I’m crowning the berry the king of the cold-fighting fruit.
Y’all know my diet consists of mainly animal flesh, eggs, veggies and fruit. Sure, I’ll throw in a few slices of sprouted wheat toast with almond butter in the mornings, and I’m no stranger to a steaming pot of black coffee, but my staples are consistent.
I dig all fruit, but it’s not all created equal, nutritionally. Berries reign supreme. From mercola.com:
Berries are among the best fruits on the planet. Not only do they taste great, but they are densely packed with a variety of potent phytochemicals that can do wonders to normalize and improve health. They are also high in fiber and relatively low in sugar, so they won’t stimulate severe insulin swings if eaten in moderation.
It blows my mind that a lower sugar food can produce such intense sweetness. Take the strawberry. A cup contains just 7 grams of sugar, 47 calories and insane amount of vitamin C.
I’m on the road in San Francisco as we speak. I’ve recently overheard my colleagues talking about getting colds. “I’ve been shaking too many hands,” one of them said. They are reaching for a product called “Emergen-C.” From their website:
Emergen-C Old School! Our original formula and still our best seller, featuring essential nutrients, including 1,000 mg of vitamin C and other immune supporting antioxidants zinc and manganese, 7 B vitamins to enhance energy naturally, and electrolytes to replenish post-workout
Hmmm, this sounds a lot like the nutritional profile of a berry. From besthealthmag.ca:
One serving of strawberries contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C—about half of your daily requirement,” Edwards says. “Double a serving to one cup and get 100 percent.” Vitamin C is a well-known immunity booster, as well as a powerful, fast-working antioxidant.
Taking massive amounts of vitamin C, particularly in the form of a “flavor improved raspberry fizzy drink,” isn’t going to stop you from picking up that cold. From the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews:
Vitamin C has been widely sold and used as both a preventive and therapeutic agent.
This review is restricted to placebo-controlled trials testing 0.2 g per day or more of vitamin C. Regular ingestion of vitamin C had no effect on common cold incidence in the ordinary population.
I get it, a lozenge, powder or pill is a convenient shortcut, but a basket of blueberries from your local grocery store isn’t exactly a giant undertaking. More importantly, you’ll be doing a lot more for your immune system by ingesting reasonable amounts of vitamin C from your foods instead of mega-dosing on supplements once in a while. From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
…recent scientific evidence indicates that an increased intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataract, probably through antioxidant mechanisms…The totality of the reviewed data suggests that an intake of 90–100 mg vitamin C/d is required for optimum reduction of chronic disease risk in nonsmoking men and women.
I don’t need to sell you on the flavor of a bowl of mixed berries, right? I’ve never met a man or woman who hates berries, but if you’re that one out there, throw a few handfuls in a smoothie with some frozen pineapple and an orange and you won’t even notice the taste.
If you’re the type who gets colds when you travel for business, I have a challenge for you. On your next trip, snack on berries on the plane, in your hotel and throughout your stay. I’m betting you return healthy, even if you’re shaking hands.
If I’m wrong, you know where to find me.