It’s cold and flu season, folks. Now, more than ever, we are looking for ways to feel better and to defend our immune systems.
As people race to get their flu vaccines and convenience stores sell out of Kleenex and wet wipes, this year brings a little more urgency to the idea of cleanliness and prevention.
While people swear by their morning glass of orange juice or tea, homemade chicken noodle soup, probiotics, and NyQuil, we’re interested in a few healthier options. The good news? Recent research points to the fact that vitamin C boosts a person’s feelings of vitality.
As a firm believer in aromatherapy as a supplemental helper with minor aches and pains and mood shifts, I have experienced the power of citrus scent first-hand. According to Healthline, “orange essential oil appears to be effective at reducing levels of stress and anxiety. It may also be beneficial for depression, although more research is needed. Some small studies have indicated that using orange essential oil topically or for aromatherapy may help with short-term pain.”
It seems correct to assume that something with such noticeable effects scent-wise would certainly create similar effects after ingestion, within the nervous system.
A recent study done at the University of Otago further proved that conclusion, even going as far as to claim a simple solution if you’re feeling off-balance.
While America tends to turn to oranges as its traditional supply of vitamin C, there are actually many fruits that provide a higher amount, getting you closer to the daily recommendation for health.
Guava, papaya, and lychee are perhaps less accessible options when it comes to year-round growth in our region, but another such fruit is the kiwi. This particular study suggests that simply adding 2 kiwis a day to your diet for two weeks should make you feel more awake, positive, and healthy.
One-hundred and sixty-seven participants between the ages of 18 and 35 with admittedly low vitamin C levels were divided into three test groups and each given one solution to their deficiencies: a vitamin C tablet, two kiwi fruit, or a placebo tablet per day. Participants who consumed two kiwi a day started to see pretty drastic results within two weeks, while those taking the tablets noticed a difference, but it took longer to sustain the benefits.
This is some of the most substantial evidence we have to support the fact that vitamin C has direct effects on a person’s mental health function. If you’re feeling the effects of seasonal depression or a heightened level of anxiety, daily vitamin C intake should really boost your level of functioning.
Dr. Conner, one of the leads on the research project, further agrees with claims that whole foods activate more functional benefits in your body. “For example,” she expands, “Kiwifruit has numerous additional vitamins and minerals that support health and are also high in dietary fiber, which is beneficial to the gut. There are important links between the gut and the regulation of mood. This could account for why kiwifruit benefited mood more than vitamin C tablets.”
Other benefits of vitamin C
So what are some other benefits of vitamin C that you could experience when you make sure to get your recommended daily dose? It can reduce your risk of living with type 2 diabetes, boost your metabolism, and lower your stress levels.
In older adults, Vitamin C has been proven to increase muscle mass, reducing degeneration as they age.
A more recent – and very important – development that doctors around the world are noting is a decrease in severe coronavirus symptoms when patients had a recommended baseline level of vitamin C. Though conflicting information has come out about the effects of higher doses of vitamin C in fighting things like the common cold, anecdotal evidence over the years for many would suggest that consuming it in moderate amounts over time will maintain physical and mental health.
This study supports that finding directly, and makes a case for an accessible way to boost your mood with this simple solve!