Does Vitamin C Cure Colds?
I make a point of supporting students with a passion for nutrition. From time to time, I’ll feature student guest posts. This post is written by Lindsay Kastrau, #RD2B and a student at Ryerson University. Check out her gorgeous photography on her Instagram account!
With winter just around the corner, (does it seem early this year?!?) some of us might already be thinking about how to escape it..maybe heading south to get a little Vitamin Sea?! . Well, reality is, Canadian winters hit hard and so does the spread of the common cold. At this time of year, I recommend you head to the fridge to get in lots of that Vitamin C goodness! (I know, not as exciting as a sunny beach).
Citrus fruit like juicy grapefruit are rich in Vitamin C which plays a role in:
quicker wound healing
strong immune system
increased iron absorption from plant-based foods
Sorry...Vitamin C Doesn't Cure Colds.
While Vitamin C isn't proven to prevent you from getting a cold, and unfortunately it won’t cure the virus once you’re sick, higher doses with supplements might help to reduce the severity of a cold so you don’t have to buy stocks in tissues.
What's that look like?
For basic health, it's recommended that men get 90mg/day and women consume 75mg/day, which can easily be achieved with a well-balanced diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables. One medium-ish red grapefruit has about 80mg.
But when it comes to reducing severity of colds, some research suggests that regular supplements at higher doses (1-2 grams), broken up over the day, before you get your cold or at the start of your cold (more research is needed), might help.
While eating a grapefruit won't help you skip the sniffles, it does contribute vitamin C for the health benefits listed above. And it's darn delicious. So to me, it's a must have during the winter months!
Five Ways To Love Grapefruit
1. Straight up -- just peel and eat.
2. Cut in half, topped with a sprinkle of brown sugar and broiled.
3. Cut into sections and served on a scoop of cottage cheese.
4. On top of a leafy green salad -- especially tasty with arugula and avocado!
5. Juiced and added to sparkling water for a fizzy, tangy refreshing drink.
Canadian Nutrient File v.2015
Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function . Nutrients. (2017)
Hemilä H. Vitamin C and Infections . Nutrients. (2017)
Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2013)