Viral Infection? Best & Worst Foods to Eat

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Viral Infection? Best & Worst Foods to Eat

November 15
17:41 2017

Although there are a very few people who never get sick, I worked with one. The rest of us will generally come down with some sort of illness more than once in our lives. If it’s a bacterial infection, the doctor will prescribe specific medications that often help you fight the infection and get healthy again.

But if it’s a viral infection, few antibiotics help. They often give you something to help relieve the symptoms or prevent any other infection from setting in, but most viral infections have to run their course, hoping that your body can eventually fight it off.

When you’re running a fever with either a bacterial or viral infection, there are foods that will help and foods that will only make you feel worse. Most of you have heard about eating chicken soup when you’re sick, and there is some medical evidence that shows it really does help.

So, which foods should you avoid and which should you eat? Did you know that eating the wrong foods can actually prolong your illness or accelerate the rate of the illness affecting your body, especially if you have a viral infection, such as the common cold?


What is arginine?

Arginine is an α-amino acid. Its primary use is to help synthesize a variety of proteins. Many bodybuilders eat foods high in arginine or take it as a supplement to help build muscle. However, if you have a viral infection, arginine has been found to encourage outbreaks of viruses and a constant diet of arginine can lead to a low-grade chronic viral infection including cold sores.

Foods known to have arginine includes:

  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, cashews, etc., as well as peanuts
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Oats
  • Soybeans (unless truly fermented, like natto or miso)

If you are plagued with cold sores, perhaps it could be linked to your diet if you have a steady intake of any of the above.

Other immune suppressing foods to avoid when you have a viral infection include sugar, foods heavy in fats and many prepackaged foods especially those that contain eggs, meat and dairy.

While you should avoid arginine rich foods when you have a viral infection, you should try to take foods rich in lysine. It is another α-amino acid that helps synthesize proteins, however, it is found to provide a benefit to the immune system. Foods rich in lysine include wild-caught fish, gluten-free grain and seeds like amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa, and cow’s mile kefir (fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus Mountains).

Additionally, some sources recommend eating a Paleo diet rich in probiotics to help your body fight a viral infection. These tend to help boost the body’s immune system which in turn helps the body fight off the virus.

  • Foods that produce a good source of probiotics to help fight off a virus infection include:
  • Vegetable soup (with added seaweed)
  • Bone broth
  • Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables
  • Soft-cooked vegetables
  • Green juice (no fruit)
  • Green smoothies (again, no fruit)
  • Collagen/Gelatin (especially rich in amino acids like lysine)

Even if you aren’t ill and fighting a viral infection, eating a Paleo diet rich in probiotics is supposed to help keep you healthy and reduce your chance of catching a viral infection. Eat healthy, stay healthy.

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