Wednesday, February 18, 2009

avoid sugar if you have a cold

I just spoke with a friend, Sarah, who is feeling a little under the weather.  She's got a bad cold and is generally not feeling well.  She wanted to know if there was anything she could take in addition to orange juice and tea to help her feel better.

Orange juice is actually not a good choice.  Yes, vitamin C boosts the immune system, but sugar suppresses it.  Unfortunately most people reach straight for the orange juice when they are sick in an attempt to get more vitamin C into their system.  Although they are adding vitamin C to their system they are also adding sugar which slows down the body response.  If you must have juice, although herbal teas and broths would be better, it is best to dilute the fruit juice so that you are taking less sugar.  Even eating fruits is not necessarily recommended as the fruit sugars will still work to suppress your immune system.  

Taking vitamin C tablets could prove beneficial in lessening the duration of a cold.  According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregan State University, "The preventive use of vitamin C supplementation reduced the duration of colds by about 8% in adults and 14% in children." 

Other food sources of vitamin C (not in order of nutrient) include brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, winter squash and green peas.  There are others but these tend to be the highest.


Noosh said...

Who would have thought to avoid orange juice. Thank you for educating me as OJ is the first thing I increase for my family when they have colds.
I also give Goji and Amla juice. Should I avoid these too?

Mira Dessy said...

According to Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine fruit juices are not a good idea because any form of sugar, sucrose, fructose, glucose, etc. raises insulin which which reduces the the release of growth hormone which suppresses the immune system.

It's best to avoid fruit juices and drink herbal teas and broths instead.

Mira Dessy said...

Correction. Drs Murray and Pizzorno said fruit juices are not a good idea.

The information about how sugars work to suppress the immune system is from Dr. Sears on his website.