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VITAMIN C



Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant and plays a vital role in the body's immune system, helping to fight off infections. It is not easily stored by the body, so regular intake is important. Commonly found in citrus fruits, tomatoes and green vegetables, it can also be taken as a supplement.

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VITAMIN C

What You Didn't Know About Vitamin C We've all heard of vitamin C, may have used vitamin C supplements at some point in our lives (especially during cold, fever and flu), and normally associate oranges with this vitamin. But did you know that papayas and bell peppers have a higher amount of vitamin C, and that the best sources of the vitamin are all plant foods? Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin whose earliest use can be traced back to the time that the British Navy fed sailors with vitamin C-rich foods to prevent scurvy. What are the various benefits of vitamin C? The vitamin is a well-known antioxidant that counters some of the damage caused by free radicals, and safeguards our body's organs. Studies indicate that vitamin C can slow down the hardening of arteries and maintain their flexibility. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, and evidence indicates that those who eat vitamin C-rich diets are less likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It is also essential for the formation of bones and teeth. The vitamin aids the production of certain neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals sending information throughout the brain and body. Importantly, it is required to produce serotonin, which affects the endocrine, nervous, digestive, immune systems and other systems of the body. Studies suggest that antioxidant-rich meals can lower blood pressure. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet recommended for high blood pressure patients incorporates several fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of antioxidants. Vitamin C has been seen to work with other antioxidants to lower the risk of macular degeneration. Some studies indicate that the vitamin may prevent pre-eclampsia in at-risk women. There are also studies linking vitamin C-rich diets with lower rates of cancer. Important sources of vitamin C As you may already know, citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C. Non-citrus fruits like pineapples, papayas, kiwifruit, raspberries, cantaloupes, cranberries, watermelons and strawberries also contain the vitamin in significant amounts. Many vegetables are fortified with vitamin C, including leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, carrots, green beans and squash. Herbs and spices such as thyme, basil, dill, cilantro and mint are other sources. As far as daily intake is concerned, adult males and females are recommended 90 mg and 75 mg respectively. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women are recommended 115 mg and 120 mg respectively. One thing to note is that the vitamin C content of food is affected by heat and storage. The vitamin C content of a citrus fruit will dwindle as soon as you pick it up from the supermarket shelf, though this depletion can be slowed by storing it in a cool place. Cooking methods – such as steaming broccoli for 15 minutes – can lower its vitamin C content by almost 25 percent. Smoking depletes vitamin C, a reason why heavy smokers may require an additional 35 mg a day. You can also get your daily dose of vitamin C from supplements. Be mindful of your daily dosage to avoid diuretic effects, diarrhea, gas or stomach upset. In summary,  Vitamin C has wide-ranging protective effects on the body  A number of citrus fruits, non-citrus fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamin C  Storage and cooking methods affect vitamin C content in fruits and vegetables