Can vitamin C really keep colds away?
The common cold is definitely a nemesis as the new year rolls around—research reveals that adults catch two to four colds each year, while children can get hit with colds about six to 10 times, and up to 12 times for school-age children!
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, takes center stage as a defender of cell health and immunity. It’s one of the major antioxidants, which means it can defend your cells against damage. The old-school cornerstone symptom of vitamin C deficiency is bleeding gums, however recent research has shown that lack of this water-soluble nutrient can show its face in a variety of ways, such as fatigue, lack of well-being and poor concentration. Let’s face it—it’s no fun to be deficient in this nutrient.
Vitamin C may help, although probably not hinder, the common cold. Recent research in The Journal of International Medical Research revealed that vitamin C can reduce the length and severity of the common cold. The catch is that high doses (over 200 mg a day) were effective. The recommended daily dose of vitamin C ranges from 15 mg a day for infants and toddlers to 75 mg a day for teens; for adults, it’s 75 to 90 mg a day.
So, it can’t hurt to add more vitamin C-rich foods every day: citrus fruits—such as oranges, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, limes, lemons, kiwi, strawberries and guavas; and veggies—like red peppers and potatoes.
Since vitamin C is water-soluble, your body quickly disposes of it in urine, so there’s not a lot of fear of overdoing this nutrient.
Remember, the best cold-reducing remedy is hand-washing. Rubbing hands together with soap and water regularly during the day can keep these tiny germs at bay. (Skip the antibacterial soaps as they cannot get those virus particles off the hands like the action of hand-washing does!)
Why can’t I give my child dairy when she has a stomach bug?
’Tis the flu season. With sneezes and coughs filling your child’s space, catching a flu bug is almost inevitable. These microscopic invaders not only increase mucus production (aka runny noses), fever, aches, vomiting and diarrhea, but they also affect the intestines. The lining of the small intestine is disrupted, which causes temporary lactose intolerance. Thus, your child’s body needs a break from lactose products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and butter. Allow at least 24 hours after fever, vomiting and diarrhea have ceased before offering dairy products so the small intestine can heal.
If there is vomiting and diarrhea, encourage sipping small amounts of water regularly, and try clear liquids like broth, apple juice or ice pops. After eight hours without symptoms, your child can add low-fat and low-fiber foods until gut function gets back to normal.