Role In Health Support
Protection Against Excess Free Radicals
Vitamin C is probably best known as an antioxidant. This is a word that we use frequently but don’t always stop to think about in terms of its meaning. Antioxidants are forms of molecules that help keep chemical reactions in our body in check. In particular, antioxidants help prevent excessive activity on the part of free radical molecules. Vitamin C and other antioxidants help prevent that damage. Damage to the lens of the eye, damage to molecules circulating around in our bloodstream, and damage to genetic material in our cells are all examples of damage that have been shown to be prevented under certain circumstances by vitamin C.
One interesting application of vitamin C as an antioxidant is its ability to transform iron into a state that is better absorbed in the intestine. Including vitamin C-rich foods in recipes with your best iron sources can potentially be a way to enhance iron absorption.
Vitamin C is required to produce collagen, a protein that plays a critical role in the structure of our bodies. Collagen is the framework for our skin and our bones, and without it, we would quite literally fall apart.
Vitamin C is necessary to make certain neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are the signals that carry thoughts, feelings, and commands around our brains and throughout our nervous system.
Top 20 Vitamin C Foods That Can Boost Immunity And Fight Disease
There are few vitamins that boast as many health benefits as vitamin C. Doubling as both an essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant, eating vitamin C foods can have a huge impact on your health from the inside out quite literally.
In fact, vitamin C works to improve everything from skin health to immune function and just about everything in between. By incorporating just a few servings of vitamin C foods into your diet, its simple to take advantage of all the health benefits that this water-soluble vitamin has to offer.
So how much vitamin C do you need per day, and how can you maximize your intake to reap the rewards? Lets take a closer look.
Summary Of Food Sources
Our best food sources of vitamin C have a single thing in common: they are all plant foods. Even though manyâeven mostâanimals make vitamin C in their bodies, only plants make it to the degree that they provide a rich source of the nutrient when eaten.
Probably most of you associate citrus fruits with vitamin C. This is not a mythâall of our listed citrus fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Many non-citrus fruits are highly rated sources, as well. Papaya, strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, and raspberries are also excellent vitamin C sources. Cranberries, blueberries, and watermelon are examples of very good sources, while apples, pears, and bananas are in the good category. You should expect almost any fresh fruit to be a good, very good, or excellentsource of dietary vitamin C.
In addition, many vegetables contain vitamin C. All of the greens on our website are excellent sources of vitamin C. We are big fans of green leafy vegetables as sources of many nutrients and encourage their inclusion in daily diets. Our 3-Minute Swiss Chard is an easy and tasty recipe to get you started.
Many of the cruciferous vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C. These foods have many potential health benefits and are the focus of many of our recipes. Very good sources of vitamin C in the vegetable group include summer and winter squash, green beans, and carrots.
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More Benefits Of Vitamin C
Did you know that vitamin C does more than boost the immune system? Your body needs vitamin C to produce collagen , help the brain transmit messages properly, as well as help the body absorb iron. The antioxidants in vitamin C help the body fight certain cancers, along with aiding in wound care.
Repeat after me: I promise to make sure my diet has enough vitamin C every day!
Toxicity Of Vitamin C
Being a water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin C easily excreted through urine. Hence there are fewer chances of any adverse effects. Higher doses of Vitamin C may cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and headache.
It essential to include Vitamin C in your diet as it is a very important nutrient to keep your body fit. There are several benefits of Vitamin C from a simple cold to serious cancer. Hence, considering Vitamin C can be a great investment in your well-being. Also, make sure to consult your physician before initiation of your diet or taking other supplements.
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What Is Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant and plays a role in maintaining the bodys connective tissue. Vitamin C can also help protect your heart, repair and restore tissues, and boost the absorption of other nutrients in the body.
Vitamin C foods have long been recognized for their powerful health-promoting properties. In fact, these super nutritious fruits and vegetables are often considered staples in many forms of holistic medicine, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Found primarily in fruits and vegetables, vitamin C is abundant throughout the diet, though there are some who lack this key vitamin.
A vitamin C deficiency can wreak havoc, causing symptoms like easy bruising, bleeding gums, fatigue, weakened immunity and, in severe cases, scurvy. In fact, around the 18th century, scurvy became a serious problem for the British navy.
This condition stems from a severe deficiency in vitamin C and can cause issues like bleeding gums, bruising and even death. At one point, scurvy was even considered the leading cause of death among British sailors.
Because your body doesnt store vitamin C or make it on its own, its absolutely vital to include plenty of vitamin C fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. The benefits of vitamin C may include better immune function, plus a reduced risk of conditions like gout and cardiovascular disease.
