When it comes to preventing the common cold, many people believe large supplemental doses of Vitamin C will do the trick – not the case.
While it’s true getting appropriate amounts of Vitamin C is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system (women require 75mg/day and men require 90mg/day), a recent comprehensive review showed that vitamin C in amounts greater than 200 milligrams – that’s more than double our recommended daily requirements - did not have an effect in boosting the immune system and/or preventing the common cold (except perhaps in serious athletes).
With this information in mind, people should re-think popping large doses of supplemental vitamin C. If you feel compelled to take an extra supplemental dose, stick with 200 milligrams - certainly no more than 500. Also, consider how quickly your Vitamin C adds up from food:
1 red/yellow bell pepper = 280mg
1 cup cooked broccoli = 100 mg
1 orange = 70 mg
1 cup strawberries = 90 mg
On the other hand, exercise has a proven, powerful effect. A study published last year in The American Journal of Medicine showed that when unfit, sedentary people started briskly walking 45 minutes a day - five days a week, they caught fewer colds over a one-year period.
That's because each and every time you moderately exercise, the immune system starts functioning at a higher level - and remains elevated for about three hours - that's the body's first line of defense against bacteria, viruses and other invaders.
However, because this is not long lasting, it's important for people to regularly exercise. Bottom line: the absolute best way to boost your immune system is to get plenty of regular exercise, and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.