The reason is that although most animals can internally manufacture their own vitamin C, we human beings, along with bats, fish and guinea pigs, have to get our vitamin C from natural vitamin C food sources or from good quality vitamin C supplements.
It's vitally important that we do get plenty of natural vitamin C (with bioflavonoids) in our diets.
Besides protecting you from scurvy, which can kill you fast, vitamin C helps produce collagen. Collagen works like super-glue to keep all the cells in your body where they belong.
Plus, if you get wounded or break a bone, collagen comes to the rescue to help mend and heal.
The Best Natural Vitamin C Sources
Fortunately, C is abundant in most raw high fiber fruits and vegetables.
We all know that a great vitamin C food source is citrus fruit. But there are many other high fiber foods vitamin C sources on the list of fruits including: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, kiwifruit, papayas, cantaloupe, raspberries, watermelon, tomatoes, pineapples and strawberries.
Good natural vitamin C sources from the list of vegetables include: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, celery, peas, romaine lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, onions, corn, yams, sweet potatoes, chard, cabbage, parsley and asparagus.
Although fruits and vegetables are the best vitamin C food sources, some high protein foods also contain small amounts. These include oysters and organ meats like liver and heart.
Even though vitamin C is naturally abundant in fruits and vegetables, it's a delicate nutrient.
Broiling, grilling, frying, boiling and lengthy storage can all easily destroy the vitamin C in food. However, lightly steaming minimizes the loss. And since chilled and frozen fruits and vegetables retain their C, it's best to keep all produce refrigerated or frozen until you're ready to eat it.
Vitamin C Health Benefits
Vitamin C is so important in making collagen, that it's an essential nutrient for healthy bones, tendons and ligaments. Other important vitamin C health benefits include the prevention of:
- Blood clots,
- Heart disease,
- Hair and tooth loss,
- High blood pressure,
- Joint pain and swelling,
- Various forms of cancer,
- High LDL (bad) cholesterol,,/li>
- And development of cataracts.
Vitamin C Recommendations
The recommendations for vitamin C vary widely.
For example, the National Academy of Sciences says the lowest minimum recommended daily allowances (RDA) for vitamin C should be: men 90 mgs, women 75 mgs and pregnant and lactating women up to 120 mgs. Whereas many other health authorities believe the Optimum Daily Allowance (ODA) should be 250 to as high as 3,000 mgs a day.
How do you know you're getting enough C (ascorbic acid) from food and supplements?
The most common symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, nosebleeds, anemia, tendency to bruising, low resistance to infections and slow healing of wounds.
Now that you know all of the vitamin C health benefits and natural vitamin C food sources, make sure you’re getting as much as you need from your diet and nutritional supplements. And, if you take supplements, always be sure they include a natural bioflavenoid complex along with the C.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.