Hormone-raging teenagers are not the only ones who are burdened by unsightly, embarrassing blemishes on the face. It's estimated that 80% of Americans have been exposed to the cold sore virus and may experience an outbreak – fluid filled blisters on the lips, gums or roof of the mouth. However, just because one is exposed to the herpes simplex virus does not mean a cold sore will surface. Some peoples’ immune systems are built to completely suppress the virus. If you're someone who is susceptible to these outbreaks, you may find solace with these preventative measures and natural cold sore suppressors.
What Triggers a Cold Sore Attack?
- Weakened immune system
- Colds and flu viruses
- Spending time in the sun and heat
- Windy conditions
- Hormonal changes
- Stress (both physical and emotional)
- Foods rich in the amino acid Lysine have been shown to inhibit the spread of the herpes simplex virus, known to cause cold sores. Protein-rich foods are the best source of this amino acid. Good Blast options include nuts, peas, organic tofu, spirulina, cooked beans and legumes, and brewer’s yeast. In addition to adding lysine-rich foods, reduce the foods with high levels of the amino acid arginine to help balance the ratio and enhance the cold sore busting power. What foods are those? Red meat, turkey, pork, spinach, whole wheat, soy protein isolate, crustaceans, tuna, salmon, and egg yolk.
- Reduce stress with the herb lemon balm! Lemon balm ointments are available at most drug stores, however, you can also steep lemon balm leaves in hot water, allow to cool and then dab it onto your cold sore throughout the day. While you’re at it, pick off a leaf or two and toss it in your NutriBlast. This herb is a member of the mint family and has also been shown to promote restful sleep, ease digestive discomfort, and reduce anxiety.
- Feeling a cold sore coming? Dab a bit of oil of oregano on the area before it surfaces. The oil of this staple Mediterranean herb has been shown to kill unwanted bacteria, yeast, parasites, fungus and viruses. Its benefits also include aiding digestion, providing menstrual relief, combatting the cold and flu, and proving protection against age-related disorders.
- Green tea’s potent antioxidants, EGCG, contain antiviral properties that can reduce the multiplication of the herpes virus. Brew a cup, chill and add to your Blast.
- The miraculous reishi mushroom has long been used to help boost the immune system. This fungus has also been found to prevent the spread of the herpes virus. Check your local health food store for whole dried mushrooms or you may also find it available in powdered form.
- While it will not prevent an outbreak, zinc may reduce the time a cold sore is present. This mineral has long been used to help heal wounds. We now know that it may help kill the cold sore virus, as well. Foods rich in zinc include sesame and pumpkin seeds, oats, spinach, crimini and shitake mushrooms, green peas, asparagus, and Swiss chard.
- Raw honey contains antiviral compounds that, when applied topically, might help treat a cold sore. Why not add a bit to your Blast, too?
- Choose fresh, whole foods vs. processed ingredients. Antioxidant-rich foods promote a healthy immune system and skin while antioxidant-depleting junk food leaves you susceptible to any type of viral or bacterial attack. Cruciferous and colorful veggies, vibrant fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes should be the main staples of your diet.