Foods to Avoid During a Viral Infection
Updated: Jun 2
1. Arginine Containing Foods
The amino acid arginine is necessary for the replication of viruses (1). Thus, the first thing to do when combating viral spread is to avoid foods high in arginine. These include:
Nuts and seeds
Soybeans (unless they are fermented, such as miso) - soy is found in many processed foods!
Seaweed (including Spirulina)
Research continues to study the implication of sugar consumption on immune function. It has been shown to suppress neutrophil activity for up to 5 hours. Neutrophils are our first line of immune defense and are responsible for gobbling up bacteria and cells infected with viruses. So we may want to rethink giving our kiddos a Popsicle to help soothe that next sore throat (2, 4).
Need another reason to cut sugar out of your life? Vitamin C and glucose enter our cells through the same pathway. Sugar essentially clogs up our cells so that Vitamin C cannot get in. This becomes problematic when our white blood cells need to go to work to combat a virus - they need 50 times more Vitamin C than other cells (3). Additionally when you consume sugar, it creates inflammation (oxidation). Vitamin C has to go to work as an antioxidant to combat the inflammation, using up critical stores needed for our immune molecules to function optimally.
Dairy is extremely mucus forming. When the body is under attack during a viral invasion, it produces mucus as a means to trap the virus. With more severe respiratory infections that can occur with the new coronavirus, we want to avoid any external sources that may create additional mucus. Additionally, viruses thrive more readily in acidic environments. Dairy is very acid forming, causing the perfect environment for a virus to thrive.
Learn more about what foods to incorporate during a viral infection HERE.