11 Must Know Food that can Worsen Herpes


Artificial sweetener, dark chocolate, nuts, wheats, alcoholspirulina, pumpkin seeds, squash and white and refined sugars, caffeine, oats are some of the food that can worsen herpes.

Herpes is an infection that is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus. There are two types of herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (leads to genital herpes outbreaks). Considering Genital Herpes, it is a sexually transmitted infection that stays for the entire life. There may be a number of articles on what you should eat and drink if you are infected with the virus. However, what is less talked about is what foods one should avoid. In this article, we will discuss 11 foods that can worsen herpes. Read below to find more:

Symptoms of herpes

It is generally called as an “outbreak” when the symptoms of genital herpes show up. Given below are some of the symptoms of genital herpes:

  • Itchy or painful blisters on the vagina, cervix, butt, penis or inside of the thighs.
  • Burning sensation when the urine touches the sore.
  • Itching
  • Pain around the genitals
  • Trouble peeing. This is because the sores and swelling block the urethra.

In case, the cause of genital herpes is HSV-2, some flu-like symptoms may also be common:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Swollen glands in the pelvic area, throat and under the arms.
  • Feeling tired

Sometimes, the symptoms of herpes may be so mild that you may not even notice them. Oftentimes, people confuse the herpes symptoms with pimples, flu or the un-grown hair. Also, the symptoms may even last a bit longer in people with illnesses that can damage the immune system, for instance HIV and leukaemia.

11 Foods that can Worsen Herpes


Artificial sweetener

This can be most commonly found in ‘diet’ or ‘sugar free’ foods and drinks, such as diet sodas, toothpaste, sugar substitutes etc. Thus, look for the word ‘sweetener’ written on any of the product labels or any of the below mentioned ingredient names:

  • Sorbitol
  • Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
  • Sucralose (Splenda, Altern)

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate consists of many chemical properties, for instance once that are addictive, brain stimulating and several others. But dark chocolate is also high in Arginine. It is completely fine unless you are at the edge of an outbreak but you must ensure that you consume it in moderation.

Read More: 11 Health Benefits for Cacao in Kids


Being a rich source of protein, fibre and minerals, nuts are also a high source of arginine. Being more particular, you must highly avoid peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts and peanut butter and other nut butters as well.

Read More: Health Benefits of Nuts for Kids


Spirulina should not really be your choice if you are someone who often gets cold sores although spirulina is typically added to smoothies and protein shakes for its extra nutritional value but it is also high in arginine.

Read More: Health Benefits of Spirulina for Kids


Wheat consists of high levels of arginine. I know it can be a little hard to avoid this because it mostly found in a large number of foods, for instance breads, pasta, baking or anything that contains flour. So, in order to avoid its consumption, you can look for gluten-free varieties of these foods that are free from wheat.

Read More: Health Benefits of Wheat for Babies


This winter vegetable is preferred by almost each one of us but unfortunately, it is also a rich source of arginine which is why it must be highly avoided in case you are suffering from herpes.

Read More: Health Benefits of Butternut Squash for Infants and Children

Pumpkin seeds

Not only pumpkin seeds but unfortunately the bad news is that you must also avoid sesame seeds at the same time, as both of them are an excellent source of arginine, which must not be consumed.


This tasty, healthy and nutritious breakfast is an excellent source of arginine, which must be avoided. In fact, even if you feel that you are likely to suffer with an upcoming outbreak, it is better to avoid this.


Alcohol should be highly avoided during this time. Even if you plan on having it, make sure that you consume it in moderation and try to take Panax or Korean Ginseng so as to reduce its negative impacts on your body. It will also help to lessen the chances of a breakout.

White and refined sugars

You must avoid the consumption of sugar whenever possible. Rather than consuming sugar, you can opt for natural sweetener, for instance agave syrup or stevia.


A strong immune system is very important to prevent herpes outbreaks and caffeine and other related products have higher acidity levels that can lead to a weaker immune system. Thus, in order to avoid a herpes outbreak, it is better to avoid its consumption.

Home remedies to cure herpes:

  • Taking painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Warm sitz bath
  • Apply petroleum jelly
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Apply some cream or lotion to the urethra, in case urinating is painful
  • Avoid any form of sexual intercourse
  • Bath in lightly salted water
  • Wash your hands every time you touch the affected area and stay clean


Your doctor may prescribe you some antivirals if you have shown up the herpes symptoms for the first time. Antivirals can prevent the symptoms from multiplying. However, drugs are of no use to get rid of the herpes virus. For this, you can rely on some natural remedies to ease the symptoms and most importantly, avoid the consumption of foods that can cause herpes outbreak.

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!