Risks And Side Effects
Vitamin C is not stored in the body, and excess amounts are excreted. As such, overdosing on this water-soluble vitamin is not generally a concern.
However, it is still important not to exceed the safe upper limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid adverse symptoms and vitamin C side effects, such as stomach upset and diarrhea.
A recent study also found a link between taking vitamin C supplements and kidney stones in men, reporting that supplementation resulted in a significantly higher risk of kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, you should consider consulting with your doctor before starting supplementation, or simply try increasing your intake of vitamin C foods and drinks to meet your daily needs instead.
Vitamin C supplements may also interact with certain types of medications. In particular, they may interact with estrogen, protease inhibitors, certain anticoagulants, niacin and aluminum-containing medications, like phosphate binders.
If you currently take any of these medications, talk to your doctor before starting supplementation.
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Types Of Vitamins And Their Functions
Vitamins and minerals are a form of nutrient that are needed in small amounts. Although micronutrients dont give us energy, they are involved in the metabolic processes that enable us to get energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat, which are also known as macronutrients.
Different vitamins serve different purposes and contribute to different bodily functions. There are 13 vitamins in total and 8 of these come from the B-group of vitamins.
Linus Pauling Institute Recommendation
Combined evidence from metabolic, pharmacokinetic, and observational studies, and from randomized controlled trials supports consuming sufficient vitamin C to achieve plasma concentrations of at least 60 mol/L. While most generally healthy young adults can achieve these plasma concentrations with daily vitamin C intake of at least 200 mg/day, some individuals may have a lower vitamin C absorptive capacity than what is currently documented. Thus, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends a vitamin C intake of 400 mg daily for adults to ensure replete tissue concentrations an amount substantially higher than the RDA yet with minimal risk of side effects.
This recommendation can be met through food if the diet includes at least several servings of vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables as part of the daily recommended fruit and vegetable intake . Most multivitamin supplements provide at least 60 mg of vitamin C.
Copyright 2000-2022 Linus Pauling Institute
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Nine Sources Of Vitamin C To Boost Your Immune Health
Mix up your diet with these these tasty sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients needed to maintain a healthy immune system, so its important to ensure that youre including enough sources of vitamin C in your diet. But as well as supporting our immune system, vitamin C plays other roles in ensuring we stay healthy.
It is also needed for our nervous system, helping to support and strengthen our immune system, and as an antioxidant, it helps mop up cell damaging free radicals, she adds.
A lack of vitamin C can result in scurvy, a condition that is practically unheard of these days, according to Bond .She adds that it is very rare to suffer from a deficiency of vitamin C in the U.S. and most age groups can get enough from their daily diets. The daily RDA of vitamin C for adults is 90mg for men and 75mg for women.
What about vitamin C supplements? Bond warns that large amounts of vitamin C thats over 1000mg/1g a day can cause side-effects such as stomach pains, diarrhea and flatulence, but youre more likely to get this much through taking supplements.
She also says that there is very little evidence that vitamin C supplements prevent colds or speed up recovery and to that end, its even more important to focus your attention on enjoying a balanced and varied diet, including lots of vitamin C-rich foods.
Types Of Minerals And Their Functions
There are hundreds of minerals they are usually classified as either major or trace minerals.
Although the amount you need differs between minerals, major are generally required in larger amounts. Some examples include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chloride, magnesium.
Trace minerals , although equally important to bodily functions are required in smaller amounts. Examples include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and iodine selenium.
Some of the important minerals to keep us healthy are listed below.
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How Much Vitamin C Do You Need
Tobacco smoking can reduce vitamin C levels in the body, so if you are a smoker, you should consume about 35 mg above the daily recommendation.
You can find out how much vitamin C is in foods by checking the nutrition labels in the package.
Folk wisdom suggests that taking extra vitamin C can help prevent or shorten common colds. Some people even engage in a practice called mega-dosing, where they take well about the recommended amount of vitamin C in an effort to improve their health. The research has not shown this to be a useful tactic.
There is some evidence that taking extra vitamin C on a regular basis shortens the duration of cold symptoms. However, it only seems to work if you take vitamin C before you get the cold or at the very first sign of cold symptoms. If you wait until more significant symptoms start, vitamin C doesnt have an effect.
Regardless, consuming more than the recommended daily amounts of vitamin C isnt typically dangerous. You can take up to 1000 mg of vitamin C per day without causing health problems. There is a limit to how much of the nutrient your body can absorb, but any excess is excreted in your urine.
