Shingles is caused by the Herpes Zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chicken pox. It has been seen that people who have experienced chicken pox in their childhood, may sometimes experience Shingles in their later years. Shingles manifests itself in the form of a red rash that may eventually form blisters. The rash is painful and once the blisters dry, you may experience severe itchiness.
Although shingles is treated through medication, a shingles diet also plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of shingles. A proper diet can help ensure that your immune system is working well. When your immunity is strong, the chances of the Herpes Zoster virus manifesting itself are less. Moreover, this virus affects the nerve endings. Thus, if you are already affected with shingles, it is important to follow a diet for shingles that helps to boost your nervous system.
Foods to eat
Let us take a look at some of the foods that should form a part of a diet for shingles:
- Fruits and vegetables provide your body with all the essential micronutrients. Thus, it is important to ensure that you include adequate quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet. This will help you build and maintain immunity.
- Vitamin B-6 is an important nutrient for those suffering from shingle as it benefits the nerves. Some of the foods that are rich in vitamin B-6 include potatoes, bananas, brewer’s yeast and nuts.
- Other foods to eat for a shingles diet include whole grain foods such as brown rice.
- Garlic is a natural source of antioxidants and is a natural antibiotic as well. Try to incorporate garlic into your shingles diet to help heal the blisters faster.
- Lysine is an amino acid that can inhibit the multiplication of Herpes Zoster virus. Some of the good sources of lysine include fish, red meat, dairy products, and beans.
- There are some studies that indicate that consuming seaweed is also an effective way of arresting the spread of the Herpes Zoster virus and thereby preventing shingles.
- Drink lots of water as this will help your body flush out the impurities from your system.
Foods to avoid
There are also a number of foods to avoid if you are suffering from shingles. Let us take a look at some of them:
- Avoid foods that contain arginine. This is an amino acid that can help the Herpes Zoster virus to replicate. Some foods that contain arginine include chocolate, gelatin, and nuts.
- Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and dishes made with processed flour.
- Avoid consuming foods that are high in saturated fats.
- Alcohol and caffeine have a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to fight against diseases and these should be avoided if you are suffering from shingles.
- Avoid consuming fast food and junk food as they will not provide your body with proper nutrition. In fact they will only serve to inhibit your immune system as the body has to expend more energy to digest such food.
Shingles diet chart
Here is a sample shingles diet chart that should be followed if you have an outbreak of this disease. Keep in mind that diet is supplementary to medication and should ideally be prescribed by a doctor or nutritionist.
- Breakfast: Try to include eggs in your breakfast as eggs are a rich source of vitamins B1 and B12. Two slices of whole wheat bread and a glass of fresh fruit juice or a bowl of fresh fruit should also be included.
- Lunch: Opt for a high quality protein such as fish. In addition, fresh fruit and vegetables should also be included in good quantities. If you can incorporate seaweed into your diet, it will also be beneficial in a diet for shingles.
- Dinner: Dinner should also be rich in fruit and vegetables. Try to include citrus fruit, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
- Snacks: Nuts are a good option for snacks in between meals. A glass of milk should also be a part of any diet plan for shingles.
Shingles health tips
In addition to taking the right medication and consuming a proper diet for shingles, it is also important to avoid stress. Excess of stress can also suppress the immune system and allow the dormant Herpes Zoster virus to initiate an attack of shingles. It is also a good idea to identify situations that trigger stress attacks and avoid or minimize them. Counseling can also help you deal with stress. Regular exercise and sleep also help to alleviate stress.