Anti-viral Foods

by Dr Sandra Cabot

My studies point to the fact that a diet rich in various types of natural plant foods is basically an anti-viral diet.

It is important to understand that your nutritional status greatly influences how your immune system will cope with any severe infection. If you are deficient in important nutrients, the severity of an infection will be greater and carry a higher risk of serious and potentially life threatening complications.

Many plants contain anti-viral compounds, but there has been little testing to confirm how many of these compounds exist in each plant and which viruses they kill. There is, however, laboratory evidence that indicates specific foods can block or kill viruses. Historical usage also counts; for instance, thyme and lemon have long been used to fight viral infections.

Overall, my studies point to the fact that a diet rich in various types of natural plant foods is basically an anti-viral diet. All the foods listed below have been identified as containing anti-viral compounds and many have been shown to improve immune and liver function.

If you want to reduce the risk of the HCV, the HBV and/or the HIV damaging your immune system and liver, use the foods recommended here on a regular basis. These foods will also help those infected with other viruses such as Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, glandular fever and herpes.

Some of my recommended foods, notably medicinal mushrooms and sea vegetables (seaweeds), are an acquired taste and I hope you will gradually begin to enjoy them. If a particular food does not agree with you, or if you simply don’t like the taste, you can either try it prepared in a different way, have smaller quantities mixed in with the foods you do like, or avoid it altogether because there is a wide variety of food with anti-viral activity.

I have endeavoured to list these foods in order of “immune importance,” but I have also considered the overall health value of the food. I am convinced that eating a wide range of the foods listed here, in as natural a state as possible, will help to reduce the severity of any chronic viral infection. It is important to note that I am not recommending that eating only one anti-viral food each day will help treat hepatitis, so don’t pick just one food you like and eat enormous quantities. A well balanced diet is always the best diet.

Any list of anti-viral foods would have to include –

• Citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes

• The onion family: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives which are high in sulfur

• Green leafy herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, basil, thyme and oregano

• Medicinal mushrooms

• Sea vegetables (seaweeds)

• The cabbage family which includes radishes

• The carrot family

• Coconut flesh, full cream coconut milk and virgin cold pressed coconut oil

• Tomatoes

• Whey

• Blackcurrants and their juice

• Tea

• Walnuts

• Pomegranates

• Flavonoid rich foods, such as citrus fruits and their white pith, and buckwheat

• Lignan rich foods, such as whole ground flaxseeds

• Highly coloured fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants; these are much more powerful if they are fresh and in season and have been ripened naturally