Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is without doubt the outstanding immune boosting nutrient. It is available in fresh fruit, as a supplement in tablet form, and to some extent in cooked vegetables, although over cooking can reduce the efficacy of vitamin C by up to 60%.
The body does not store or manufacture this important vitamin, therefore it is important to include plenty of foods containing vitamin C in a balanced diet, particularly if you have any chest infection symptoms. It is essential in helping wounds heal, improving bone density, maintaining connective tissues such as the skin and the walls of blood vessels and aids in the absorption of iron. People who are undernourished are more likely to be more susceptible to virus infections, and for most people, a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet which include many of the foods mentioned below will be an important factor in helping to maintain a healthy immune system.
Colds and flu which are viral illnesses as opposed to bacterial illnesses increase the need for vitamin C so grab some fruit which is high in vitamin C and even saturate your body with recommended supplements to get the maximum immunity to kill and reduce the infection. (Those with kidney problems should seek medical advice before taking vitamin C supplements) Fresh fruit containing this important vitamin:
Fruits that contain Vitamin C are Blackcurrants, Blackberries, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Oranges, Lemons, and limes, Kiwi fruit, Guava, Rosehip Strawberries, and Papaya. . The latest so called super fruit is the GoJi Berry. Pronounced “go-gee”, it is reputed to contain weight for weight more than one orange!
Fresh vegetables such as, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach, Cabbage, and Cauliflower are termed as cruciferous as members of the brassica family. Bok Choy, Kale and Watercress and all leafy greens, all of contain this essential nutrient.
The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for an adult is 60 milligrams per day, equivalent to one medium sized orange per day. This is based on the amount of vitamin C needed to prevent scurvy, the condition experienced by sailor’s pre 1795 when undertaking long voyages (cured by the addition of limes and oranges in their diets.)
Pregnant and lactating women are recommended as needing more. Dieticians recommend that the optimum intake is 500 mg per day. Smokers are particularly vulnerable to a vitamin C deficiency.
The role of vitamin C as a protection against various cancers and the common cold was analyzed by Dr. Linus Pauling and Dr. Paul Enstrom after a large survey in the US. They concluded that a supplemental intake of between 500- 1,000 mg per day showed positive reductions in mortality from these diseases.
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