Vitamin C is typically associated with cold and flu season because it aides the body in fighting viruses. But it does so much more than just prevent colds, it’s also an essential nutrient in living and aging.
Continued research shows evidence that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure as well as potential antioxidant effects that can help reduce symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Vitamin C also aides our bodies in additional functions, some of which include:
- Lowering risk of cataracts;
- Reducing the signs of aging in the skin;
- Encouraging white blood cell creation, helping the body fight infections;
- Promoting collagen production, which helps wounds heal faster;
- Stabilizing blood sugar in people with diabetes;
- Dilating blood vessels, promoting a healthier heart;
- Converting cholesterol into bile salt to eliminate it from the body;
- Lowering uric acid in the blood, helping to prevent a painful form of arthritic known as gout.
While the connection is uncertain, vitamin C is believed to help reduce inflammation and as a result, contributes to the reduction of dementia and some types of cancer.
Vitamin C Deficiency Health Risks
In contrast, not providing your body with sufficient levels can increase your risk for some health conditions and diseases. Vitamin C deficiency manifests symptomatically after about 8 to 12 weeks of inadequate intake. Initial symptoms most have are drowsiness, weakness and irritability, but you may also experience:
- frequent nosebleeds
- bleeding gums
- weight gain
- slower metabolism
- easily bruised skin
- difficulty healing wounds
- weakened immune system
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your physician.
How much is enough?
As is true of many vitamins, there is no clear answer on the daily amount to consume. The following recommendations from several leading authorities should be discussed with your physician.
- The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends men over the age of 18 take 90 milligrams a day and women of the same age take 75 milligrams daily.
- Researches from Oregon State University say the daily allowance should be 200 milligrams per day for both men and women.
- Scientists from the University of Michigan suggest an even higher number, believing that consuming 500 milligrams of vitamin c each day promotes optimal health.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C is water soluble and the body does not store it, this is why daily consumption is strongly encouraged. The bright side is that there are many fruits and vegetables naturally rich in vitamin C that can be easily incorporated in your daily diet. Mix them into other foods, soups and smoothies, if necessary.
- Leafy greens, such as spinach and romaine lettuce,
- Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli,
- Strawberries, raspberries. blueberries and cranberries,
- Kiwi, papaya, pineapple and mango,
- Green, yellow and red peppers,
- Tomatoes and tomato juice.
We encourage you to evaluate your current consumption and potential deficiency symptoms. If you should have any concerns, contact your physician.