4D_Articles_Preparing for cold season with Vitamins and Minerals

Preparing for cold season with Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins B, C and D, as well as zinc may be helpful in boosting your immune system and fighting the illness in the same way they can help you get over a cold or flu.
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Article from Lindsay Martin, MS, RDN, LDN | 

As kids head back to school and adults are heading back into the office, life is getting back to a “normal” routine. But let’s be sure to armer up against all those colds, flu season and now all the different Covid-19 stands. There are several things we can do to help protect ourselves from getting Covid- 19 and colds and flus this season.  Because COVID-19 comes with cold and flu-like symptoms, Vitamins B, C and D, as well as zinc may be helpful in boosting your immune system and fighting the illness in the same way they can help you get over a cold or flu. Good nutrition can help fight off almost anything, but it does take good sleeping habits, a good night sleep 7-9 hours each night, regular exercise routines, and reduced stress to help keep your immune system at its best.

4D_Vitamin C

Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C.


Generally, vitamin C can help you fight a cold faster or ease your cold symptoms if you are taking it prior to getting sick. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help reduce inflammation—and lung inflammation is a severe symptom of COVID-19, which can lead to respiratory distress and even death. It doesn’t hurt to start increasing your vitamin C intake now. Try adding lemon to your water, or even add fruits and vegetables into snacks as much as possible. A great snack to consider would be bell peppers and hummus-- bell peppers are full of vitamin C and hummus (chickpeas) is a great source of zinc.

4D_Vitamin D

Natural sources of vitamin D: fresh salmon, caviar, cheese, mushrooms, tuna, eggs on gray stone background top view. Foods and products rich in vitamin D.


The primary function of vitamin D is to help your body maintain optimal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which you can get through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, or through foods like dairy.  Getting enough vitamin D can also protect you from respiratory infection.  Vitamin D supplementation significantly decreases the chance of respiratory tract infections, based on clinical studies published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics.

4D_B Complex Vitamins

Eggs are a great source of B-complex vitamins along with cheese, milk, fish, spinach, and meats.


Vitamin B6 is essential to keeping your immune system in top condition. Be sure to get enough vitamin B as a supplement, as part of your daily diet. You can easily get your daily intake from fortified cereals, eggs, cheese, milk, fish, spinach/ kale, and meats. 


Foods with zinc including nuts, seeds, red meat, and poultry.


Popping a zinc throat lozenge or taking an over-the-counter cold remedy with zinc in it (as a syrup or tablet) helps shorten the length of rhinovirus colds. Zinc also helps symptoms—nasal congestion, nasal drainage, sore throat, and cough. Zinc has also been found to help produce and activate T-cells (t-lymphocytes), which trigger the body to respond to infections, according to the NIH. Zinc helps the body heal by fighting off bacteria and viruses. It is required for growth, reproduction, metabolism, and blood clotting. Found in all body tissues, it acts as an antioxidant, blocking free radical damage and helping control the aging process. Furthermore, we need this mineral to help produce certain proteins and DNA, so it is essential to get enough each day to stay healthy and maintain a robust immune system. Many healthy foods contain enough zinc to meet the daily requirements, naturally. For a faster recovery, start taking zinc to treat your illness within the first 24 hours of symptoms. A proper dose of zinc is 75 mg, but beware: taking more than 150mg per day of zinc could cause zinc toxicity and have a negative impact on your immune system.

If you’re taking more than one zinc medication, check with your doctor first to prevent adverse reactions. Looking to get higher zinc sources in your diet?  Try making your own trail mix with nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds and cashews. This can be an excellent snack idea and easy as an on-the-go option. 

There are so many other things to consider as well to keep our immune systems at peak. Like staying hydrated helps to keep your immune system up and flushing out toxins our body no longer needs. Proper and regular hand washing helps keep those germs at bay. Use soap and warm water and sing “happy birthday” to know you’re washing long enough—that’s a trick I always tell my kids! Find ways to reduce stress. Let’s face it, stress is inevitable but coping with it is key—going for a walk, talking with a friend, and meditating are all ways we can reduce the stress in our lives. Also, get plenty of rest each night—7-9 hours of sleep is the recommendation which at least 4 of those hours being REM cycle sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines.

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