Speeds Up The Healing Of Wounds
Vitamin C leads to collagen production, a protein present in connective tissues of the skin, muscles, and tendons. So regular intake of this vitamin is helpful in wound healing. Vitamin C speeds up the healing process, whether the wound is a minor or deep cut, broken bone or burns.
Vitamin C is the principal water-soluble antioxidant found in plasma. It is a two-fold action it oxidises itself and regenerates and activates iron or copper. Then it removes the damaging oxidising agent. The process helps in speeding up the wound healing process.
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Foods With Vitamin C Vs Supplements
Should you head to the grocery store or the pharmacy to start upping your vitamin C intake? There are several differences that need to be considered between supplements and food sources of this essential vitamin.
In terms of bioavailability, both seem to be roughly equivalent. According to one review published in the journal Nutrients, while some animal studies have shown a difference in the bioavailability of vitamin C foods vs. supplements, human studies have generally found that both are equally absorbed.
However, several studies have found some adverse effects associated with vitamin C supplements but not food sources.
Additionally, vitamin C foods are also typically rich in a wide array of other important nutrients, including fiber and antioxidants, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Therefore, its best to select natural sources of vitamin C instead of supplemental sources whenever possible to help meet your needs.
Not only does this allow you to take advantage of the unique benefits that vitamin C has to offer, but it can also round out your diet with a host of other micronutrients that are essential to health.
Having said that, a high-quality vitamin C supplement certainly can be beneficial, and side effects are generally rare so long as you select a high-quality supplement from a reputable company.
Creative Ways To Get More Vitamin C
There are a few inventive methods to increase the number of fruits and veggies in your diet. Why not give these suggestions a try?
- Prepare fruits and vegetables by cutting them up and storing them in baggies in the fridge. Youll have them handy for a quick snack.
- Add grated or pureed vegetables and fruits to recipes for brownies, soups, muffins, meatloaf, cookies, and more.
- Slice fruit and freeze it for an ice-cold summer treat that can replace popsicles.
- Any time youre making a sandwich or a wrap, be sure to include tomatoes, and dark lettuce options like spinach, and make your slaw.
- Enjoy raw vegetables as a snack with a low-fat dip, homemade salsa, or hummus. It increases your healthy intake and prevents you from eating junk food.
- Add berries to salads, muffins, cereal, and pancakes.
- Enjoy some dried or fresh fruit in your cereal.
- Start your day with a homemade smoothie that includes orange juice, berries, spinach, and whatever other flavors you love.
A well-balanced diet is crucial to receiving adequate vitamin C there is no magic elixir for this.
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What Does Science Say About Vitamin C For Specific Health Conditions
Theres no disputing vitamin C is a vital compound needed for the healthy functioning of our bodies. The list of afflictions and conditions vitamin C is suggested to improve or prevent is ever growing, but not all claims are backed by science.
Moore says there is strong evidence that vitamin C helps the body absorb more iron from food, especially nonheme iron from meat-free food sources. Pairing vitamin Crich foods with iron-rich foods for example, spinach with orange segments, or black beans with salsa is especially important for people who are vegan, vegetarian, or anemic, and for women of childbearing age, Moore says.
Foods That Are High In Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin thats found in many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.
It functions as a powerful antioxidant in the body and plays important roles in immune function, neurotransmitter production, collagen synthesis, and more. Getting enough vitamin C in your diet may help reduce the risk of common health conditions like heart disease .
Additionally, Vitamin C is vital for collagen synthesis, connective tissue, bones, teeth, and your small blood vessels .
The current daily value for vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75mg for women.
Deficiency symptoms include higher susceptibility to infections, bleeding gums, frequent bruising and infections, poor wound healing, anemia, and scurvy (
For the purposes of this article, we have used the DV of 90mg for calculating the %DV for the list of foods below.
Here are 20 foods that are high in vitamin C.
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Vegetables That Are High In Vitamin C
Here are some of the foods recommended by the NIH that contain vitamin C, as well as flavonoids and bioflavonoids that work with vitamin C. The following vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C, according to USDA data.
- Bell peppers A 1 cup portion of chopped red bell peppers has 191 mg of vitamin C.
- Red and green chili peppers One red chili pepper contains 64.8 mg of vitamin C.
- Dark green leafy vegetables This includes garden cress, kale, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. For example, 1 cup of chopped broccoli has 81.2 mg of vitamin C.
- Potatoes One medium-size potato contains 17.7 mg of vitamin C.