Want to boost immunity? Then ensure your daily dose of vitamin C & Zinc

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Nutritious Food
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COVID-19 has spiked the need for immunity boosters and vitamin C, zinc are the two nutrients that are crucial for this. Adding these two nutrients to your diet can help your body to fight the coronavirus and support a speedy recovery. 

Even though vitamin C and zinc supplements are easily available in the market, the best and the safest way to get these two nutrients is through our daily diet. There are several food items that are rich in vitamin C and zinc and can help to meet Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of a person. 

But to ensure that our body is absorbing these nutrients properly we should consume them properly and here in this article, we will guide you on how to get the maximum amount of nutrients from your diet.

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid, which is most commonly known as vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient. This means that vitamin C first dissolves in water and then it is transported to different parts of the body. However, our body does not store this vitamin, so it is crucial to take it daily from the food.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can fight disease-causing harmful free radicals. It plays a key role in controlling infections and healing wounds. Further, the nutrient is involved in numerous metabolic reactions in the body and is needed to make fibrous protein in connective tissue (called collagen) that is weaved throughout various systems in the body.

Recommended daily intake

Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, or some other severe health issues so it is important to understand and follow a recommended daily dose of the nutrient. 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin C for men above 19 years is 90 mg and for women is 75 mg daily. During pregnancy and breastfeeding the daily need increases to 85 mg and 120 mg respectively. Smokers are advised to take an extra 35 mg of this vitamin as smoking can deplete vitamin C levels in the body.

One should always remember that if vitamin C is present in the body in excess, it switches roles and acts as a tissue-damaging pro-oxidant instead of an antioxidant. This can even increase the risk of kidney stones.

Best way to take vitamin C

Several studies have shown that our body’s capacity to absorb vitamin C decreases by 50 percent when we take more than 1000 mg of this nutrient in a day. All the extra amount of vitamin is discharged from the body through urine.

Try to eat fruits that are ripe as they contain the maximum amount of vitamin C. It is advised to take vitamin C-rich food in the raw form as heat and light can destroy the amount of vitamin. Cooking vitamin C-rich food for a long time at a high temperature can break down the vitamin. 

Zinc

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that’s essential for good health. It is a key nutrient required to activate more than 300 enzymes in the body that helps to carry out different functions. 

The mineral majorly helps in DNA creation, cell growth, protein building, healing damaged tissue, and strengthening the immune system. Taking a sufficient amount of zinc is particularly important during times of rapid growth, such as childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.

As our body doesn’t store zinc, we need to eat enough every day to ensure that we are meeting our daily requirements.

Recommended daily dose of zinc

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc in men above 19 years is 11 mg a day and for women, it is 8 mg. During pregnancy and lactation, the requirement of zinc slightly increases. Pregnancy and breastfeeding women must take slightly more at 11 mg and 12 mg of zinc respectively. 

However, taking high amounts of zinc might cause fever, coughing, stomach pain, fatigue, and many other problems. Consuming more than 100 mg of supplemental zinc daily for 10 or more years increases the risk of prostate cancer. Up to 40 mg of zinc is considered safe for consumption.

The right way to take zinc

To ensure maximum absorption of zinc from diet add different varieties of food like meat, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate and others. Our body readily absorbs the nutrient from animal sources of foods as compared to plant sources. Also, take zinc in a smaller dose to absorb it more efficiently. Pairing zinc-rich food with protein also increases the chances of absorption.

Related: COVID-19; Make your lungs stronger with these 10 foods


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