They seem to sprout up at the worst times - before an important interview or when meeting a friend you haven't seen for years. Cold sores don't just show up randomly. Stress plays a role. A weakened immune system or a diet too high in acid-forming foods can also be factors. But for me the one thing that most often brings on a cold sore is overindulging in certain foods.
Yesterday I felt the pain of another cold sore about to erupt. I started thinking back on what I had been eating. I've known for years that peanuts and chocolate trigger attacks. Nuts of all kinds are also troublesome. In frustration, I looked up the chart below and noted the foods to avoid. I was shocked to realize that in the past several weeks I had indulged in everything on the list
Most cold sores are caused by the Herpes Complex Type 1. Research shows that the herpes virus must have the amino acid arginine in order to replicate. Herpes sufferers who eat a lot of arginine-rich foods need more lysine, another amino acid, in order to control their herpes.
To avoid herpes attacks, balance out the high-arginine foods with high-lysine foods. A classic combination is eating brown rice with cooked dried beans. While brown rice is high in arginine (190 mg), the dried beans have an excess of 270 mg. of lysine, which more than compensates for the lack of lysine in the brown rice. Another approach is to eat very small portions when eating high-arginine foods like hazel nuts and peanuts. Eating certain foods and avoiding others can reduce the pain and prevent recurrences of herpes attacks.
Popcorn has a high argine to lysine ratio, but those prone to herpes can still enjoy it. After popping, sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast (from the health store). This adds a cheesy flavor to the popcorn. The arginine is neutralized because one tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 190 mg. more lysine than arginine.
Fish, meats and dairy products are high in lysine. However, eating too much of these high protein foods can make the body too acidic, which can also cause a herpes outbreak. Moderation is the key. Good sources of lysine are also found in wheat germ, legumes and in many fruits and vegetables.
Foods to Eat
Foods to Avoid
|930||fresh fish||4 oz||1/2 cup||hazel nuts||-2250|
|880||shark||4 oz||1/2 cup||brazil nuts||-2110|
|810||canned fish||4 oz||1/2 cup||peanuts||-2060|
|740||chicken||4 oz||1/2 cup||walnuts||-810|
|720||beef||4 oz||1/2 cup||almonds||-710|
|520||goat's milk||1 cup||1/2 cup||cocoa powder||-650|
|420||cow's milk||1 cup||2 Tblsps||peanut butter||-510|
|420||lamb||4 oz||1/2 cup||sesame seeds||-450|
|1/2 cup||1/2 cup||cashews||-420|
|380||pork||4 oz||1/2 cup||carob powder||-310|
|280||cheese, all types||1 oz||1/2 cup||coconut||-290|
|1/2 cup||1/2 cup||pistachio nuts||-240|
|240||lima beans||1/2 cup||1/2 cup||buckwheat
|1/2 cup||1/2 cup||chickpeas
|1/2 cup||1/2 cup||brown rice,
|190||nutritional yeast||1 Tblsp||1/2 cup||pecans||-180|
|1/2 cup||1/2 cup||oatmeal,
|100||human milk||1 cup||1/2 cup||sunflower
Chart is from The Saturday Evening Post Family Cookbook.