prepared foods high in garlic include Mediterranean foods such as tzatziki and hummus, Italian pasta dishes and Thai and Indian curries.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is key to a strong immune system. It raises the serum levels of three key antibodies in the immune system: IgM, IgA and C3. IgA antibodies are present in great quantities on moist surfaces, the surfaces through which the herpes viruses enter. Here, they attack the viruses before they get a chance to enter your body. IgM attacks foreign intruders that manage to enter the body, and it furthermore activates the rest of the immune system, which includes the complement component C3. Foods high in vitamin C include limes, oranges, kiwi, papaya, berries, broccoli, spinach and celery.

Essential Fats and Amino Acids

Stress and anxiety can weaken the immune system and cause herpes outbreaks, so eating foods that prevent stress and anxiety may be able to reduce or prevent herpes outbreaks. The main biological cause of stress and anxiety is a low level of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The brain synthesizes serotonin from the essential amino acid, or protein building block, tryptophan. Good sources of this nutrient include fish, turkey, tofu, chickpeas and sunflower seeds. The proper function of serotonin furthermore requires essential fatty acids, such as omega-3, which is found in eggs, tuna, salmon, sardines and flax oil.

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