Cold sores are lesions that appear in the mouth and facial area, and are caused by the herpes virus. Note that the virus that causes cold sores is different from the virus that causes genital herpes. Cold sores are common and can be prevented by boosting your immune system by getting adequate rest and good diet. Generally, a diet rich in amino acid lysine and low in arginine will help prevent cold sore breakouts. Lysine prevents cold sore breakout by inhibiting the metabolism of arginine--an amino acid that helps the herpes virus to replicate.
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Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products have the highest lysine to arginine ratio counts and therefore are the most effective in preventing cold sore breakouts. Yoghurt (particularly plain yoghurt) has a lysine to arginine ratio of approximately 2.98. Cheese products comes as a close second with a lysine to arginine ratio of 2.78.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables help prevent cold sore breakouts by boosting your immune system. Fruits and vegetables that have a high concentration of lysine include papaya, beets, mango, apricots, pears, apples, figs, avocados, tomatoes and sprouts. Note that papaya has a particularly high lysine to arginine ratio (about 2.53), which is higher than most cheeses and other dairy products.
Meat and Eggs
Meat and eggs have the lowest lysine and arginine ratios in foods deemed to prevent cold sores; they still constitute a vital component of a healthy diet, however. Meats particularly useful in preventing cold sores include fish, chicken, lamb and beef. Within this category, salmon and swordfish are the most potent in fighting against cold sores with an lysine to arginine ratio of approximately 1.55.
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