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Vitamin C and Cold & Flu Season

Posted Oct 11 2010 5:30am
assorted stacked fruit
Photo by Lori Greig

Do you share keyboards, towels, bathrooms, cell phones? Do you have kids in elementary school?

It’s no wonder this time of year is prime time for catching the common cold or the flu! So what’s your plan of attack? Are you counting on vitamin C to be your cure all? The power of C often gets overstated when it comes to preventing and treating the common cold. Loading up vitamin C tabs once you’re sick isn’t a miracle cure. However, regular vitamin C intake is the key to stimulating the production of antibodies which can boost your body’s immune system and its ability to fight off infections of all kinds. You need about 75 mg of vitamin C every day and fruits and veggies are the optimal way to get it!

To get the vitamin C you need every day for good health:

  • Drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice.
  • Stash an orange in your backpack for a snack.
  • Load your salad with peppers and broccoli.
  • Make a strawberry and yogurt parfait.
  • Squeeze lemons or limes into your water bottle.

If you do catch the common cold, drink lots of fluids (100% fruit juice and plenty of H2O is great!), get plenty of rest, and inhale the steam from a hot bowl of chicken soup—really!

You can also keep moving to stay healthy during cold and flu season! It’s not quite clear just how exercise can boost your immune system but research shows that getting regular moderate-intensity activity may help to stave off the common cold. It may be because exercise flushes bacteria from the lungs or it may be that when active, antibodies are sent through the body at a quicker pace. This may let antibodies detect infection earlier than they would normally. Whatever the reason, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be active.

If you do have a cold with a fever, rest and wait for the fever to subside before gradually beginning to do moderate-intensity exercises again.

For more on cold prevention check out these articles:

Too Sick to Work?

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