Cold sores are very frustrating, especially if they keep recurring, as they often tend to do. There is a wide array of home remedies and pharmacological treatments that can be very effective against this problem, but not many people know that food also plays an important role. Certain foods have the ability to speed up the healing process of cold sores and to prevent their recurring.
About cold sores
Cold sores or fever blisters usually appear on the lips, although sometimes they appear inside the mouth too. They are caused by herpes simplex virus or HPV. Cold sores first start as a mild tingling or itching sensation in the spot where later, usually the next day, one or more blisters will appear. The blisters sometimes form a cluster and they are always filled with fluid.
The blisters usually burst after several days and the fluid oozes out. The crust is then formed, and when the crust falls off by itself, the sore is considered to be healed.
Cold sores are painful and unappealing, which is why people suffering from them want to get rid of them as soon as possible. Certain foods can be very helpful in that.
Impact of certain foods on cold sores
There are certain foods that should be avoided by the people who suffer from cold sores. Those are foods that are high in arginine and low in lysine. Arginine and lysine are two amino acids, found in certain foods.
When the herpes simplex virus enters a nerve cell in the lips, it forces it to create copies of the virus. When the cell is full, it breaks and releases new viruses. This results in a cold sore.
Arginine is essential for the production of new viruses. The cells have the same storage space for lysine and arginine. If there is more lysine and less arginine, the cell will not be able to replicate the virus, and this will directly inhibit the virus growth.
Therefore, if a person increases the intake of lysine and avoids arginine, the virus will eventually give up and return to hibernation.
This can be done by avoiding the foods containing arginine, and those include chocolate, seeds, nuts, seafood and shellfish, berries, grapefruit, oranges, oats, wheat, broccoli, corn, carrots, pumpkins and many more.
Of course, it is impossible to avoid all of these foods, and it should be enough just to reduce their intake for at least a week.
On the other hand, foods that are beneficial, as they contain lysine, include all dairy products, chicken, beef, apricots, avocado, figs, apples, beets and soy. In addition, lysine supplements, in the form of capsules, are widely available and they are considered to be very helpful against cold sores.