Best Food With Vitamin C

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Our Vitamin C Food Recipe ebook will help to keep your body healthy and fit. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that boosts immune function, keeps skin looking youthful and vibrant and helps protect against cardiovascular disease. The recipes in this ebook include a variety of options such as smoothies, desserts and other food staples that are sure to fit into your diet.

Best Food With Vitamin C

Is a glass of OJ or vitamin C tablets your go-to when the sniffles come? Loading up on this vitamin was a practice spurred by Linus Pauling in the 1970s, a double Nobel laureate and self-proclaimed champion of vitamin C who promoted daily megadoses (the amount in 12 to 24 oranges) as a way to prevent colds and some chronic diseases.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it dissolves in water and is delivered to the body’s tissues but is not well stored, so it must be taken daily through food or supplements. Even before its discovery in 1932, nutrition experts recognized that something in citrus fruits could prevent scurvy, a disease that killed as many as two million sailors between 1500 and 1800. [1]

Vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections and healing wounds, and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals. It is needed to make collagen, a fibrous protein in connective tissue that is weaved throughout various systems in the body: nervous, immune, bone, cartilage, blood, and others. The vitamin helps make several hormones and chemical messengers used in the brain and nerves. [2]

While megadosing on this vitamin is not uncommon, how much is an optimum amount needed to keep you healthy, and could taking too much be counterproductive?

Recommended Amounts

  • RDA:  The Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults 19 years and older is 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg for women. For pregnancy and lactation, the amount increases to 85 mg and 120 mg daily, respectively. Smoking can deplete vitamin C levels in the body, so an additional 35 mg beyond the RDA is suggested for smokers.
  • UL:The Tolerable Upper Intake Level is the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause harmful effects on health. The UL for vitamin C is 2000 mg daily; taking beyond this amount may promote gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. Only in specific scenarios, such as under medical supervision or in controlled clinical trials, amounts higher than the UL are sometimes used. [2]
Vitamin C Tablet

Vitamin C absorption and megadosing

The intestines have a limited ability to absorb vitamin C. Studies have shown that absorption of vitamin C decreases to less than 50% when taking amounts greater than 1000 mg. In generally healthy adults, megadoses of vitamin C are not toxic because once the body’s tissues become saturated with vitamin C, absorption decreases and any excess amount will be excreted in urine. However, adverse effects are possible with intakes greater than 3000 mg daily, including reports of diarrhea, increased formation of kidney stones in those with existing kidney disease or history of stones, increased levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout), and increased iron absorption and overload in individuals with hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition causing excessive iron in the blood.

Absorption does not differ if obtaining the vitamin from food or supplements. Vitamin C is sometimes given as an injection into a vein (intravenous) so higher amounts can directly enter the bloodstream. This is usually only seen in medically monitored settings, such as to improve the quality of life in those with advanced stage cancers or in controlled clinical studies. Though clinical trials have not shown high-dose intravenous vitamin C to produce negative side effects, it should be administered only with close monitoring and avoided in those with kidney disease and hereditary conditions like hemochromatosis and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.

Vitamin C is involved with numerous metabolic reactions in the body, and obtaining the RDA or slightly higher may be protective against certain disease states. However, a health benefit of taking larger amounts has not been found in people who are generally healthy and well-nourished. Cell studies have shown that at very high concentrations, vitamin C can switch roles and act as a tissue-damaging pro-oxidant instead of an antioxidant. [2,3]Its effects in humans at very high doses well beyond the RDA are unclear, and can lead to increased risk of kidney stones and digestive upset.

Vitamin C and Health

There is interest in the antioxidant role of vitamin C, as research has found the vitamin to neutralize free radical molecules, which in excess can damage cells. Vitamin C is also involved in the body’s immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells. Does this translate to protection from certain diseases?Chronic diseasesAge-related vision diseasesThe common cold

Food Sources

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of this vitamin.

  • Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit)
  • Bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)
  • White potatoes

Signs of Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency is rare in developed countries but may occur with a limited diet that provides less than 10 mg daily for one month or longer. In developed countries, situations at greatest risk for deficiency include eating a diet restricted in fruits and vegetables, smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, and drug and alcohol abuse. The following are the most common signs of a deficiency.

