Foods to Avoid With Herpes


Herpes can emerge orally (as cold sores) or on the genitals. Medical treatments can help to suppress outbreaks and ease symptoms. Simple dietary changes can also help. Avoiding foods rich in the amino acid arginine can help to minimize outbreaks.


While the amino acid lysine has been shown to help control outbreaks, according to, eating foods rich in I-Arginine may actually prompt an outbreak and inhibit the benefits of lysine in the body.

Doctor informs patient
Doctor informs patient (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)


Peanut butter is a beloved pantry staple. Unfortunately, it is arginine-rich and should be avoided in herpes patients. Almonds and chestnuts are also high in arginine.

Peanut butter on bread
Peanut butter on bread (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

Sugar and Caffeine

Avoid junk food, soda, coffee and black tea since sugary foods and caffeinated beverages weaken your immune system, allowing the herpes simplex virus to reproduce, triggering an outbreak.

Cup of coffee
Cup of coffee (Image: LennartK/iStock/Getty Images)

Additional Foods to Watch

Foods like gelatin, coconut, white flour, whole wheat, oats, soybeans, wheat germ and peanuts have a higher arginine content.

Coconut broken in half
Coconut broken in half (Image: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images)


According to chocolate has been shown to trigger herpes outbreaks. One of chocolate’s components, metylxantil suppresses the immune system, leaving you vulnerable to the herpes virus.

Chocolate (Image: Jacek Nowak/iStock/Getty Images)

Consider Lysine Supplementation

Supplementing with lysine and eating a lysine-rich diet may help to control the viral outbreaks. Foods like fish, vegetables, brewer’s yeast, bean sprouts, beans, milk, beef, cheese, lamb and fruit have a high lysine content.

Sea bream on wood cutting board
Sea bream on wood cutting board (Image: eskymaks/iStock/Getty Images)

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