Food, Covid-19, Wellness

Vitamin C vs. Viruses: Myths and Facts

Please note that this article is not suggesting that vitamin C can prevent or cure coronavirus. As of the time of writing, there is no known cure for COVID-19.

Your body’s best line of defense is a strong immune system: the stronger your immune system is, the better equipped your body will be to fight off disease.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build a stronger immune response, and one of them is via food rich with nutrients.

Can Vitamin C, one of the most popular immunity-boosting nutrients, actually help prevent or cure viruses? How does it work and does your immune system actually need it? And if it does, where can you get more of it?

In this article, we’re is going to break it all down.

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a key nutrient that your body needs in order to stay healthy. And because it’s water-soluble, your body isn’t able to store it, which means that you have to keep getting more and more of it each day.

Vitamin C plays a number of crucial roles. It helps your body produce more neurotransmitters, L-carnitine, and collagen; it also metabolizes proteins, and it can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

And because vitamin C supports your immune system by enhancing a variety of cellular functions, your body needs it now more than ever.

Can vitamin C help with coronavirus, though?

Reports have been coming in of hospitals turning to “high dose intravenous vitamin C” to help fight the coronavirus.

A 2019 review, meanwhile, showed that high dose vitamin C treatment could reduce the length of time a person spends in intensive care. With ICU stats where coronavirus is concerned not looking too great, this is certainly worth acknowledging.

At the moment, though, there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin C improves your recovery time if you contract coronavirus, and experts have not suggested that hospitals should implement it as part of their treatment plan.

However, what we do know is that vitamin C boosts your immune system, and when a person contract coronavirus (or any other kind of virus), a stronger immune system is always better than a weaker one. It primes your multi-level defense network and gets you ready to tackle those nasty pathogens that are ready to do so much damage.

As such, if you’re healthy and your immune system is strong, your chances of contracting a milder version of coronavirus increases. Your nutritional status also improves your chances of beating coronavirus, and this is something vitamin C can help with.

What are the best food sources of vitamin C?

🍋 Lemons

Lemons have been hitting the headlines recently after a few reports claimed that they could “cure” coronavirus.

Lemon juice definitely can’t cure this virus. But the juice is so rich in vitamin C that it works as a remarkable antioxidant that gives your immune system a much-needed boost, which is always great.

You can add lemon juice to your cup of herbal tea, or you could add it to a glass of water and drink it in the morning. That way, it also gets the chance to flush nasty toxins out of your system that have built up the night before.

Don’t forget to stack up on limes, too.

🍓 Strawberries

I don’t know about you, but strawberries are synonymous with summer for me. There’s something so juicy, so wholesome, and so fresh about them that just makes me feel summery.

Strawberries have a very rich nutritional makeup: as well as vitamin C; they’re also loaded with folate, manganese, and flavonoids.

Strawberries are great by themselves but you can also pair them up with ice cream. Go on — you’re allowed to be a bit extra during these strange times. 😉

🍊 Oranges

Another zesty fruit, oranges are one of the tastiest sources of vitamin C. You can eat them by themselves, but I always like to add them to a fruit salad.

🥝 Kiwis

The kiwi fruit contains around 71 mg of vitamin C. It’s been proven to bolster your immune system, and it can also reduce your blood platelet stickiness, which is really cool.

You can just eat kiwis raw, but if you want to get creative, here are some ideas.

🥦 Broccoli

Broccoli is a marvelous cruciferous vegetable that boosts your immunity while also reducing oxidative stress  cruciferous super crucial when there’s a horrible new virus on the loose.

Broccoli is great when boiled and added to a variety of simple dishes. For example, you could easily pair it up with some soy meat, potatoes, and carrots. Mhmm.

🍈 Brussels sprouts

Why not double down on your greens by combining broccoli with sprouts?

Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are stuffed with vitamin C. They’re also rich in other nutrients and minerals, including potassium, vitamin K, and fiber.

And despite what people tell you, they’re not just for Christmas.

What else can I do to support my immune system?

Two things: good diet and as little stress as possible. Check out our article about reducing stress during self-isolation.

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Final thoughts

Now is the time — more than ever — to double down on your fruit and veg intake. Get as many greens into your diet as possible, don’t skip the fruit, and make sure that you look after yourself mentally and physically.

And when this pandemic is over, my advice is that you stick to your new dietary habits and keep on building up an awesome nutritional status!


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About Will Titterington

Will is a writer who's always looking for ways to live more sustainably. He’d probably like to build his own house one day but one step at a time — he’s only just learned how to change a lightbulb.