With the cold season in full swing, I am getting frequent questions on whether or not vitamin C is beneficial in both preventing colds and reducing the duration of cold symptoms.
The answer is Controversial.
According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, vitamin C may help immune functionality. Most of the evidence suggests that even in doses up to 1 gram/day, vitamin C does NOT prevent colds, but may reduce the duration of cold symptoms by less than a day. Dietary intake of Vitamin C has not been shown to affect the risk of getting a cold.
While all of that evidence may seem daunting, there is good news. Vitamin C, when in conjunction with other nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that are good for your body to remain healthy enough to fight that cold and/or virus head-on! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library suggests that intake of foods rich in Vitamin C, E, and Beta Carotene as part of a cardioprotective dietary pattern have been associated with decreased risk for coronary heart disease.
But how much should I be taking to be healthy?
For a female between the ages of 19-70: 60 mg is the dietary reference intake, and 2000 mg is the tolerable upper limit (meaning there is no need to go above that- it will be flushed from your system.) For men between the ages of 19-70: 75 mg/day is the dietary reference intake. You may be at risk for deficiency if you are a smoker, take oral contraceptives, are under chronic and physical stress, or consume alcohol.
In conclusion- it seems that Vitamin C may not prevent or help your cold entirely- its best to eat foods high in antioxidants as well as other nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that are good for your body to remain healthy enough to keep the cold or other flu viruses at bay.
For this week’s Meatless Monday post, I’ve included a recipe that is not only vitamin C packed, it also has fiber, iron, phytochemicals, and other vitamins and minerals- all healthy for your body.
Stuffed Mashed Sweet Tator Peppers:
adapted from Natural Health Mag.com
1 tbsp olive oil
4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow- you pick!)
1 medium sweet potato, diced
½ head of cauliflower, chopped
½ small onion, chopped finely
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp cardamom
1 large tomato, diced
⅓ roasted unsalted cashews, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
juice of ½ lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and spices. Cook until onion begins to soften.
2. Stir in lemon juice, ginger, sweet potato,cauliflower, tomato, and cashews. Reduce heat, cover and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes have softened. Mix in the cilantro and remove the pan from heat.
3. Slice caps off peppers about ½ inch from the stem. Retain the cap. Scrape the veins and seeds. Stuff the cavity of each pepper to the top with filling and place the caps on top.
4. Place peppers on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. To brown, use the broiler for the last 3 to 5 minutes. You can garnish these with feta cheese, or other garnish after removing them from the oven.
Enjoy and fight the good fight!