Facts and Myths About Foods for Colds and Flu by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, February 21, 2013
It’s been a brutal cold and flu season so far this year! At this point folks would do just about anything to ward off germs. Are the most popular remedies backed by science or nothing but old wives tales?
Myth: Vitamin C prevents illness
You may turn to large doses of vitamin C during the winter months to avoid getting sick, but unfortunately this doesn’t work. Where vitamin C may have some merit is in its ability to shorten the duration of a cold once you’re already under the weather. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant—those anti-inflammatory properties may assist with swollen sinuses.
Myth: Zinc boosts your immune system
Much like vitamin C, there’s not enough evidence to support that taking in extra zinc will keep sickness at bay. Meeting daily needs for zinc is important for a healthy immune system, however exceeding these daily requirements can be toxic. Back in 2009, the FDA warned consumers to stay away from zinc nasal sprays after studies found they could damage the sense of smell.