Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning it can’t be grown by the body. Nevertheless, it has many many roles in your body and has been linked to engaging health benefits.
Vitamin C has received a better deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C is the ideal nutrition marker for overall health, says study researcher Mark Moyad, MPH, of the University of Michigan. The better our understanding of how to several it is in protecting our health, to cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health immunity to living longer.
It is water-liquefiable and found in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
The recommended everyday intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.
While it’s commonly advised to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people turn to supplements to meet their needs.
- 1 Important Sources of Vitamin C
- 2 Health benefits of vitamin C intake
- 2.1 1. May Help Battle High Blood Pressure
- 2.2 2. Vision Loss
- 2.3 3. Heart Disease and Cancer
- 2.4 4. Treats Common Cold
- 2.5 5. Lowers Hypertension
- 2.6 6. Helps reduce risk to chronic diseases
- 2.7 7. Strengthens the immune system
- 2.8 8. Improves our mood
- 2.9 9. Cancer prevention and treatment
- 2.10 10.Reduces risk factors from smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke
- 2.11 11. Anti-cancer Potential
- 2.12 12. Combats Stroke
- 2.13 13. Helps combat weight gain
- 2.14 14. Meals and recipes for a vitamin C boost
- 3 How much vitamin C should I get?
Important Sources of Vitamin C
The most important sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges and grapes. Strawberries, raspberries, cabbages, other leafy vegetables, red peppers, potatoes, broccoli, chilies, watercresses, parsley, brussels sprouts, cantaloupes, mange touts, and kiwi fruits are also rich sources of this vitamin. Cooking food at fewer temperatures and for a shorter time is important to keep the vitamin C preserved and beneficial.
Health benefits of vitamin C intake
The following sections discuss some of the most important benefits of vitamin C.
1. May Help Battle High Blood Pressure
Approximately one-third of American adults have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death globally.
Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in those both with and without high blood pressure.
An animal study found that taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helped reduce blood pressure levels.
Moreover, an analysis of 29 human studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement, on average, reduced systolic blood pressure (upper value) by 3.84 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (lower value) by 1.48 mmHg in healthy adults.
In adults with existing high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.85 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.67 mmHg, on average.
While these results are promising, it’s not clear if the effects on blood pressure are long-term. Moreover, people with high blood pressure should not rely on vitamin C alone for treatment.
2. Vision Loss
There is some evidence that vitamin C supplements may slow the progression of macular degeneration, an aging-related eye disorder characterized by vision loss.
A 2001 study in the Archives of Ophthalmology reported that people at high risk of the disease who took 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, slowed the progression of macular degeneration by 25 percent and the loss of visual acuity by 19 percent.
3. Heart Disease and Cancer
Vitamin C is often erroneously lauded for its ability to fight heart disease and cancer. Much of the misperception has been fueled by vitamin C’s antioxidant properties.
While antioxidants can most definitely reduce the oxidative stress associated with these diseases, there is little to no evidence that vitamin C supplements can directly influence the risk.
Among some of the clinical findings:
- An eight-year study involving 14,641 men over the age of 50 showed that a 400-IU dose of vitamin C did nothing to alter the rate of heart attacks or stroke compared to a placebo.
- A nine-year study involving 8,171 older women demonstrated that 500 milligrams of vitamin C has no impact on the rate of cancer compared to the general population.
- A 10-year study involving 77,721 older men and women also showed no association between vitamin C intake and the risk of lung cancer.
4. Treats Common Cold
A 2013 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that ascorbic acid enhances the immune system of our body, which protects us from cold and cough. The study also showed that when administered regularly, vitamin C reduces the duration of colds. Besides, it facilitates the absorption of iron and, therefore, strengthens the body’s resistance to. It also fights against viruses.
5. Lowers Hypertension
People with hypertension are at high risk of developingdiseases. According to a 2012 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C intake helps in lowering the body’s in the short term.
6. Helps reduce risk to chronic diseases
One of the biggest benefits of vitamin C is its high antioxidant content.
Antioxidants help boost our body’s immune system by protecting it from free radicals and oxidation.
Free radicals and cell oxidation, when left unchecked, can lead to serious chronic ailments.
Research shows that consuming antioxidants like as vitamin C can increment our blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%.
7. Strengthens the immune system
When our body does not get enough vitamin C, our immune system weakens which then can lead to sickness like colds.
One way to prevent colds in the first place is to get enough vitamin C in our diets to strengthen our immune system.
Vitamin C does it three ways:
- It helps our body increase white blood cell production that in turn helps fight infection.
- Improves white blood cell function by protecting them from free radicals.
- Strengthens barriers on our skin by improving its defense system.
Just in case you get colds, consuming vitamin C will only help our body combat this condition.
