What is Vitamin C? Vitamin C is a highly effective and beneficial antioxidant nutrient found abundantly in fresh fruits and vegetables. And that’s great news for us human beings!
This is because, although most animals can manufacture their own vitamin C internally, we human beings, along with bats, fish and guinea pigs, have to get our C from a good natural vitamin C food source or from high quality vitamin C nutritional supplements.
And it's vitally important that you do get plenty of natural C (with bioflavonoids) in your diet. Why? What does vitamin C do in the body? Or, better yet, what does vitamin C do for you?
Besides protecting you from scurvy, which can kill you fast, C helps produce collagen, which 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 heal your body.
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 food sources on the list of healthy fruits including: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, kiwifruit, papayas, cantaloupe, raspberries, watermelon, tomatoes, pineapples and strawberries.
Good natural vitamin C sources from the healthy vegetables list 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.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
What does Vitamin C do in the body? For one thing, C is so important in making collagen, that it's an absolutely essential nutrient for you to have healthy bones, tendons and ligaments.
And studies show vitamin C benefits include helping to prevent a long list of health problems:
- Blood clots,
- Heart disease,
- Hair and tooth loss,
- High blood pressure,
- Joint pain and swelling,
- Various forms of cancer,
- High LDL (bad) cholesterol,
- And development of cataracts.
Recommendations for Vitamin C
Vitamin C recommendations vary widely. For example, the National Academy of Sciences claims that 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.
However, many other respected health authorities believe that the Optimum Daily Allowance (ODA) should be much higher – 250 to as high as 3,000 mgs a day.
So, how do you know you're getting enough C (ascorbic acid) from foods 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 bioflavonoid 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.