How To Include More Vitamin C In Your Diet
Vitamin C is believed to improve one’s immune system, and with the change of season bringing in various ailments, here’s how you can include the vitamin in your diet.
Associated with boosting immunity, vitamin C is required by our bodies for many more functions—but, we can’t produce the water-soluble vitamin internally or even store it in the body for long. This means we need to consume it from natural sources or through supplements in order to meet the daily requirement, which is between 65-90mg per day for adults (this value may change depending on certain factors, such as whether one is a smoker, is pregnant, or is breastfeeding).
Vitamin C plays an important role in the body, and is vital for proper functioning. Some benefits include:
Boosting Immunity: Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cell activity, which is required by the body to fight infections. The assumption that vitamin C can prevent the common cold, however, is not backed by research. But, some studies claim that it can shorten the duration of the ailment, and/or reduce symptoms.
Production of Collagen: Collagen is a protein found in the skin, bones, and connective tissues, and it provides elasticity, strengthens skin and ligaments, and supports the structure of various parts. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, making it an important component of wound recovery and in maintaining healthy skin.
Absorption of Iron: Vitamin C improves the way the body absorbs iron from food, especially the kind of iron that is found in plant foods (non-heme iron). This means that vitamin C can help reduce the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.
Is an Antioxidant: Vitamin C is known to be a powerful antioxidant and can neutralise free radicals, which have been linked to various chronic diseases.
Enhanced Cognition: Some studies suggest that vitamin C is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, and can enhance one’s cognitive functioning.
There are certain warning signs to look out for that indicate a deficiency in vitamin C. It could manifest in prolonged recovery time of skin wounds; hair loss; joint pain; anaemia; bleeding gums; increased susceptibility to infections; bruising; and weak teeth. A very severe vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy.
Since vitamin C needs to be consumed every day because the body doesn’t store it well, here are some sources of it. Including the raw forms of these foods is recommended to get the optimal amount as vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so prolonged cooking can reduce its composition.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and kiwis are popular sources of vitamin C. Even when taken in the form of juices, one can get a good amount of the vitamin.
Bell peppers—yellow, red and green—are another great option to get vitamin C, and they’re versatile enough to be incorporated into various meals, allowing you to meet your daily requirement with ease.
This includes vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. When preparing, try steaming these vegetables lightly in order to retain the vitamin C in them, in case you prefer to not have them raw.
Some fruits like guavas and strawberries are also excellent sources of vitamin C—one guava can help you meet the recommended amount of vitamin C.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend starting you on a supplement. If so, follow their healthcare plan.
At Seva At Home, we produce a wealth of free health information to help elders live healthier, happier lives. This has been produced by independent research carried out by the Seva At Home team. This information is not a replacement for medical advice. Please consult your physician for relevant medical diagnosis and advice.
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