Why you really need to get more vitamin C

There are loads more benefits to vitamin C than you may already know about. Read on to find out how more vitamin C can help you in more ways than one.

Why you really need to get more vitamin C

What is vitamin C really for?

Vitamin C isn't quite the cold-fighting miracle many people think, but it has countless other important roles in the body. It's critical to the growth and repair of all sorts of tissues, wound healing, the formation of collagen (which supports the skin), and building strong teeth and bones. But of course, it's also an antioxidant, making it useful against just about any disease that involves damage by free radicals to cells, especially those in the lining of the respiratory tract. Stress, age, illness, and smoking increase the body's need for vitamin C.

Conditions it fights

  • Acne
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Anemia and fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Colds and flu

Vitamin C may ease hay fever symptoms

The jury is out on the use of vitamin C to help prevent hay fever, with some studies concluding that two to four grams of vitamin C can reduce symptoms and others finding no such benefits. Because vitamin C is safe to take, it may be worth trying for a month or two to see if it works on your symptoms. Try one to three grams per day in divided doses (for example, one gram in the morning, another in the afternoon, and another at bedtime.) If you experience diarrhea, cut back.

The healing powers of vitamin C

Because vitamin C is an antioxidant with immunity-boosting powers, it's useful in fighting so many conditions. For example, no one is sure how to prevent Alzheimer's, but studies offer clues that getting lots of vitamin C (along with E) from foods may offer a good defence. People with arthritis tend to have more than their fare share of free radicals and therefore should make an effort to get more antioxidants, especially vitamin C.

Vitamin C has also been found to cut cataract risk, and, along with other nutrients, stop or slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in people age 60 and over. And while vitamin C won't cure you of breakouts, the vitamin strengthens cell walls so it can help protect your skin from acne scars. Foods rich in vitamin C also help your body soak up iron, which reduces the risk of anemia and fatigue.

Foods that contain vitamin C

  • Red bell peppers
  • Orange juice
  • Green bell peppers
  • Pineapple/grapefruit juice drink
  • Chile pepper, green
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kiwifruit
  • Cantaloupe

Tips to incorporate vitamin C into your diet

  • Aim for eating enough vitamin C-rich foods to total at least 250 milligrams a day, and preferably 500 milligrams per day.
  • Frozen orange juice contains more vitamin C than the ready-to-drink kind. That's because more of the vitamin C in juice sold in cartons or bottles is oxidized, and the body doesn't absorb it as well.
  • Consider freezing fruits and vegetables that you don't eat immediately to prevent the loss of nutrients, especially vitamin C.
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