Cold and flu season is upon us, and many people rely on vitamin C supplements during this time to keep themselves healthy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient; meaning our bodies don’t produce this vitamin on its own, therefore we need to consume enough daily. However, you don’t need supplements to reach the recommended daily amount, you can get all the vitamin C you need from food.
Why is Vitamin C important?
Vitamin C serves as a powerful antioxidant to protect infection-fighting white blood cells from free radicals. It is involved in the production of collagen which contributes to wound healing, it helps the body absorb iron from plant-based foods, and it also helps boost the immune system. In addition, many studies have shown that vitamin C helps prevent and treat certain types of cancer, as well as heart disease, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
Does Vitamin C prevent a cold?
No. Research has also shown that vitamin C does not prevent colds, but if taken at the onset of cold symptoms, vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold and make it less severe.
Vitamin C is water soluble and prolonged storage and cooking decreases the vitamin content, therefore it’s best to prepare food by steaming or microwaving to preserve the nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables provide the best source of vitamin C. Use the chart below to help add more of this vitamin to your day.
Content submitted by Janyce Gately MS, RD, LDN, CHWC, Registered Dietitian and Certified Health and Wellness Coach