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Is vitamin C a magic remedy for the cold, flu or coronavirus?

Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins in our body. L-ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a chemical compound which necessary in our body for it to function properly. This substance is actively involved in many metabolic and biochemical processes e.g. iron absorption, collagen production (which helps bruises, wounds and fractures to heal faster).

Why do I need vitamin C?

It is a powerful antioxidant, and along with vitamin E – helps to protect us against free radicals. However, beware! because the human body cannot synthesize it by itself, vitamin C must be supplied from the outside - with the help of a proper diet (and in some cases supplementation), That’s the why you need to include vitamin C rich products in your diet.

Vitamin C is especially important for people who have problems with hypertension, suffer from diabetes, smoke cigarettes and those who have chronic stress, because the demand for vitamin C increases under stress.

Ladies – an important message for you – vitamin C also has anti- aging properties, not only because it’s an antioxidant but also because it helps in collagen synthesis. Without adequate amounts of vitamin C, the body can't form or store collagen, and collagen is crucial for the youthful look of our skin. Vitamin C can also indirectly help to lose some weight, as it’s beneficial for burning fat during exercise. Nutrition researchers from Arizona State University report that ‘People with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat than people with a deficiency in vitamin C’. That means people with a low levels of vitamin C will be more resistant to reduce fat. So, for those who do not get much physical activity, high doses of vitamin C can mimic some of the benefits of exercise. Of course, if you want to shed some weight, vitamin C is not a magic solution, but it can definitely help, especially because vitamin C rich products tend to also be low in fat and calories

But can vitamin C fight off cold ?

While some research shows that people who regularly take vitamin C supplements may have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms, boosting vitamin C doesn't protect you from catching the common cold. What is proven that it seals the blood vessels and thus reduces swelling when we have a running nose. It is true that vitamin C is critical for immune function, that’s why it cuts the risk of catching the cold. Unfortunately, many people remember to protect themselves against the common cold only when they start to get sick. Then they reach, among others for vitamin C. But the best way to keep your immune system strong is to always eat healthy, including vitamin C-rich products. Although vitamin C can't ward off the common cold, is still important to your health. It serves essential roles in the human body and supports a normal immune function

Can we cure COVID-19 with vitamin C?

As supplements vitamin C are disappearing from supermarket shelves (almost as quick as the toilet paper) it doesn’t mean that they can protect you from a COVID-19 infection. I should emphasise that there is no evidence that administration of high doses of vitamin C, whether orally or intravenously, would protect against infection or help treat COVID-19. A human study is currently underway at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University to investigate the effect of intravenous administration (in hospital) of giant doses of vitamin C on patients with COVID-19. The study is expected to end in September 2020. Supplementation of vitamin C may bring some benefits to immune system in some cases: people who are not eating properly (low fruit and veg intake), as well as for people which do regular and extensive training.

How much of vitamin C should I eat ? It's better to get vitamin C from food, because you also get other important nutrients. Eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day for general health, and you'll get enough vitamin C. The recommended daily target for adults is 75 milligrams for women, and 90 for men, although many experts believe it should be raised to 200 milligrams, the amount that saturates the body's tissues. One medium orange provides about 70 milligrams, and scurvy can be prevented with as little as 10 daily milligrams of vitamin C. In other words, you're probably not at risk of a true deficiency. At doses above 400 mg, vitamin C is excreted in the urine. A daily dose of 2,000 mg or more can cause nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and it may interfere with tests for blood sugar.

Where can I find my vitamin C?

It’s important to note that vitamin C in food is easily destroyed by heat, but since many good sources of the nutrient are fruits and vegetables, simply eating some of those foods raw is an easy way to reach the recommended intake.

It’s a myth that citrus fruits are the best sources of vitamin C.

Bell peppers (red colour has the most of vitamin C), kiwi, Brussel sprouts, kale are great sources of vitamin C. But you can find it also in: guava, papaya, broccoli, tomato, strawberries, cauliflower, pineapple, mango, lemons, lychees, rose hips and also herbs like parsley or thyme.

Remember that also fermentation can increase vitamin C, so serve sauerkraut or kimchi as a side dish.

When cooking you can still retain some vitamin C in your fruit and veggies, here you have few tips:

1. Keep skins on when possible.

2. Avoid continuous reheating of food.

3. Use a minimal amount of cooking liquid.

4. Choose steaming over boiling.

5. When you do boil, retain the liquid for a future use (like soups and stocks)

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