Vitamin C: The Super Vitamin
For decades, vitamin C has been used to help prevent the common cold. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body which may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, and boost up your immune system.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for immune health, specifically for white blood cells to fight infections. It also enhances iron absorption, and adequate iron can help protect against vulnerability to infection.Our bodies don’t make vitamin C, but we need it for immune function, bone structure, iron absorption, and healthy skin. We get vitamin C from our diet, usually in citrus fruits, strawberries, green vegetables, red peppers and tomatoes.
Vitamin C is vital to the function of our white blood cells that help to fight infections and overall immune system health.
Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals in the process of oxidative stress.
It might just help your waistline too!
Foods that are the highest sources of vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
- Kiwi fruit
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
Vegetables that are the highest sources of vitamin C include:
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale
- Green and red peppers
- Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
- Sweet and white potatoes
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Winter squash
Are you getting enough vitamin C in your daily diet?
According to researchers from Arizona State University, individuals consuming sufficient amounts of vitamin C oxidize (burn) 30% more fat during moderate exercise than those who consume insufficient amounts. In addition, too little vitamin C in the bloodstream has been shown to correlate with increased body fat and waist measurements.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin C is typically:
- Men over 18 years: 90 mg
- Women over 18 years: 75 mg
- Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 80 mg
- Pregnant women over 18 years: 85 mg
- Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 115 mg
- Breastfeeding women over 18 years: 120 mg
Whole Foods has a great chart list of how much vitamin C is in your foods. (Click Here)
Special Notes about Vitamin C:
Vitamin C supplements have a diuretic effect if taking too much.
Vitamin C increases the amount of iron absorbed from foods
Vitamin C may raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Both aspirin and NSAIDs can lower the amount of vitamin C in the body because they cause more of the vitamin to be lost in urine.
You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.
Cooking and food preparation can diminish the amount of vitamin C in foods.
It has been recommended that cigarette smokers ingest at least 100 mg of vitamin C per day; cigarette smoking increases metabolic turnover of vitamin C and leads to lower concentration in the blood.
Deficiency in Vitamin C in the US is rare. It is the most consumed vitamin in adults and children. Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:
- Bleeding gums
- Decreased ability to fight infection
- Decreased wound-healing rate
- Dry and splitting hair
- Easy bruising
- Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
- Rough, dry, scaly skin
- Swollen and painful joints
- Weakened tooth enamel
The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own, and it does not store vitamin C. It is important to get plenty of vitamin C foods in your daily diet.