Vitamin C is an essential nutrient needed by the body. Also known as ascorbic acid, this water-soluble nutrient acts as an antioxidant which helps protect cells from damages caused by free radicals such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, and ultraviolet from the sun. Vitamin C is also necessary for creating ATP, dopamine, peptide hormones, and tyrosine. It also produces collagen, a protein needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth, gums, cartilage, bones, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels. Aside from this, vitamin C helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from diseases.
What Foods Provide High Amounts Of Vitamin C?
You can obtain good amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods such as:
- Citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit) and their juices,
- Red and green pepper and kiwi fruit
- Vegetables including parsley, broccoli, mustard spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, and snow peas
- Papayas, guavas, strawberries, and tomatoes
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
The amount of vitamin C a person need depends on his age. Listed below are the average daily recommended amounts of vitamin C for different ages:
If you smoke, add 35 mg to the above values to calculate your total daily recommended amount.
Several Health Benefits You Can Obtain From Vitamin C
Gout can be a painful, debilitating condition which in most cases are due to our diet and lifestyle. This is a condition wherein there are abnormally high levels of uric acid buildup which leads to inflammation and joint pain.
According to studies, high levels of supplemental vitamin C can increase the excretion of uric acid by the kidneys.
In a randomized, double-blind study of 184 people reported by Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, it was found that taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C a day over a period of two months can reduce blood uric acid levels.
Moreover, in another study that lasted for 20 years and involved around 50,000 male health professionals, results showed that the higher the intake of vitamin C, the more protection from gout.
How can you get to 500mg through dietary sources in order to lower your uric acid? Easy.
- 100g of Kale will give 120mg vitamin C.
- 110g Broccoli will deliver 100mg vitamin C
- An average sized red bell pepper weighs 160g. Half of that will supply around 145mg vitamin C.
- 100g of guavas will supply a huge 228mg of vitamin C.
- Standard servings of various berries, citrus fruits such as oranges, green leafy veg, a kiwi and peas will all provide around 60-100mg of vitamin C.
In a study involving skiers, marathon runners and soldiers who were exposed to cold temperatures or extreme physical activities, it was found that taking 250 milligrams to 1 gram of vitamin C daily can significantly lessen their risk of developing cold by 50%.
Moreover, the Office of Dietary Supplement also reported that high doses of vitamins C may also help in preventing common cold in chronic smokers and elderly.
According to the reports of the American Optometric Association, AOA, taking 364 milligrams of vitamin C a day can lower the risk of certain kinds of cataracts by 57% in women.
It was also found that by taking high doses of vitamin C along with other high doses of antioxidants, the progression of macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease that causes vision loss, can be slowed down.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, together with surgeon Ewan Cameron, first hypothesized the clinical benefits of vitamin C for treating people with cancer. They conducted a number of case-control studies showing that high doses of vitamin C are associated with a reduced risk of lung, stomach, colon, throat and esophagus cancers.