  • Scurvy, the hallmark disease of severe vitamin C deficiency, displays symptoms resulting from loss of collagen that weakens connective tissues:
    • Skin spots caused by bleeding and bruising from broken blood vessels
    • Swelling or bleeding of gums, and eventual loss of teeth
    • Hair loss
    • Delayed healing of skin wounds
  • Fatigue, malaise
  • Iron-deficiency anemia due to decreased absorption of non-heme iron
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Did You Know?

  • Vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant foods such as leafy greens. Drinking a small glass of 100% fruit juice or including a vitamin-C-rich food with meals can help boost iron absorption.
  • Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat and light. High-heat cooking temperatures or prolonged cook times can break down the vitamin. Because it is water-soluble, the vitamin can also seep into cooking liquid and be lost if the liquids are not eaten. Quick heating methods or using as little water as possible when cooking, such as stir-frying or blanching, can preserve the vitamin. Foods at peak ripeness eaten raw contain the most vitamin C.

Top Foods High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is an essential part of your diet. Although some animals can produce their own vitamin C, humans have to get it from other sources.

Vitamin C is found in many fresh fruits and vegetables, but can also be made into dietary supplements. Research suggests that eating foods rich in vitamin C supports healthy function of your immune system, maintains your bones, teeth, and cartilage, and helps your body heal wounds.

Why You Need Vitamin C

Vitamin C is involved in the development and function of various body parts. It helps your body produce essential compounds (collagen L-carnitine and neurotransmitters) that help your nerves, heart, brain, and muscles function and your body produce energy.

Vitamin C also helps restore antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants prevent cell damage that can lead to diseases. It also helps your body metabolise protein and absorb iron.

Adults aged 19 to 64 need about 40 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day. If you eat the right foods, you can easily get your daily value from your regular diet. 

Although vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare, it can lead to the disease called scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and sadness
  • Severe joint of leg pain
  • Swollen, bleeding gums
  • Red or blue spots on your skin
  • Your skin bruising easily

On the other hand, too much Vitamin C may cause stomach pain and other digestion issues. However, overdose of the vitamin is not a concern as it is not stored in your body.

Some health benefits of Vitamin C are:

Wound Healing 

Vitamin C is needed for the biosynthesis of collagen, which is a protein that is an essential component of connective tissue. Because of this, Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing.

Immune Function

Vitamin C contributes to immune defense against disease and infections. Vitamin C deficiency impairs your immune system and increases your risk of getting infections.

Maintenance of Bones, Teeth, and Cartilage

Vitamin C helps repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, and cartilage (the rubbery material that covers the ends of bones). 

Vitamin C might also reduce the risk of cartilage loss in people with osteoarthritis. 

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Foods With Vitamin C

  1. Cantaloupe
    Cantaloupe is a rich source of vitamin C, with 202.6 mg of the vitamin in a medium-sized melon, and 25.3 mg in one slice.  
  2. Citrus Fruits
    Raw citrus fruits are very high in vitamin C. One medium orange provides 70 mg of Vitamin C, while one grapefruit provides about 56 mg. Citrus fruit juices contain even higher amounts of vitamin C, with a 225 mg glass of orange juice providing around 125 mg of vitamin C.
  3. Broccoli
    Surprisingly, a cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an orange. Broccoli is a good source of other vitamins and minerals, such as: 
    • Calcium
    • Iron
    • Phosphorous
    • Potassium
    • Zinc
    • Thiamin
    • Riboflavin
    • Niacin
    • Folate
  4. Red Cabbage
    Red cabbage, also called purple cabbage, is high in vitamin C and low in calories. A half-cup contains only 14 calories but almost half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It is also a rich source of fiber and other vitamins.
  5. Kiwi
    One serving of kiwi contains most of your recommended daily intake. Studies have also shown that adding kiwi to a marginal vitamin C diet largely improves plasma vitamin C levels.
  6. Bell Peppers
    All varieties of peppers are low in calories and high in nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Bell peppers have more nutrients than other peppers because they are kept on the vine longer. Red bell peppers have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C than green bell peppers. 

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