With the change of the seasons and the weather, our body is put under a lot of stress and when we endure feeling run down, the dreaded common cold is often not far behind. When the first symptoms occur, do you usually go to your GP or to the pharmacy and get numerous subscribed medicines that just mask symptoms? A prevention is always better than a cure,(even though the common cold has no cure) but whether you are suffering from a cold now or want to prevent the next one, we have some solid tips and guidelines for you to try.
1. Increase your Vitamin C intake:
1000 to 2000 milligrams of Vitamin C will definitely help your body fight off the common cold. In many cases the lack of Vitamin C is one of the reasons you get sick in first place because you may have an impaired or inefficient immune system. If you are in a stressful working environment, manual labor job or you do a lot of exercise, Vitamin C should be an essential part of your diet. (250 to 1000 milligrams a day).
Contrary to popular belief, citrus fruits are not even in the top 10, with guava offering the most bang for your buck.
100 grams of guava has 228 milligrams
100 grams of pepper has 130 to 185 milligrams, depending on the color (yellow has most)
100 grams of thyme has 160 milligrams
100 grams of parsley has 133 milligrams
100 grams of raw curly kale has 120 milligrams
100 grams of kiwi has 93 milligrams
100 grams of broccoli has 89 milligrams
100 grams of Brussels sprouts has 75 milligrams
100 grams of Sarep mustard has 70 milligrams
100 grams of Garden Cress has 69 milligrams
100 grams of Papaya has 62 milligrams
100 grams of strawberry has 59 milligrams (interestingly the strawberry is the healthiest food from the rose family with 2- 10 times the amount of vitamins and minerals compared with others)
100 grams of citrus fruits has 35 to 53 milligrams (grapefruit has least, lemons and oranges most)
100 grams of cauliflower has 46 milligrams
Most people think that citrus fruits have the highest Vitamin C content, but as you can see this is definitely not the case. Of course, the amount is high enough to meet your recommended daily allowance – especially if you don’t like vegetables! Another old wive’s tale is that the apple is one of the healthiest fruits, but the nutrition facts tell another story – only 4,6 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100 grams. Furthermore, all the other vitamins and minerals in the nutrition of the apple are less than the kiwi, citrus fruits and the strawberry.
2. Increase your zinc intake
Zinc has numerous health benefits and is one of the most important minerals required by the human body, one of which concerns our topic – stopping the common cold after you first witness symptoms. The human body needs around 15 milligrams of zinc every day, which only a handful of people are knowingly doing.
Here are my top 10 choices for foods with high amount of zinc that you should add in your diet:
100 grams of oyster has between 16 and 90 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of wheat germ (toasted) has 16 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of Beef (lean, cooked) has 12 milligrams of Zinc
100 grams of pumpkin and squash seeds (raw) has 10 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of sesame seeds has 10 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of lamb (lean, cooked) has 8 milligrams of zinc)
100 grams of cashews (raw) has 5,8 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of oats has 4 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of mushrooms has 1,5 milligrams of zinc
100 grams of spinach has 1,5 milligrams of zinc
It is possible to get adverse effects if you exceed the recommended daily value for zinc as it can be dangerous to your health. The maximum value that you should consume is 25 milligrams per day. Even if your cold feels like it is still lingering when you increase your zinc intake, studies show that it can reduce the longevity of the illness up to 40%.
3. Increase your Vitamin D intake
Vitamin D is essential for the immune system. The daily value for the vitamin is 600 IU (international units). Here is a list of my top 10 choices:
100 grams of mushrooms (exposed to UV light*) has 1250 IU
100 grams of salmon has 650 IU
100 grams of mackerel has 400 IU
100 grams of tuna has 230 IU (canned tuna has 50 IU)
100 grams of sardines has 175 IU
100 grams of caviar has 120 IU
100 grams of raw milk has 50 IU
100 grams of egg has 80 IU
1 tsp of cod liver oil has 440 IU
The last and most important source of vitamin D is pure natural sunlight. The human body is designed to get the required daily amount of Vitamin D through the skin cells when exposed to the Sun’s rays and more exactly the ultraviolet B (UVB). The more skin you expose, the more Vitamin D your body produces and ‘stores’. 10 minutes of exposure can get you up to 10 000 IU. Remember that dark skin doesn’t essentially mean that you have burnt yourself but that your body has unneeded amount of Vitamin D.
*if not exposed more than one hour before the cooking begins, then the mushroom would have 8 IU per 100 grams.
