Cold sores are a common condition that can be unpleasant, uncomfortable and even a little painful. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together 7 nutrition and lifestyle tips. When implemented in conjunction with treatment options prescribed by your doctor, these tips may help to reduce the frequency and severity of cold sore outbreaks.
An essential amino acid contained in protein rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, eggs, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and beans. Talk to a health professional about supplementing with L-lysine. It may not stop cold sore outbreaks, but it can help with reducing the severity and frequency.
This nutrient plays a role in the rate of wound healing and is required for a healthy immune system. Zinc can be consumed through food sources such as oysters and other shellfish, poultry, pumpkin seeds, legumes, nuts and eggs or zinc oxide can be applied topically.
- Vitamin C
This nutrient supports a wide range of different bodily processes including supporting a healthy immune system response. Aim to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C such as capsicum, strawberries, kiwifruit, broccoli and dark leafy greens. However, it is best to limit eating vitamin C rich citrus fruits like orange and lemon, as the acidity can irritate existing cold sores. Alternatively, freshly squeeze your citrus fruits and drink through a straw to avoid aggravating the wound.
- Introduce some stress management techniques
When you’re stressed, you often feel run down and this can compromise our immune system. Whilst we know that for most of us stress is unavoidable we can still introduce some simple techniques to help manage and prevent stress from becoming chronic. Try incorporating a few of the following stress relieving techniques: deep breathing or meditation outside in nature, putting your legs up against the wall, engaging in restorative exercise such as yoga, taking an Epsom salt bath, listening to classical music or treating yourself to a massage.
- Avoid excess sun exposure
The UV rays can damage the skin and prolonged exposure can be a trigger for those prone to cold sores. Ensure your moisturiser contains SPF and always apply sunscreen to the affected areas. Avoid spending extended periods of time in the sun and wear a hat to limit the amount of exposure to your lips.
- Replace your tooth brush regularly
Bacteria lives on tooth brushes and not swapping your toothbrush after an outbreak can possibly result in re-infection once you’ve treated the virus. Don’t let the head of the toothpaste touch your tooth brush to prevent it spreading to others in the family.
- Take care of your gut
The gut wall houses cells that make up part of our immune system. Consider taking a good quality probiotic that contains Lactobacillus under the guidance of a health practitioner. Other ways to take care of your gut include: incorporating plenty of fibre rich foods, consuming probiotic food sources, introducing stress relieving techniques, eating a wholefood-based diet and reducing intake of refined sugar, alcohol and processed/packaged foods.
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