Herpes is a virus that can result in blisters and sores appearing on mucus membranes. Herpes typically affects either the mouth or the genitalia. Herpes usually causes its first outbreak shortly after infection, but the virus is never completely eliminated by the body, which allows it to cause additional outbreaks. Not only do outbreaks cause serious discomfort, but a person experiencing an outbreak may pass the virus onto others. Herpes outbreaks can occur as a result of a weakened immune system. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to keep your immune system strong and to keep herpes in check.
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Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. A proper diet is one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy and strong enough to keep the herpes virus dormant. Fruits and vegetables contain the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that a healthy immune system needs. To keep your immune system strong, consume between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. CNN.com recommends that you consume two servings of fruits and vegetables of different colors at each meal, which ensures that you get enough variety to get all of the nutrients your immune system needs to fight herpes.
Consume lean proteins. Lean proteins have a number of beneficial effects for the immune system. Protein is needed to make more white blood cells, which are critical for keeping the herpes virus in check. Lean proteins also will fill you up without adding large amounts of fat to your diet. A high-fat diet can impair the function of T-lymphocytes, which are a kind of white blood cell that has a pivotal role in fighting infections.
Consume immune-boosting herbs. Garlic and oregano are two spices that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet to help boost your immune system. Both of these spices are rich in nutrients and compounds which help fight infections, ABCNews.com says. Ginseng, echinacea and licorice root are also thought to have immune-boosting properties, according to Harvard Medical School.
Adopt an overall healthy lifestyle. The strength of your immune system is partly tied to your overall health. Getting at least eight hours of sleep each night helps your body recharge and regroup. Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, as this can also drain your body's resources and weaken your immune system. Regular physical activity can also help keep your immune system healthy, Harvard Medical School says.