This is a guest post by Susan Russ of Food Blogga and Fit Fare.
Since it’s February 1st, there’s a good chance that you either have a cold or are tired of the cold. You’re not alone. February is prime season for colds and flu as well as frigid, snowy weather in many parts of the country. Maybe you can’t jet to sultry Hawaii, but you can enjoy a little sunshine in your diet. Fortunately January through April is peak season for all types of citrus, including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and kumquats. These fruits are not only bursting with juicy flavor, but they’re also packed with vitamin C …
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin needed to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It aids in the body’s absorption of iron and is an effective antioxidant, mopping up free radicals in the body that could lead to cancer.
Vitamin C intake has been touted as a simple way to prevent everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease and cataracts. It can even be found in facial creams to prevent wrinkles.
Unfortunately, there is virtually no hard scientific evidence to prove such beneficial health claims. According to MayoClinic.com, the only condition that vitamin C has been proven to treat effectively is scurvy, which is caused from vitamin C deficiency.
As for treating that cold you’re suffering from, sorry, but over 30 clinical trials showed no proof that taking vitamin C prevents colds.
There is hope, however: though more research is needed, early evidence from one study shows that a high dose of vitamin C taken immediately at the onset of symptoms may shorten a cold’s duration. Other studies found that taking vitamin C after the onset of a cold may lessen the intensity of symptoms. So don’t skip that morning OJ just yet.
Regardless of their ability to fight colds, vitamin C-rich foods are highly nutritious. The US recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for women is 75 mg/day and 90/mg/day for men. 2000 mg/day is considered the tolerable upper limit for both sexes.
That’s easy to achieve, especially in the wintertime. In addition to citrus, apples, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, mustard greens, potatoes, and spinach are all high in vitamin C. Fortified breads, cereals, and juices are also good sources.
Even though eating citrus and taking your vitamin C supplements may not prevent a cold, it will provide your body with powerful health-promoting antioxidants and leave you feeling a little sunnier. That’s always a good thing on a gray winter day.
Here are some vitamin C-rich recipes for you to try:
* These recipes call for just 2 teaspoons of butter, substitute dairy-free margarine for the butter with no compromise and to easily make these dishes dairy-free.
Susan Russo writes for Fit Fare and her own website, Food Blogga. Via beautiful photography (such as those above!) and health-oriented posts, she shares numerous recipes with the foodie community.