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The Benefits of Yoghurt in Shingles Recovery

By Apollo Pharmacy, Published on- 05 September 2023

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Shingles, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is a painful viral infection that affects nerve endings and causes a blistering rash. Effective management and recovery strategies are crucial to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. While antiviral medications, pain relievers, and topical creams are commonly used treatments, incorporating certain dietary choices can also aid in the recovery process. One such option is yoghurt. In this blog, we'll unravel the potential benefits of  yoghurt during shingles, shedding light on whether this creamy delight can truly contribute to a smoother recovery journey.

What is Shingles?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. This virus is the same one that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains in a dormant state within the body. However, in some cases, it can reactivate later in life and cause shingles.

When the varicella-zoster virus reactivates, it travels along the nerves to the skin, resulting in a painful rash. The rash typically appears in a band or a small area on one side of the body and may be accompanied by:

  • Itching
  • Burning sensations
  • Blistering

Potential Complications Associated with Shingles

While most cases of shingles resolve without any long-term complications, there are certain risks associated with the condition. Some of these complications include:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia: This is the most common complication of shingles and refers to persistent pain that lasts even after the rash has healed. It can significantly impact a person's quality of life.
  • Nervous System: Shingles affects the nervous system because it primarily affects the nerves where the rash appears. This can lead to severe pain, numbness, tingling, and sensitivity to touch in the affected area. In rare cases, shingles can also affect other cranial nerves, leading to complications such as facial paralysis or vision problems.
  • Bacterial skin infections: The blisters caused by shingles can become infected with bacteria, leading to additional symptoms and requiring medical treatment.
  • Eye complications: If shingles affect the eye area, it can result in eye infections and even vision loss if left untreated.

Exploring the Role of Nutrition in Shingles Recovery

By focusing on a  nutrient-rich diet, you can support your body's natural healing processes and potentially speed up your recovery from shingles.

However, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to ensure you're meeting your specific nutritional needs during this time.

The Healing Potential of Yoghurt in Shingles Recovery

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts found in certain foods like yoghurt and have a positive impact on gut health. They help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which is essential for overall well-being. Other benefits of yoghurt include:

  • Probiotics can also help regulate the immune system by promoting the growth of good bacteria in our gut.
  • Strengthens our body's defence against pathogens and enhances the functioning of our immune cells.
  • Yoghurt contains live cultures of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which have been associated with improved immune responses.
  • Studies have shown that probiotics can enhance the immune response by stimulating the production of antibodies and enhancing the activity of immune cells. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with shingles, as the condition is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus.
  • Yoghurt contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation associated with shingles. It can potentially alleviate symptoms such as pain and itchiness, providing much-needed relief during the recovery process.

Incorporating Yoghurt into a Shingles Recovery Diet

Aim for at least one serving of yoghurt per day to maximise its benefits. A serving size typically ranges from ½ to 1 cup, depending on the brand and type of yoghurt. Here are some tips on how to incorporate yoghurt during shingles into your meals and snacks for optimal benefits:

  • Breakfast options: Add a dollop of yoghurt to your morning oatmeal or cereal. You can also blend it into a smoothie for a refreshing start to your day.
  • Lunch and dinner ideas: Use yoghurt as a healthy substitute for high-calorie dressings or sauces in salads or as a marinade for grilled chicken or fish. It can also be used as a base for creamy soups.
  • Snack time: Enjoy yoghurt on its own as a snack, or mix it with fruits and nuts for added flavour and nutrition.

Additional foods that complement the benefits of yoghurt in shingles recovery include leafy greens, lean proteins, whole grains, and colourful fruits and vegetables. Remember to consult with a registered dietitian to personalise your shingles recovery diet plan.

Tips for Shingles Management and Recovery

Tips to manage symptoms of shingles include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or  ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe antiviral medications to speed up the healing process and decrease the severity of symptoms.
  • Applying a numbing cream or gel containing lidocaine can provide temporary relief from pain and itching.
  • Calamine lotion or cool compresses may also help soothe the affected area.
  • Engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and improve pain management.
  • Some individuals find acupuncture helpful in reducing pain associated with shingles. This traditional Chinese therapy involves thin needles being gently inserted into specific points on the body to stimulate natural pain-relieving mechanisms.

Measures to Avoid Complications & Accelerate Healing

Measures that can prevent complications and promote healing include:

  • Keep the affected area clean and dry to prevent infection.
  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and water, pat it dry, and avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing the blisters.
  • Cover the blisters with a sterile bandage or non-stick dressing to protect them from further irritation and infection.
  • Change the dressing regularly, keeping in mind to wash your hands before and after.
  • Stress can weaken your immune system and prolong the healing process. Engage in activities that help you relax, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help support your immune system.
  • Make sure you get enough restful sleep, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated.


To reap the benefits of yoghurt during shingles, opt for plain, unsweetened varieties without added sugars or artificial flavours. Enjoy it as a snack or incorporate it into smoothies or meals. As always, consult with your healthcare professional for personalised guidance and recommendations specific to your condition.

Just like yoghurt, you may explore other probiotics that may accelerate the recovery process.

Explore Probiotics


Q. Are there any guidelines for yoghurt consumption during shingles?

There are no specific guidelines regarding yoghurt consumption during shingles. However, it is generally safe to include yoghurt as part of a balanced diet, unless you have any specific dietary restrictions or allergies.

Q. Are there any other dietary considerations during shingles?

While yoghurt can be beneficial, it is also important to focus on overall nutrition during shingles. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can provide the essential nutrients needed for healing and recovery.

Q. Should I consult my doctor before consuming yoghurt during shingles?

It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Q. Can yoghurt help reduce pain and discomfort?

Some studies suggest that probiotics found in yoghurt may help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with shingles. However, more research is needed to establish a definitive link between yoghurt consumption and symptom relief.

Q. Is yoghurt beneficial during shingles?

While yoghurt cannot cure shingles, it can play a supportive role in managing the symptoms. Yoghurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut. A healthy gut microbiome contributes to a strong immune system, which is crucial for fighting off infections like shingles.


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