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Kiwifruit for the Common Cold

You know how miserable you feel when you have a cold. A remedy may be looking at you in your local supermarket. Denise C. Hunter, from The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research (New Zealand), and colleagues enrolled 37 men and women, ages 65 years and older, who ate four gold kiwifruit each day for four weeks, then switched over to consume two bananas daily (or vice versa), with a four week intervening washout period. During the kiwifruit phase, self-reported cold symptoms were less (as compared to the banana phase), with sore throat symptoms reducing from 5.4 to 2 days and head congestion decreasing from 4.7 to 0.9 days. The severity of head congestion during the kiwifruit phase was also reduced. Observing that: “Gold kiwifruit significantly increased plasma vitamin C, [alpha]-tocopherol and lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations, and erythrocyte folate concentrations, and significantly reduced plasma lipid peroxidation,” the researchers submit that: "Consumption of gold kiwifruit enhanced the concentrations of several dietary plasma analytes, which may contribute to reduced duration and severity of selected [upper respiratory tract infection] symptoms, offering a novel tool for reducing the burden of [upper respiratory tract infection] in older individuals.”

Denise C. Hunter, Margot A. Skinner, Frances M. Wolber, Chris L. Booth, Jacelyn M. S. Loh, Mark Wohlers, et al. “Consumption of gold kiwifruit reduces severity and duration of selected upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and increases plasma vitamin C concentration in healthy older adults.” British J Nutr., 15 December 2011.

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