As all of us focus on keeping healthy at home, many may wonder what we can do to strengthen our bodies and immune system to battle any infection. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin D play a key role in helping us combat infections but in very different ways. Though both of these are vital to our health, there are many lesser-known facts about them which may help you. Here are some interesting facts:
- Vitamin C can be obtained from various fruits and vegetables while Vitamin D is available in foods like eggs, fatty fish, fortified dairy products and most importantly, sunlight allows our body to synthesize vitamin D naturally. All fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, guavas, mangoes, gooseberries, strawberries, red and green bell peppers, and kiwis have high levels of this vitamin.
Infants are dependent on breast milk, sunlight, and vitamin D supplements during the initial years of their life. As they grow up, you should encourage your kids to play outside in natural sunlight, and provide them foods like eggs, fatty fishes, mushrooms, cheese and milk to meet their Vitamin D needs.
- Vitamin C is water-soluble and Vitamin D is fat soluble. Very simply put, Vitamin C is available in fruits and vegetable which have a high water-content. But due to that, its content and potency can get reduced due to overcooking and prolonged storage. It is advisable to steam or microwave when cooking to restore this nutrient, or better still consume them in raw form, as is what you would do with juicy fruits anyway! Meanwhile, with Vitamin D it’s best consumed with healthy oils and they naturally occur in the egg-yolk, fish oil and dissolved in fat in dairy products.
- The main role of Vitamin C in our bodies is in tissue repair and the functioning of several enzymes important for the immune system. It also functions as an antioxidant. Vitamin D is essential in bone development as it helps in calcium absorption. This contributes to bone calcification and mineralization, hence making bones stronger and less prone to breakage.
- Vitamin C also helps promote the absorption of a very important mineral, Iron, very important for blood formation. Similarly, Vitamin D helps Calcium absorption, hence helping in the formation and strengthening of our bones and teeth.
- Vitamin C helps the white blood cells grow faster in our body, hence it is an immunity booster. Vitamin C is essential in the management of colds, coughs and other respiratory ailments due to this function. Vitamin D also plays major role in immune response. Vitamin D supplementation is essential to combat infections of the upper respiratory tract. So even if your child has a cold, ensure he or she get at least 20-25 mins of sun. Please remember, these vitamins do not cure, merely aid the immune system in battling an infection.
- Vitamin C deficiency causes problems in the joints and gums and Vitamin D deficiency impacts bone density. Even in a country like India, vitamin C deficiency is quite prominent, and has been linked to malnutrition, poor dietary practices and inability to absorb this nutrient. Vitamin D deficiency in children results in hypocalcaemia, rickets, and delayed growth and dentition.
- Both Vitamin C and Vitamin D are available as supplements. However, it is not advisable to take regular supplements unless there’s a deficiency diagnosis and a doctor prescribes it to you. Under normal circumstances, consuming foods rich in natural sources of these vitamins is the best way to stay healthy and keeping your family healthy too.