Vitamin C supplementation may shorten the duration of colds, research shows.
Analysing two randomized trials, scientists from the University of Helsinki, Finland, found that compared to placebo, 8g of vitamin C administered on the first day of the cold shortened its duration by an average 19 %, while the second study showed taking 6g of vitamin C a day shortened colds by 17 %.
“Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective,” said head researcher Dr Harri Hemilä.
Research also shows vitamin C may also be helpful in supporting immunity, protecting cells from free radical damage and cardiovascular and chronic disease, promoting muscle repair and generally contributing to improved health.
Nutritional expert Vanessa Ascencao shares the following tips for the winter season:
- Increase intake of vitamin C, B, D, zinc and echinacea to help boost the immune system and fight illness.
- If you have a cold, drink plenty of hot water with lemon and honey, green tea or chicken soup to help relieve congestion and dehydration.
- Increase intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.
- Increase intake of good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, seeds and nuts.
- Take a good probiotic to help keep your gut healthy. Also try sauerkraut, kefir and plain yogurt.
- Drink lots of water, exercise daily, manage stress and aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night.
- Avoid sugary food and drinks and heavily processed or oily food.