Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a nutrient required for many vital functions of the body. The most important being the function of the immune system. Vitamin C is essential for a robust immune system, but the human body does not store vitamin C hence people need to get this nutrient from their diet every day. 

A recent study published in the publication titled Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine looked at over 100 studies over 10 years that revealed a growing list of possible benefits of vitamin C. “Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health," says study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan. "The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer."

Always choose natural sources of Vitamin C
The Health Benefits of Vitamin C:

Vitamin C has an impact on your emotional state as well as physical wellbeing. Following are a few key benefits of this essential vitamin.

It promotes cardiovascular health  

Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties are known to play a role in protecting the heart. Some evidence suggests vitamin C may improve heart disease and complications. Analyses examining particular risk factors of heart disease show that vitamin C may affect blood pressure and endothelial function.

 

  “People who get enough vitamin C in their diets eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and are healthier overall. What we do know, is that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of heart disease” says Alice Lichtenstein, Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy in the Friedman School, and Director and Senior Scientist of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) .

Tufts University
It helps in healthy ageing

Vitamin C affects cells internally and externally, and its antioxidant properties can be beneficial when it comes to the ageing of the skin. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined links between nutrient intakes and skin ageing in 4,025 women aged 40-74. It found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of the skin, and a better skin-ageing appearance. Its antioxidant properties work hard to ward off oxidative stress and keep the cells happy, healthy, and working well. In addition, topical treatments with Vitamin C have been shown in some studies to reduce wrinkles.    

Vitamin C may help in the prevention of cancer  :

FOne of the most important benefits of vitamin C is that it fights free radical damage. Free radicals can be hazardous to the body and damage all major components of cells, including DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially the damage to DNA, may play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions. As vitamin C is an antioxidant it may help in the prevention of cancer. Nearly 30 years after Nobel laureate Linus Pauling famously and controversially suggested that vitamin C supplements can prevent cancer, a team of Johns Hopkins scientists have shown that in mice at least, vitamin C - and potentially other antioxidants - can indeed inhibit the growth of some tumours just not in the manner suggested by years of investigation.   Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

How to get more Vitamin C in your diet 

This antioxidant super-nutrient is in a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can include them in your diet in the form of a salad or smoothie. Try to add fermented vegetables and fruits as well into your diet. The foods high in vitamin C are citrus fruits, almost all form of berries, Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, tomatoes, green and red peppers, watermelon, and leafy greens. Fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut or fermented cabbage.

Does cooking affect vitamin C?

It is best to eat a variety of raw fruits and vegetables every day to get more vitamin C from your diet. Water-soluble vitamins must be continuously supplied in the diet to maintain healthy levels. Cooking may reduce the amount of the vitamin in fruits and vegetables. Eat them raw or cook them with minimal water so that you don't lose some of the water-soluble vitamins in the cooking water. Cooking can strip off some of its vital nutrients.

Am I getting enough vitamin C? How much vitamin C should I get?

This antioxidant super-nutrient is in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Yet, many adults don't get enough vitamin C in their diets. This is especially true of smokers, People suffering from severe malabsorption who are unable to fully absorb vitamins and nutrients. People with poor eating habits are prone to vitamin C deficiency as well.          Recommendations Vitamin C daily requirements The amount of vitamin C a person requires depends on age. As per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the average daily recommended amounts for different ages are as below:

Table reproduced from an article by the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board - Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamins C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids external link disclaimer.

The upper limit for vitamin C in adults is 2,000 mg. Individuals with chronic liver disease, gout, or kidney disease are recommended to take no more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day As vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that dissolves in water and is delivered to the body’s tissues but is not well stored, it must be taken daily through food or a supplement.

"It is just not practical for most people to consume the required servings of fruits and vegetables needed consistently, whereas taking a once-daily supplement is safe, effective, and easy to do," says study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan. He also notes that only 10% to 20% of adults get the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If someone cannot get enough vitamin C in their diet, they can take supplements. Many brands are available in drug stores. A daily multivitamin is a great way to get your C’s.

Summary

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for good health, especially during this pandemic time. It strengthens your immune system and cares for your heart and eyes. It also helps in preventing cancer. You can get Vitamin C into your system by eating raw or cooked vegetables. This nutrient is easily absorbed both in food and in pill form, and it can enhance the absorption of iron when the two are eaten together. People who wish to boost their vitamin C intake can do so by eating rich sources of the vitamin each day and by taking a multivitamin to meet the required amounts recommended to prevent a shortage in the body.

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