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  • Writer's pictureWilson Bunton

The Benefits of Vitamin C During Cold & Flu Season


This year, we are certainly hoping for a milder flu season than last year. According to the CDC, flu vaccines prevented only 19% of flu infections this past year. Because flu vaccines are a combination of science and guesswork, it’s a good idea to increase your chances for avoiding the flu this year. So, while it’s still important to get your flu shot, you should also do your part to stay healthy this year, including taking some extra vitamins, like vitamin C.


What is Vitamin C and What Does it Do?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, helping protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage and blood vessels. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.


How Much Should I Consume?

The daily recommendations of vitamin C varies per age group, but in adults, the range is between 75-90 milligrams a day. Children should get between 15-45 mg. You can find vitamin C from various sources, including:

  • Orange, 1 small, 51 mg

  • Red pepper, 1 medium, 152 mg

  • Kale, 1 cup, 80 mg

  • Broccoli, 148 grams, 132 mg

  • Kiwi, 2 fruit, 137 mg

  • Papaya, 1 cup, 88 mg

  • Mango, 1 fruit, 122 mg

You should get most of your nutrients from food, but there are over-the-counter vitamin C supplements that you can take. Beginning any dietary supplement regimen could interfere with current medications you may be taking. As always, you should consult your physician, pharmacist and other health care providers before starting any supplemental routine.


What Else Can I Do to Boost My Immunity?

There are several things you can do this cold & flu season to help yourself. A good immune system leads to good health, so try a few of these strategies to boost your immune system:

  • Don’t smoke

  • Exercise daily

  • Drink alcohol in moderation

  • Get enough sleep

  • Keep your blood pressure under control

  • Wash your hands frequently


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