Zinc has been demonstrated in several studies to reduce both the duration and severity of cold symptoms. Vitamin C may also be helpful in boosting your immune system. Both of these nutrients can be consumed in food, however most people are somewhat deficient in both zinc and vitamin C.
Food sources of Zinc in order of highest to lowest concentration: Oysters (raw), beef tenderloin (grass-fed), lamb loin, mussels (cooked), pumpkin seeds (dry roasted), lentils and chickpeas/ garbanzo beans, shiitake mushrooms (cooked), yogurt (whole, low fat, fat free), miso, shrimp, sardines with bones, green peas (cooked), cashews (dry roasted), spinach (cooked or raw), tahini/ sesame seed butter.
Food sources of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) in order of highest to lowest concentration: Red sweet peppers (cooked or raw), broccoli (cooked or raw), strawberries, brussel sprouts (cooked or raw), papaya, mango, orange, cauliflower (cooked or raw), kale (cooked or raw), pak choi/ chinese cabbage (cooked or raw), lemon juice.
If you supplement with Zinc and/ or Vitamin C, be aware that zinc may cause stomach upset if taken on an empty stomach. This discomfort may be increased if taken with Vitamin C. This can be remedied by taking both supplements with food. If it is vitamin C that it causing the discomfort, a “buffered” formula would be recommended.
While vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron supplements, zinc absorption can be inhibited by both calcium and iron. Therefore, if you are also on iron supplements, your doctor may recommend that you take those with vitamin C and consume zinc at a different time.
Here’s to starting 2016 in a healthy fashion!