5 Foods That Cause Herpes Outbreaks with Alexandra Harbushka

092_ 5 Foods That Cause Herpes Outbreaks with Alexandra Harbushka blog

Key Foods That Cause Herpes Outbreaks

Some of the top questions that I see happening in our private community are around preventing outbreaks. You guys are asking is there something that is in my diet that is triggering this or is the someway I can control my outbreaks with nutrition. Basically, what can I do to prevent these dang things from interrupting my life?   Ok so the YAASSSS you can. This is good news, right? Trust me, I’m like you and I want to do everything I can to prevent an outbreak and keep that sucker dormant. Before we dive in and cover the top foods that cause outbreaks I want to make sure we cover the main reason why these foods are Xed off our list. It boils down to one simple protein called arginine. Arginine is an essential amino acid that is crucial to our overall health. It supports things like blood flow, circulation and helps the blood vessels relax.  We clearly need arginine in our system. The problem occurs when we have an abundance of arginine in our body it can be like lighter fluid to a flame or miracle grow to a weed. We want to be aware of what foods are high in arginine and foods that trigger a herpes outbreak. We can combat the arginine with another essential acid called lysine. This The other biggie, why some of these foods are on our don’t go there list, is because they lower our immune system. A low immune system equals a chance for the herpes virus to come out and play.

Here are the top 5 foods that can trigger your herpes and cause an oh so painful outbreak.


1. Coconut 

I know what you are thinking, “coconut?” “Isn't that supposed to be an antiviral, an antibacterial and a superfood that does wonders in the kitchen and for our skin and everything else?” Well, at least that's what I was thinking when I heard coconut is off the list. Here’s why coconut is super high in arginine and low in lysine with this ratio it can easily trigger an outbreak. Get this, when I was first diagnosed I read online that coconut did wonders etc so I would eat 2 tbsp a day! Basically, all of the arginine was just feeding the virus and the virus must have felt like it was at an all you can eat buffet. Not good!  

2. Caffeine 

Maybe cut back on the triple shot % with extra foam venti latte. There are always so many studies coming out about caffeine. One day it prolongs your life and the next it shortens your life. One day it helps you maintain a healthy weight and the next it puts weight on. One day it helps with dementia and the next it doesn't.  Basically, caffeine is a mixed bag so if you are a caffeine drinker then cut back to a lower dose. There’s no reason to be running on caffeine. There aren’t high amounts of arginine in caffeine however what happens in our bodies is it the caffeine creates an acidic environment and when our bodies are acidic it lowers our immune system and creates a breeding ground for viruses.  I’m not saying don't have your morning cup of coffee I’m saying cut back so your immune system can do what it’s supposed to do. If you are feeling run down or have an outbreak then lay off the coffee for a couple of days so your body can renew.

3. Chocolate

This one is personally the most difficult for me. Chocolate has so many great health benefits such as preventing free radicals, potential cancer prevention and overall good for our health.  Not to mention how delicious it is but the downside for us with herpes is it’s high in arginine. If you're a chocoholic then see what you can do about cutting back and limiting your intake. Sometimes less can be more so maybe treat yourself to a special chocolate so you feel like you are indulging opposed to just having it on hand.

4. Nuts

Nuts are such a great source of nutrients and fats but they are extremely high in arginine especially my favorite, peanuts. This one put a damper on things for me personally because nuts are such a great snack to keep in your purse or desk at work for when the hunger strikes. But nuts are a biggie. Some people are so sensitive that they can feel an outbreak coming on after finishing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you're nuts for nuts or it is based on convenience for you then try to limit this to a handful or try it every other day. Also, experiment with different nuts, maybe you can’t do peanuts but almonds are fine.  

5. Sugar 

Sugar has been the villain in most of our nutrition guidelines and we have been advised to stay away from sugar to prevent every ailment. Now, I can’t disagree that sugar is bad for you but it’s also very very very hard to avoid it thus making it hard to cut out. It’s hidden in everything. Sugar doesn't contain arginine however what it does do is slower your immune system which is bad news.  Your immune system works hard every day to keep your outbreaks at bay and keep the herpes virus dormant in your nervous system. When sugar is consumed it suppresses our white blood cells which are the ones that are our front line of defense thus making them sluggish against fighting viruses. When you're on a sugar high your immune system is on vacay and it gives the herpes virus an open door to pop up. What I don’t want you to be thinking  after reading this is, “gosh I can’t have anything or all the good stuff is bad for me.” Or worse. I don’t want you stressing out over an almond or asking if there is coconut hidden in your chia seed pudding. Relax. Breath. Stressing out over your food choices can also cause a breakout and clearly, that is what we are trying to avoid. What I recommend and how I live my daily life is in moderation and balance. It’s ok to have a PB&J sandwich and it’s ok to have a piece of chocolate cake and enjoy an espresso and use coconut oil for cooking. Just not all in the same day. What I’m saying is keep it in perspective and enjoy these things in moderation and balance your arginine with lysine. If you have a piece of chocolate cake then the next day cut back on some of the other biggies.


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