Every time you catch a cold, there’s at least one person who advises you to drink some lemon or raspberry tea. What is there so magical about it? The answer is simple. Vitamin C. Even children know about its ability to enhance a human immune system. However, there are some health benefits of vitamin C, which even adults may be unfamiliar with.
So, What Does Vitamin C Do?
1. Helps you deal with stress.
Recent research shows that people with constantly high levels of this nutrient are less affected by stressful situations. It is known that stress makes the adrenal glands release hormones; cortisol in particular, and vitamin C appeared to be able to reduce the secretion of this hormone, thus eliminating the symptoms. So, taking enough of vitamin C every day can reduce the effects of stress on your organism.
2. Fights infections.
Although vitamins are not pills and can’t be considered a cure for diseases, vitamin C has a certain influence on the immune system, which is responsible for fighting with diseases. When it comes to infections, that’s something your organism should fight on its own. Still, some help is never bad. Vitamin C strengthens your immune system, improving its fighting abilities to help you get rid of harmful viruses and bacteria.
3. Slows down your aging process.
Numerous studies have proved that people who consume their daily norm of vitamin C have their skin in a better condition (no dry skin, fewer wrinkles, higher elasticity, etc.). With its importance in the synthesis of collagen, Vitamin C is a vital component of our skin. While aging naturally causes a decrease in content of this vitamin in your body, you should increase it by taking vitamin C supplements. Then, all those unwanted effects of the aging process will be slowed down.
4. Reduces risks of heart diseases.
Compared to other health benefits of vitamin C, this one is not completely researched yet. However, some reports prove that there’s a connection between the content of vitamin C in your body and your heart’s overall health. This nutrient strengthens blood vessels and is able to control blood circulation and blood pressure to some extent. Obviously, the better your blood flow and the whole vascular system is, the lower chances of a heart disease or a stroke are.
Sources of Vitamin C
You surely eat vitamin C foods every day without even noticing and thinking about it. However, you’d better start paying attention to your daily vitamin C intake because if you don’t get enough of this nutrient, you risk not only catching an ordinary cold but also getting more serious conditions and complications.
Deficiency of vitamin C in your organism makes you vulnerable to all infections. In rare cases, it leads to a serious disease called scurvy. That’s when the synthesis of collagen is impaired, and connective tissues of your body get damaged. As a result, you feel weak, lose teeth, and get bruises all over your body – yes, that’s not a pleasant condition. You can avoid it if you take 75-90 mg of vitamin C a day (your personal intake depends on your age, gender, and a few other factors). Here is a list of foods with the highest contents of vitamin C per 100 gm:
- citrus fruits, such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit;
- berries, such as acerola cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and camu camu;
- tropical fruits, such as kiwi, mango, and guava;
- vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, bell pepper, and chili pepper.
Having read this list, don’t hurry to find new recipes to add to your healthy diet. Many recipes involve baking, boiling, grilling, or putting these foods through other heating processes. And it is known that heating kills the nutrients. So, if you want to know for sure that you have consumed enough of vitamin C with your meal, don’t cook your vitamin C foods.
Eating raw and fresh fruits and vegetables is definitely great for your health, but there’s another thing you should keep in mind. Most of them are commercially grown, which means they are very likely to be loaded with pesticides. Such products have much lower contents of all nutrients. Yet, even if somehow the content of vitamin C in them remained rather high, you put yourself at risk when consuming them because pesticides are very harmful to your organism. That’s the top reason why today many people who are concerned about their health make a decision to take supplements.
Supplementing your diet with vitamin C in the form of pills or in a powdered form has certain benefits compared to calculating milligrams of this nutrient in different foods. Of course, it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to get your daily vitamin C intake, but just make sure you do it wisely. If it’s supplementing, read the reviews and choose a reliable manufacturer before you make a purchase and actually start taking the supplement. If it’s getting the vitamin through foods, find a store where they sell fresh, organic, and non-gmo foods and eat them raw.
- Paolisso, Giuseppe, et al. “Metabolic benefits deriving from chronic vitamin C supplementation in aged non-insulin dependent diabetics.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 14.4 (1995): 387-392.
- Douglas, Robert M., and Harri Hemilä. “Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.” PLoS medicine 2.6 (2005): e168.
- Boushey, Carol J., et al. “A quantitative assessment of plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for vascular disease: probable benefits of increasing folic acid intakes.” Jama 274.13 (1995): 1049-1057.