Eating well to stay well: Vitamin C – The News

Staying well during the cold and flu season can be a real challenge, especially if much of your day is spent in contact with the public. Both colds and flu are caused by a virus, but the flu can make you sicker than a cold and can even result in hospitalization.

So how can you protect your immune system during the cold and flu season? An annual seasonal flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the chance that you will get the flu. The free flu shot is widely available at clinics, doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Washing your hands often, getting enough sleep, getting regular activity and reducing stress are all great steps you can take. Consuming the right vitamins and minerals in the food you eat is important since they help maintain immune function and contribute to good overall health. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends eating well as a way to keep your immune system strong.

Recent research shows that while 94 per cent of Atlantic Canadians believe a balanced diet of vitamin-rich foods plays an important role in maintaining immune function during flu season, fewer than one per cent plan on changing their diet to avoid getting sick. Confusion about which foods to eat is the likely culprit.

More than three-quarters of Canadians believe vitamin C is the most important vitamin to take during the flu season, and it is commonly taken in high doses during these fall months. However, taking high doses of vitamin C has not been proven to prevent illness. Vitamin C does protect you from infections by keeping your immune system healthy, so it is important to get enough vitamin C each day. But since vitamin C is not stored in large amounts in the body, any extra vitamin C that is consumed is lost in your urine.

You should aim to get about 200mg of vitamin C per day to help prevent colds and flu. Most people can get enough vitamin C simply by eating a healthy diet. Foods high in vitamin C include sweet peppers, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, broccoli and that fall favourite, sweet potatoes. Eating whole foods containing vitamin C instead of taking a supplement means that your body is also getting a variety of other nutritional benefits that these whole foods provide, including fibre and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Try this flavourful and vitamin C-rich recipe as a delicious side or as a vegetarian main course served over rice. And stay tuned for my next column, when I will look at a number of other nutrients that can also help protect you from colds and flu this fall and winter.


Sweet Potato Aloo Gobi


1 tbsp (15 mL)  PC 100% Pure Canola Oil

1  onion, chopped

2 tsp (10 mL)  finely chopped garlic

1 tbsp (15 mL)  finely chopped ginger root

1 tbsp (15 mL)  medium curry powder

2  large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes

1 bag (500 g)   PC Frozen Cauliflower

1 tbsp (15 mL)  fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp (2 mL)  salt   




  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, or until onion begins to soften. Stir in garlic, ginger and curry powder; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, or until fragrant. Add sweet potatoes; stir until coated. Add 1-¼ cups (300 mL) water. Let mixture come to a simmer. Cover with tight-fitting lid; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes begin to soften.
  2. Stir in cauliflower; cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in lime juice and salt. Serve warm, garnished with lime wedges and coriander sprigs if desired.

Serves 6.

Per serving: 160 calories; 3 g fat (0.3 g of which is saturated);  230 mg sodium;  32 g carbohydrates;  6 g fibre;  3 g protein; Source of Fibre;  Excellent source of vitamin C   

Recipe source:


Lynsey Hotchkiss is a Professional Dietitian Candidate with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow.


Want to book a free appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact Lynsey at (902) 921-0700 or email at


Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*