The importance of vitamin C

vitamin C-rich foods

We all know that we should take enough vitamin C-rich foods each day.  But what does this humble vitamin actually do for us?

First of all, it was the first supplement to be manufactured artificially and is hailed as an anti-oxidant hero.  We know that anti-oxidants are essential to fighting disease-causing free radicals, but a new study has also verified the link between age-related eye problems, namely cataracts, and vitamin C.

Vitamin C is also a real beauty:  the beauty industry recognises its role as an anti-inflammatory and its function in stimulating collagen, so they include it in many products.  The claims are:

  • stimulation of collagen
  • reduction in skin wrinkling
  • protection against UV damage
  • reduction in hyperpigmentation
  •  helps to fight the effects of pollution

At a deeper level, it protects against cardiovascular disease (may help reduce blood pressure) and boosts the immune system.  It also helps to reduce prenatal complications, speeds up wound healing, acts as a sidekick to iron absorption, and may also protect our joints, especially from gout.

We can see how diverse this vitamin is in protecting our health.  The recommended daily allowance is 60-90mg, and up to 2000mg is considered safe.    It has been found that 700mg of vitamin C a day reduces the risk of heart disease by 25%.  As it is a water-soluble vitamin, excess amounts are flushed into the urine, but at higher levels it may cause diarrhoea or nausea.

Sources rich in vitamin C are:

  • kakadu plums- 5300mg per 100g
  • acerola cherries- 1644mg  per 100g
  • guavas- 228mg per 100g
  • green chillies- 242mg per 100g
  • yellow peppers- 183mg per 100g
  • blackcurrants- 181mg per 100g
  • citrus fruit- around 55mg per 100g
  • kale, kiwi, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, oranges, lychees- from 53mg-120mg per 100g

Remember that most of the vitamin C in citrus fruit is actually in the peel- so find ways to use it too!

Therefore, we need to make this vitamin our firm friend in our daily diet, as it does so much for us; it’s easier than we think!

 

 

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