4. Increase your Vitamin A intake
Another essential vitamin that must be in your diet and should not be overlooked. Along with boosting your immune system, vitamin A helps in many different aspects like clear vision and eye function, reducing hair loss, improving the quality of your skin and reducing or fighting infections in the body. The lack of vitamin A in the diet is one of the leading factors causing blindness in developing countries, it is a severe part of the malnourishment they endure. The reccomended daily intake of Vitamin A is 900 micrograms.
Here is a list of the best foods containing Vitamin A
100 grams of beef liver has 9,440 micrograms
100 grams of lamb liver has 7,450 micrograms
100 grams of sweet potato has 1000 micrograms
100 grams of kale has 680 micgrograms
100 grams of romaine lettuce has 400 micrograms
100 grams of carrots has 850 micrograms
100 grams of spinach has 450 micrograms
100 grams of apricots has 675 IU
100 grams of Broccoli has 567 IU
100 grams of butter has 680 micrograms
100 grams of cottage cheese has 330 micrograms
100 grams of eggs has 150 micrograms
100 grams of melon has 170 micrograms
100 grams of apricot has 95 micrograms
1 teaspoon of cod liver oil has 1350 micrograms
5. Increase your Vitamin B12 intake
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 is 6 micrograms. Up to 15 percent of the American population has a B12 deficiency which results in depression, poor memory and physical problems like losing balance and feelings of numbness in the limbs. B12 is very important for the immune system, proper daily intake will result in sustained energy throughout the day and can reduce feelings of depression. Vitamin B12 helps with the conversion and transportation of carbs, proteins and fats into fuel for your body in the bloodstream. This is why many times when you get sick, you get a feeling of depression and fatigue just before the cold – this can be due to a lack of Vitamin b12.
100 grams of shefflish (clams, mussels, oysters) has 98,9 micrograms
100 grams of liver has 85,7 micrograms
100 grams of fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines) has 19 micrograms
100 grams of king crab has 11,5 micrograms
100 grams of beef steak has 7,5 micrograms
100 grams of tofu has 2,4 micrograms
100 grams of cooked turkey has 1 microgram
100 grams of cottage cheese has 3,1 micrograms
100 grams of eggs has 1,1 micrograms
100 grams of milk has 0,6 micrograms
6. Increase your selenium intake
Selenium is the last key element for a strong immune system. This mineral boosts the immune system by preventing numerous dangerous diseases and reducing free radical damage. The recommended daily value is 55 micrograms. A handful of Brazil nuts is more than enough for the average person.
See below for a list of foods rich in Selenium
100 grams of Brazil Nuts has 544 micrograms per serving
100 grams of tuna has 92 micrograms (canned tuna has 70 micrograms)
100 grams of halibut has 47 micrograms
100 grams of sardines has 45 micrograms
100 grams of ham has 42 micrograms
100 grams of shrimp has 40 micrograms
100 grams of beef steak has 33 micrograms
100 grams of turkey has 31 micrograms
100 grams of beef liver has 30 micgrograms
100 grams of cooked pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, etc.) has 27 micro grams
100 grams of chicken has 22 micrograms
100 grams of cottage cheese has 20 micrograms
100 grams of brown, long-grain, cooked rice has 20 micgrograms
100 grams of egg has 15 micrograms
100 grams of whole-wheat bread had 13 micgrograms
100 grams of oatmeal has 13 micgrograms
100 grams spinach has 11 grams
7. Allow yourself proper rest and recovery periods
My last advice is to increase the amount of sleep and reduce unnecessary stress levels throughout the day. The body recovers when the body is sleeping but only if you get quality sleep and have a good diet. The minimum amount that you must sleep per day is 7 to 8 hours. Less than this can create havoc on your well being and immune system.
High stress levels very often result in crisis in the body and eventually lead to illness. Finding a good hobby or past time is something that is we should all strive for due to the therapeutic benefits, it is also something that will reduce the stress in your life. Don’t try to reduce tiredness or anxiety by consuming alcohol – it can only worsen the situation. Of course, one beer or a glass of wine can always help but don’t exceed this daily dose. High amounts of hard liquor consumption reduces the immunity of your body and taxes your internal organs.
As a CEO of vambos.com (the biggest amateur organization for sport events, based in Europe and on 6 continents), that doesn’t get a lot of good quality sleep and practices sports almost every day, I would suggest you to follow those seven steps. I have endured a lot of colds and injuries throughout the years but since I started following those steps, my physical state is probably its highest peak. Even with intermittent fasting (16 hours of non-eating and 8 hours of eating) I still get to the point that I reach the needed amount of nutrition throughout the day. Expect more detailed articles about the importance of each of the seven elements I shared in the article and share your thoughts about the topic in the comment section.
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