What Not to Eat When You Have Shingles

Ask a Doctor

I’ve been out of work for three days already, and today I was just diagnosed with shingles. I’ve got a treatment regimen with medication from the doctor, but I need to go back to work. I don’t get paid sick leave. What else can I do to get rid of shingles fast? For instance, is there a special diet? What are foods to avoid with shingles?

Doctor's Response

Shingles is caused by a type of herpes virus. Patients with shingles infection or lesions should avoid excess arginine (an amino acid) in their diet.

Food sources of arginine to avoid include nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, soybeans and tofu, gelatin, canned tuna, chicken, egg, whole grain wheat flour, raw garlic and onion, and chocolate syrup.

A healthy immune system is important in fighting the shingles virus, and that means a healthy, balanced diet plays a role. Avoid unhealthy foods with low nutrition content including fast foods, fried foods, processed foods, foods high in saturated fat, alcohol, foods high in sugar, and foods made with white flour.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Griffith , RS, DC DeLong and JD Nelson. Relation of arginine-lysine antagonism to herpes simplex growth in tissue culture. 1981. Chemotherapy Journal. Updated: Nov 21, 2018

USDA Food Composition Databases . L-arginine. Updated: Nov 21, 2018.