Vitamin C is a Nutrient You Can’t Do Without
Ascorbic acid, more popularly known as vitamin C, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s important for many biological processes. It is considered an essential nutrient because our bodies need it but can’t produce it on their own. In fact, we humans belong to a small group of animals – which includes primates and some birds – that need to get vitamin C from external sources. And because our bodies don’t store vitamin C, we need to obtain a certain amount of it from our daily diet.
Many foods contain high amounts of vitamin C. Unfortunately, they’re not all reliable sources of the nutrient because many need to be cooked before they are eaten. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, vitamin C in foods is destroyed by high temperatures and prolonged storage. This is why nutritionists always recommend vitamin C sources that can be eaten raw, such as fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Another reliable source of vitamin C is clean supplements derived from natural products.
Aside from immune function, vitamin C also supports healthy respiratory and cardiovascular functions. In a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers found ample evidence that high vitamin C intake can help people of all ages maintain healthy lung function. According to the American Lung Association, lung function starts to decline gradually after the age of 35. Therefore, eating vitamin C-rich foods or supplementing with vitamin C is a viable way for older adults to support a healthy respiratory system.
Vitamin C is one of the few vitamins outside of the B-vitamin family that offers mental health benefits. Studies show that people who are deficient in vitamin C feel tired all the time and depressed. But dietary interventions, which include supplementing with vitamin C, have been shown to promote a positive mood among these individuals. This suggests that maintaining healthy vitamin C levels is important for supporting good overall health and well-being.
Here are 8 health benefits offered by vitamin C:*
- Supports healthy immune function
- Supports healthy respiratory function
- Supports healthy cardiovascular function
- Supports healthy brain function
- Supports a healthy digestive system
- Supports healthy, glowing skin
- Promotes the absorption of plant-based iron
- Naturally uplifts mood
According to experts, consuming five servings of various fruits and vegetables can provide you with more than 200 mg of vitamin C. Some of the biggest vitamin C contributors in a standard American diet are tomatoes, tomato juice and potatoes. But if you’re looking to expand your sources and add variety to your diet, consider the following vitamin C-rich foods:
- Raw red pepper, 95 mg per ½ cup
- Fresh orange juice, 93 mg per ¾ cup
- Fresh grapefruit juice, 70 mg per ¾ cup
- Kiwi fruit (medium), 64 mg
- Raw green pepper, 60 mg per ½ cup
- Fresh strawberries, 49 mg per ½ cup
- Raw broccoli, 39 mg per ½ cup
- Fresh cantaloupe, 29 per ½ cup
- Raw cauliflower, 26 mg per ½ cup
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