Yogurt has certain properties that may help treat viruses, such as the one that causes shingles. It is one of several foods that may be beneficial for a shingles attack.

Shingles involve painful skin rashes that may cause headaches, fever, and an upset stomach. The varicella-zoster virus can cause both chickenpox and shingles. Anyone can have shingles if they have had chickenpox.

This article explores why yogurt is good for shingles, what shingles are, other beneficial foods for shingles, and foods to avoid when a person has shingles. We also look at recipes and meal ideas for shingles and the outlook for the condition.

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Yogurt contains probiotics and the amino acid lysine, also known as L-lysine. These ingredients promote several bodily functions and help support the immune system.


Research from 2021 states that probiotics, such as yogurt, can improve the immune system and may reduce the length and severity of certain illnesses such as shingles. Although they cannot cure diseases, they may make them more manageable.

The gastrointestinal microbiome plays an important role in regulating immunity and defending the body against viruses. When something disrupts the balance between the microbiome and the immune system, the body may not be able to defend against viruses effectively. Probiotics are live bacteria that may help improve the balance of the microbiome.

The researchers from the 2021 study do not fully understand the other ways that probiotics cause antiviral activity. They suggest probiotics may affect viral immunity in various ways, including improving the mucosal barrier function, which stops viral particles from crossing the barrier.


Lysine is an amino acid, which many people refer to as the building block of protein, as a person’s body requires them to form this important macronutrient.

Although more research is necessary to determine whether lysine helps treat shingles, it may help strengthen the immune system in general, which can help the body protect itself against viruses, such as the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles.

Shingles is a common disease, and about 1 in 3 people will get it. Individuals over the age of 50 years should speak with their doctor to receive a shingles vaccine, as their risk of shingles increases with age.

Symptoms of shingles include:

  • a blistering rash that develops on one side of the body, usually around the waist and on the face
  • itching
  • chills
  • a fever
  • headaches
  • a shooting or burning pain
  • an upset stomach

Shingles are not typically contagious, although people can spread the disease while their rash is in the blister phase. The rash usually scabs over in 7–10 days, and the disease typically clears within 4 weeks.

The blisters in a shingles rash rarely spread across the entire body — this is more likely in people with weaker immune systems. If this happens, a person should seek emergency medical attention, as the shingles can be life threatening.

Certain foods may be beneficial for people with shingles. These may include complex carbohydrates, which can reduce inflammation and improve overall health.

Complex carbohydrate foods include:

To support the immune system, a person may also benefit from foods or supplements rich in the following nutrients:

Read on for other remedies for shingles.

A person with shingles should avoid foods that impair the functioning of the immune system. These may include highly processed foods that are high in sugar and salt, including:

  • deep-fried foods
  • chips
  • cakes and cookies
  • sugary sodas and energy drinks
  • low fiber, high fat white bread

Additionally, high glycemic index foods can increase inflammation. These foods include:

  • white bread and rice
  • baked goods
  • sweets
  • sugary cereals
  • ice cream
  • sugary drinks

Keep reading what other foods are a high glycemic index.

A mixture of the following foods may help improve the symptoms of shingles, such as:

  • nutrient-rich foods, such as yogurt and mixed fruit
  • vitamin-rich meats, fish, and leafy green vegetables
  • healthy fats such as avocado
  • protein-rich foods such as eggs

During a shingles attack, a person should avoid sugary and fatty foods. Examples of recipes include the below.

Vitamin-rich smoothie


  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1 orange, peeled, sliced
  • 1 mango, peeled, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 225 grams (g) of ice


  • Place the orange juice, orange, mango, and carrots in a blender or food processor.
  • Blend the ingredients.
  • Add in the ice and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Kale with chana & coconut


  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 heaped teaspoons (tsp) of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 200 g kale, large stalks removed, leaves finely shredded
  • 400 g can of chickpeas, drained
  • 250 milliliters of vegetable stock
  • 50 g of fresh coconut, grated
  • 4 heaped tbsp of Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tbsp of mango chutney

To serve

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp of freeze-dried curry leaves (optional)


  • Heat the butter and the onion in a deep frying pan, then soften gently for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the ginger and spices, and then fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the tomato purée.
  • Add the kale, chickpeas, stock, and two-thirds of the coconut, stir well, then cover the pan. Bring to a simmer and let the kale steam for 10 minutes until the vegetable becomes well wilted.
  • Mix in the yogurt and chutney, then season. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it to stay warm.
  • Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic, and curry leaves, if applicable, and sizzle for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic begins to turn golden. Spoon the oil, garlic, and curry leaves over the chickpeas and kale, then finish with the remaining coconut.

Egg-fried rice and salmon


  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of diced red onion
  • 2/3 cup of diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • one 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 4 cups of day-old cooked white rice (see recipe note)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 cups of cooked salmon, in large chunks
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the greens
  • cilantro or parsley for garnish


  • Dissolve the brown sugar in the soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok on medium-high heat. Add the diced red onion and bell pepper and saute for about 5 minutes until lightly browned about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the garlic and grated ginger.
  • Cook for another minute.
  • Add the beaten eggs and stir until just cooked. Add the cooked rice and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for around 2 more minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the peas, salmon, and green onions. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and remove from heat.

Shingles typically go away after 2–4 weeks.

Young people and children generally experience milder cases of shingles, while most adults only have shingles once in their lives.

Shingles are a skin rash that may cause other symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, and fever. The same virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles.

Eating yogurt may help a person with shingles, as it contains probiotics and lysine, which may help support the immune system to better fight the virus. Vitamin-rich foods and complex carbohydrates may also improve the immune system, and a nutritious diet can be beneficial against shingles.