Vitamin C, also known as ‘Ascorbic Acid’ is a water-soluble vitamin and a highly powerful antioxidant. It protects our body from free radicals which are playing an important role in the aging process. It helps strengthen the blood vessel and muscles. Unlike other animals, humans do not have the ability to synthesize this vitamin internally. Hence, our Vitamin C intake is depending only on natural foods and artificial supplements.
Good amounts of Vitamin C can be obtained from certain fruits and
vegetables. Citrus fruits such as oranges, strawberries, gooseberries and
grapes and leafy vegetables like cabbage, cauliflowers, etc. are great sources
of this vitamin. Potatoes, red peppers, parsley and Brussel sprouts too contain
considerable amounts of it. However, always make sure to cook food briefly at
low temperatures to preserve the vitamin in your food.
Vitamin C Benefits
The requirement of Vitamin C content in one’s body varies according to age. For instance, United States’ Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) study showing the amounts of Vitamin C required outlines intake for adults (18 years and above) as 65-75 mg of the vitamin, whereas for infants (up to 12 months) it is 40-50 mg.
The following are some amazing benefits of including vitamin C in your diet.
1. Speeds up the healing of wounds
Vitamin C leads to the production of collagen, a protein present in
connective tissues of the skin, muscles, and tendons. So regular intake of this
vitamin is helpful in wound healing. Whether the wound is a minor cut, a broken
bone, burns or deep wounds, it readily speeds up the healing process.
2. Role in neurological conditions
Vitamin C is crucial in protecting the brain and nervous system
against the harmful effects of stress. When taken in optimum amounts, it
synthesizes the regulation of stress hormones. Additionally, high levels of the
nutrient may also reduce the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as
it helps to increase beta-carotene and lycopene.
3. Helps battle asthma
Those who have chronic asthma can greatly benefit from Vitamin C. It
is essentially an antioxidant and antihistamine that enables improved lung
function. Studies suggest that 1000-2000 mg of the vitamin every day can
effectively reduce the production of histamines which is a major cause of
inflammation in asthma patients.
4. Boosts immunity
Various studies suggest that Vitamin C deficiency can decrease the body’s resistance against certain pathogens. So, including it in one’s diet helps to fight various infections and allergies thereby strengthening the immune system.
5. Reduces the risk of cataracts
Direct exposure to sunlight leads to the generation of free radicals
in one’s eye lens which causes cataract or blindness in the elderly. Vitamin C
intake can successfully eliminate free radicals. Therefore, its consumption
reduces the risk of cataract in older people along with improving their vision.
6. Aids in the treatment of cancer
High dosage of Vitamin C increases the effect of cancer-eliminating
drugs utilized in chemotherapy. Unlike other drugs, this vitamin is
target-specific, so it doesn’t damage other cells of the body. Moreover, there
is a study showing that increased intake of the nutrient can also reduce the
risk of cancer of the mouth, lungs, throat, vocal cords, stomach, colon,
esophagus, and rectum.
7. Reduces the risk of stroke
Vitamin C kills the free radicals, which damage the walls of arteries,
and thereby decrease the possibility of a stroke. Along with this, its
consumption also lowers cholesterol and improves blood flow.
8. Cures Lead Toxicity
People with Vitamin C levels in their body are often found to have
higher amounts of lead in their bloodstream. Smokers are suggested daily
consumption of supplements of the vitamin as it reduces lead levels and can
alleviate lead toxicity.
9. Helps in weight loss
Adequate levels of Vitamin C can faster weight and fat loss by increasing oxidation of body fat during exercise and enhancing metabolism. So, the inclusion of citrus fruits or leafy vegetables in your diet before or after one’s exercise routine can aid better fat loss.
10. Effective for arthritis symptoms
People suffering from arthritis are administered Vitamin C supplements to raise the levels of the vitamin in their bodies. This helps to reduce pain, swelling of joints and inflammation as well. The production, maintenance, and repair of cartilaginous tissues are enhanced as a result of collagen production by Vitamin C. However, balance in its intake is crucial as very high doses can worsen the condition.
