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Vitamin C-Rich Foods That Fight the Common Cold

The common cold is the most common infectious disease in the US and many other areas of the world.

Cold symptoms are triggered by hundreds of different viruses — not bacteria — and infection is typically spread by hand-to-hand contact between people, or by touching objects that harbor the pathogens.

Since colds are viral in nature, antibiotics are completely useless and should be avoided, unless your physician diagnoses a serious secondary bacterial infection. Using antibiotics when no bacterial pathogen is present simply contributes to the problem of antibiotic-resistant disease.

The key to preventing colds and recovering from them quickly is to maintain a strong immune system, which includes: optimizing your diet, avoiding sugar, optimizing your vitamin D level, getting enough sleep and exercise, managing your stress, and practicing good hand washing technique.

Just being exposed to a cold virus does not automatically mean you’ll catch a cold. If your immune system is operating at its peak, your body will be able to fend off the virus without ever getting sick, even if you’re exposed to it.

A number of foods, herbs, and supplements can be particularly helpful for promoting strong immune function1,2,3 which is the focus of this article.

Boost Your Immune Function with Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Some health experts, such as Dr. Ronald Hunninghake, believe vitamin C is one of the nutrients you need whenever something ails you, be it the common cold or cancer. Vitamin C is best known for its benefits for infectious diseases though.

A perfect example of the healing power of this antioxidant vitamin is the dramatic case of Allan Smith, who contracted a serious case of swine flu, and was brought back from the brink of death using a combination of IV and oral vitamin C.

Research4 published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013 found that regular supplementation with vitamin C had a “modest but consistent effect in reducing the duration of common cold symptoms.”

Endurance athletes who took vitamin C supplements also halved their risk for the common cold.

Kiwi fruits are exceptionally high in vitamin C, along with vitamin E, folate, polyphenols, and carotenoids, and research5 published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a kiwi-packed diet reduced the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections symptoms in older individuals.

Other foods high in vitamin C include: citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, papaya, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

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