Importance of Vitamin C and its rich sources
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 17, 2020
A Vitamin that has become more popular in recent times due to Covid-19 situation is- Vitamin C! From boosting immunity to helping your skin, Vitamin C has numerous benefits for people of all ages. And the cherry on top is that it is found in many delicious foods and is easy to incorporate in your daily diet. Here are some interesting facts about Vitamin C:
- Vitamin C is also known as Ascorbic acid.
- It is an antioxidant found naturally in fruits and vegetables
- It is water soluble and one must have daily intake of Vitamin C as our body doesn’t produce or store it.
- Adults need 75mg-90mg of vitamin C per day. Although some may need extra amount of Vitamin C such as pregnant/ breastfeeding women, people recovering from surgery or burns.
- Vitamin C deficiency can cause disease called ‘Scurvy’ which is characterized by bruising, bleeding gums, weakness, fatigue and rash.
- Experts suggested increase in daily intake of Vitamin C during Covid-19 as it increases the immunity.
Let’s look into the benefits of vitamin C in the body in little detail:
- Absorption of Iron: Iron is required for the body to produce red blood cells. These cells are required to carry fresh oxygen throughout the body. It also carries carbon dioxide, the waste product of metabolism, to the lungs. Vitamin C accelerates the absorption of the iron in the body and reduces the risk of anemia. Especially for pregnant and postmenopausal women, this is essential. Vegetarians in comparison to non-vegetarians have higher chances of iron deficiency.
- Formation of collagen: Collagen is a protein found throughout the body, being the primary component of connective tissues such as skin and cartilage. Eating foods rich in Vitamin C is helpful in increasing the levels of collagen in the body. This helps in wounds to heal faster as well.
- Immune booster: Vitamin C is favourite amongst all when it comes to boosting immunity. It is an antioxidant that removes the free radicals responsible for many diseases. Vitamin C helps in stimulating the production and function of white blood cells, known for fighting out infections.
- Lowering high blood pressure: Vitamin C can act as a supporting therapy along with the medications to lower down the high blood pressure by a small number.
- Common cold: It may not prevent colds, but research suggests that Vitamin C can be helpful in shortening the duration of cold and preventing further complications.
- Lowering the bad cholesterol: Studies have shown that LDL or the bad cholesterol can reduce with regular intake of Vitamin C.
- Slowing down the process of skin ageing: Vitamin C which is related to the production of collagen is helpful in reduced/delayed appearance of wrinkles and decrease in inflammation and dryness of the skin. Topical application of Vitamin C along with Vitamin E can be help prevent sunburn.
- Slowing the degeneration in Osteoarthritis: The cartilage degeneration or damage leads to Osteoarthritis and vitamin C can be helpful in the prevention of cartilage loss.
- Increase in metabolism: Vitamin C helps in improving the metabolism which can also help in keeping weight under control.
- Reducing stress: Research has shown that Vitamin C can be effective in stress management as it reduces the release of stress hormones in the blood.
- Prevention of cataract: Vitamin C slows the process of macular degeneration; an eye disorder that leads to vision loss and can reduce the risk of cataract.
Rich Sources for Vitamin C:
Here is the good news! Nature has provided us with many fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C. Few might be currently in your refrigerator. For the rest, choose your favorite from the list and stock them up.
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit are rich in Vitamin C. Oranges itself provides 106% of Daily value of Vitamin C per cup.
- Guava: 1 guava fruit can deliver up to 140% of Daily value of Vitamin C.
- Papaya: 1 cup of papaya can provide your 98% of Daily value of Vitamin C.
- Bell peppers: All three, green, yellow and red have vitamin C out of which yellow has the maximum. 1 cup of bell peppers contains 169% of daily value of Vitamin C.
- Black currants: Half cup delivers 112% of daily value of Vitamin C.
- Strawberries: Per cup delivers 108% of Daily value of Vitamin C
- Broccoli: 1 cup delivers about 90% of Daily value of Vitamin C
- Brussel sprouts: Half cup cooked Brussel sprouts deliver 54% of Daily value of Vitamin C.
Other sources of Vitamin C include: Thyme, parsley, kiwi fruit, kale, Lychees, green chilies etc.
Although Vitamin C is safe and unlikely to cause any side-effects but taking more than 1000 mg per day can lead to diarrhea, stomach cramps, heartburn and nausea for few people. Further higher amounts, over 2000mg of Vitamin C is unsafe and cause more severe side effects such as Kidney stones.