Take note that it isn’t a cure for colds but it helps indirectly by improving our body’s defense mechanism to fight infection.
8. Improves our mood
There are a lot of factors that determine our happiness – some of them include relationships, performance at work and financial status.
But here’s a factor that research confirms – Vitamin C can help make us happy.
There are numerous studies done on both adults and children that prove that vitamin C can help reduce symptoms of depression.
Our body needs vitamin C to convert dopamine to norepinephrine which is an important hormone that prevents depression and mood swings.
This is a big reason why people who have low vitamin C will show symptoms of depression.
One study reveals that hospital patients who were given vitamin C said they were happier in as little as a week.
In fact, less vitamin C has been linked to depression in older people.
You can check out other studies here, here and here that reveals how vitamin C in varying doses can help deal with depression.
9. Cancer prevention and treatment
In 2017 alone, Cancer.org says that there were 1,688,780 new cancer cases that were diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the US alone.
There is evidence that confirms the positive effect of vitamin C in preventing non-hormone-dependent cancer.
Out of the 46 studies, 33 found statistically significant protection with a high intake convening a twofold protective effect versus low intake.
For the cancer of the esophagus, larynx, pancreas, stomach, rectum, breast, cervix and oral cavity there is evidence of the protective effect of vitamin C.
Studies also express that vitamin C from foods or supplements can also have protective effects against lungs cancer.
There are also clinical studies that show how high-dose vitamin C treatment can help make cancer treatment more workable.
Take note that vitamin C was used in coalescence with traditional cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy.
Recent studies reveal that some patients had a slower progression of the disease.
Other studies say that the side effects of chemotherapy were less pronounced.
Most of the research done was to investigate whether a high-dose of vitamin C can increase the lifespan and quality of life for patients who were undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
10.Reduces risk factors from smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke
Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke can lead to long term damage to the lungs and the overall cardiovascular system.
Research shows that high vitamin C intake can help combat the oxidative damage of smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke.
11. Anti-cancer Potential
According to the National Cancer Institute, some clinical trials have shown that when cancer patients are given a high dosage of vitamin C, they show improved quality of life and fewer side effects. However, other studies say that it is better to abstain from this treatment until the effects are fully studied.
12. Combats Stroke
Vitamin C helps in reducing the risk of stroke, a type of cardiovascular disease. A diet full of vegetables and fruits supplies a good quantity of this vitamin(fruits are lower), which maintains an applicable blood pressure level. It also protects the body from free radicals which could be the reason for the stroke.
13. Helps combat weight gain
A majority of people in the US are overweight. To be more specific that number is at 160 million. One concerning statistic is the rising number of overweight children.
Regular Cost of Vitamin C can help retardation weight gain.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a magic pill that will eat away fat but it does help modulate body weight and adiposity.
One study shows that people who have adequate vitamin C levels in their body can burn 30% more fat when exercising moderately.
In a follow up done after 3 years, the study reveals that regular consumption of vitamin C can prevent weight and abdominal fat gain.
14. Meals and recipes for a vitamin C boost
Vitamin C-rich foods can be a part of nearly everything meal. The following breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas can help a person meet their daily requirement.
Many people have a glass of orange juice with breakfast, but this is high in sugar. In fact, some brands of orange juice contain as much sugar as a soda.
Instead, vitamin C in the morning with some of these breakfast options:
- a smoothie made with plain Greek yogurt, kiwi, and strawberries
- a turmeric and papaya smoothie
- an omelet with chopped red and green bell peppers
- a make-ahead pineapple and a blueberry breakfast parfait
A healthful lunch can help prevent afternoon fatigue and keep energy levels up until dinner. Some ideas for a vitamin C-infused midday meal include:
- a leafy green salad of kale and spinach, topped with mandarin oranges
- sweet potato and black bean chili
- a baked potato topped with fresh tomato salsa
- an avocado and mango salad
Dinner can be a rich source of vitamin C when a person tops vegetables or meats with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
When vitamin C accompanies iron-rich plant foods, the body absorbs the iron more efficiently.
Some dinner ideas include:
- cooked chicken breasts served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- roasted brussels sprouts with lemon and garlic
- cauliflower rice topped with broccoli, garlic, and parmesan cheese
- chili-stuffed peppers
- savory and sweet guava chicken
How much vitamin C should I get?
Some people may need higher amounts of vitamin C than others. People who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke, for example, may require more vitamin C to reduce the damage of the free radicals that the smoke releases.
Other groups who may benefit from a higher vitamin C intake include:
- people who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables or who have a very restricted diet
- people who are unable to fully absorb vitamins and nutrients
- people with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease or cancer
If someone cannot get enough vitamin C in their diet, they can take supplements. Many brands are available in drug stores and online.