Vitamin C and its benefits
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is vital for all body tissues to grow, develop and repair themselves. Vitamin C is used by many of the body’s functions such as forming collagen, absorbing iron, boosting the immune system and healing wounds. Vitamin C also helps to maintain cartilage, bones and teeth.
In the world of antioxidants, Vitamin C is a super hero. It protects against the damage that is caused by free radicals and toxic chemicals like cigarette smoke. When free radicals build up in the system, they facilitate the development of illnesses and disease such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
Since vitamin C is not stored by the body, there is little danger of overdose. It is still important not to take more than 2,000 milligrams a day in order to avoid episodes of upset stomach and diarrhea.
As a water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin C needs to be continually present in a balanced diet to stay healthy. Eating vitamin rich fruits and vegetables in the raw state or cooked with very little water, you can provide most of what is needed in your daily diet. Heat and light will diminish and destroy Vitamin C, so cooking fruits or vegetables for a long period of time will destroy the nutritional value of the vitamin.
Deficiencies of Vitamin C are rare today, but at one time sailors would develop scurvy while at sea and not able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Scurvy has the symptoms of weakness, anemia, easy bruising, bleeding and loose teeth. The ailment is not often seen in most developed countries in modern times, but malnourished adults from poor countries that do not have resources for balanced diets are found with this vitamin deficiency.
How to Get More Vitamin C in Your Diet
Citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and strawberries are foods that are very rich in Vitamin C. Other sources for Vitamin C are dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, papaya, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red peppers, cabbage, raspberries, winter squash, pineapple, and mangos.
The benefits of Vitamin C are many, but some of the more recognizable benefits include protection against immune system breakdown, cardiovascular disease and eye disease.
The recommended amount of daily intake for vitamin C may not be enough to provide the optimum benefits from the vitamin. Research suggests that a daily dosage of 500 milligrams added to a balanced diet is what will allow an individual to gain all the benefits of Vitamin C.