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Last Updated on April 2, 2020

Why You Should Go For Vitamin D But Not Vitamin C To Prevent The Cold

Why You Should Go For Vitamin D But Not Vitamin C To Prevent The Cold

When it comes to vitamins, it can all be a bit confusing as to which ones help prevent which ailment. However, there are some vitamins we can all rely on to know their purpose and preventable abilities, such as vitamin C which is well known for being the best for supporting us through colds and flu. But is this entirely true? Is there a more effective vitamin that can help with preventing us from catching colds and flu?

If latest research is anything to go by, the answer is yes and it may be surprising to hear that it’s actually vitamin D. Our ideas of vitamin D are usually synonymous with bone health which is entirely true, but it has emerged that vitamin D has been vastly underestimated in its important role of improving our immune systems.

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Vitamin C vs. Vitamin D

While getting enough vitamin C is helpful towards preventing colds, we are led to believe that we need more of it to get better and improve immunity. The real truth is, we get plenty of vitamin C in our diets. Easily obtainable and common foods such as fruits (strawberries, melon, tomatoes and citrus fruits) and vegetables (green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts) all contain high levels of vitamin C so a balanced healthy diet will supply more than enough.

On top of that, vitamin C isn’t as effective at improving our immune systems as we are led to believe. While it can help towards fighting a cold, it actually makes little impact.

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Latest studies have shown a link between low vitamin D levels and higher cases of common respiratory infections. While it’s essential for bone health, vitamin D is multi-purposeful and is thought to be much better than vitamin C in its immunity role. A study was conducted involving 19,000 participants using data from a national health survey between 1988 and 1994. It showed 36% of those with low levels of vitamin D in their blood were more likely to report having a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with higher levels.

Although these studies are just coming through and more research needs to be done, there are more and more strong links between chances of catching colds and low levels of vitamin D.

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Getting Enough Vitamin D for Our Body

The problem is that vitamin D is much harder to produce in the body. With reduced exposure to sunlight in many countries especially in the winter, a large percentage of people have a vitamin D deficiency, therefore not getting the full benefits of what vitamin D can do for their immune systems.

This is why diet and supplements are key to getting the sufficient amount of vitamin D we need in order to help prevent colds and flu more efficiently.

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Foods such as egg yolks, canned tuna, liver, cod liver oil, fortified milk, and fortified cereals can give you a boost of vitamin D along with supplements ‒ and a dose of sunlight as vitamin D forms in our skin in response to the sun’s rays (just 10 minutes is enough). While upping your vitamin D intake may help towards preventing yourself from getting sick, a consistent daily intake is needed for it to have a successful effect.

Vitamin D and The Common Cold

While more and more research is pointing to increasing your vitamin D levels to fight cold and flu, it’s important to realize that it only helps to boost the immune system and isn’t a preventative measure in itself. Living a healthy lifestyle with a varied, healthy diet and regular exercise is needed to strengthen our immunity and to ward off the nasty bugs and viruses that get into our body.

The research is promising but it has its limits as to what the ideal level of vitamin D is for supporting immune system responses to infection. All they know is that making the conscious effort to increase depleting vitamin D levels is a must for overall health. So if you want to know how to prevent a cold this winter, reach for the vitamin D instead of the vitamin C and see if it makes a difference.

Featured photo credit: David Mao via unsplash.com

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Samantha Aloysius

Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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