11. Beneficial for skin problems
Clinical trials have proven that Vitamin C prevents sagging of skin,
reduces wrinkles, protects from UV rays as well as improves the elasticity of
the skin. Therefore, today it is widely used in various face packs, creams, and
12. Helps maintain healthy gums
Vitamin C deficiency can cause periodontal disease which is a severe
form of gingivitis. It develops because lower levels of the vitamin can weaken
connective tissues thereby easily breaking down capillaries. A regular and
moderated intake of Vitamin C can prevent bleeding gums and lead to improved
13. Regulates blood sugar
Regular and long-term intake of Vitamin C supplements aids the
regulation of blood sugar levels in patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.
The vitamin stimulates insulin mechanism, reduces fasting blood glucose thereby
enhancing the efficacy of the treatment.
14. Prevents Scurvy
Though today scurvy is quite a rare occurrence, Vitamin C deficiency is one of the leading causes of scurvy. On consumption of 10 g of Vitamin C on a daily basis can help us to prevent scurvy.
15. Great for healthy hair
Dry and flaky skin can lead to the clogging of hair follicles. This
prevents hair growth and leads to the production of hair growth. Vitamin C
helps to fight the bacteria in the scalp and prevents premature greying of hair.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Now that we know the many benefits of Vitamin C, we take a look at a
few foods rich in Vitamin C. Well known as a potent antioxidant along with
containing nutrients to enhance skin, immune system, bone, and collagen tissue
health, this vitamin is abundantly found in the following food items.
Currently, the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C is 90 mg for adults, and
since humans can’t naturally produce this vitamin, we should readily try to
fulfill this requirement.
It contain large amounts of the antioxidant, lycopene. 1 guava can provide 126 mg of vitamin C. People with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels should eat 7 pieces of guava every day as it significantly lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
One kiwi contains 71 mg of the vitamin. On consuming kiwi, we can reduce
oxidative stress; improve immunity, and lower cholesterol levels. It also
increases blood cell activity by 20%, can decrease blood platelet stickiness by
18% and triglycerides by 15%. A combination of these factors prevents stroke
and reduces the risk of blood clots.
Many people eat Brussel sprouts as they are rich in potassium, fiber,
Vitamin A, K, and folate. But only a few ones know that Brussel sprouts are a
good source of Vitamin C as well, just half a cup of cooked Brussel sprouts
provides 49 mg of the nutrient. Therefore, one can greatly reduce the risk of
fractures while also improving the formation of collagen.
Oranges are an excellent fruit that are rich in Vitamin C. A
medium-sized orange contains 70 mg of Vitamin C. In fact, citrus fruits can
help us to meet the vitamin C requirement easily.
The easiest and most affordable source of this vitamin is lemon.
Including one whole lemon in our diet fulfills 92% of our daily Vitamin C
requirement. From adding a little lemon in your salad to having a glass of
lemonade, there are several ways to include lemons in your daily diet.
Papaya is good for digestion and contains anti-inflammatory properties
as well. It accounts for 97% of one’s daily Vitamin C need. Therefore, eating
papaya can aid memory, it is especially useful for patients suffering from mild
levels of Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin C deficiency
The deficiency of Vitamin C in one’s body is quite rare and takes months to develop. The shortage of this all-important nutrient essentially means that collagen formation in one’s body has significantly decreased or stopped altogether. A shortage of this essential nutrient leads to an illness known as scurvy.
This severely affects the body’s ability to repair itself. The symptoms of this deficiency include fatigue, muscle and joint pains, easy bruising, poor immunity, swelling of gums, dry and damaged skin, poor healing of wounds, unusual alterations in bones and unexplained weight loss.
A solution for better immunity, prevention of cataract, stroke, cancer and neurological conditions, the benefits of Vitamin C indeed make it one of the most important vitamins that ought to be a part of everyone’s diet!