Food Cures for Shingles

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Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection affecting those who had a round of chicken pox in childhood. The virus that causes chicken pox can remain in your body for many years after you've had chicken pox. Sometimes, it will resurface as a rash of painful blisters on your face or elsewhere on your body, known as shingles. Treating shingles often involves medication from a doctor, but a change in diet can help speed up your shingles recovery. Before trying this, however, it is best to talk with your doctor.

Raised bumps caused by shingles.
(Joel Carillet/iStock/Getty Images)

The reason that many foods can be used to help treat an outbreak of shingles is because they contain many vitamins that are needed to help your body fight infections. For example, vitamin B12 is an important compound that can aid in recovery from shingles. You may take vitamin supplements to make up for what isn't received through food, but many foods can help with your intake of B12. For example, apricots contain plenty of B12. You can get your daily B12 doses from many seafoods such as oysters, crabs or clams, as well as lamb, beef and many breakfast cereals.

Another important compound for shingles treatment is vitamin C. Most people receive plenty of vitamin C through oranges and orange juice, but there are other foods which provide vitamin C. Most citrus fruits have plenty of vitamin C, such as lemons and grapefruits. Other fruits with vitamin C are pineapple, peaches, kiwi, strawberries and other berries. As with B12, you can take a supplement to receive more vitamin C if you feel you don't get enough from food alone. Be advised, however, that higher amounts of vitamin C can cause diarrhea. Carefully monitor your intake of vitamin C to avoid this problem.

Vitamin E should be included in your diet to help recover from shingles. For vitamin E, turn to foods like avocados, tomatoes and mangos. On top of the vitamins, up your intake of the amino acid lysine. Lysine can come from beef, pork, eggs and tofu, and is said to keep the virus causing shingles from replicating. Other foods that are good for you to eat while treating shingles are green and yellow vegetables, mushrooms and garlic. As for what should be avoided while dealing with shingles, most processed foods and refined sugar need to be taken out of your diet. Beverages like alcohol and soft drinks need to be avoided, as well. Also stay away from chocolate and fried foods.

A glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.
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