Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin which the body needs to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids with the oral absorption of iron, which the body needs to carry oxygen throughout our bodies. Most people have been advised by somebody to take vitamin C when they have a cold or feel one coming on. It has not been proven yet that vitamin C will keep you from getting a cold or help your cold go away sooner with lighter symptoms. Vitamin C has been proven to cure scurvy which is a rare disease in the United States, but it is due to a deficiency of vitamin C. Symptoms of scurvy include skin discoloration due to ruptured blood vessels, weakness, irritability, weight loss, and swollen bleeding gums, which can lead to loosening of teeth. By taking the required amount of vitamin C daily, it can partly help in preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancers, joint diseases, and cataracts.
The required dosage of vitamin C depends on your age and gender. Men over the age of 18 need 90 milligrams per day, women over 18 need 75 milligrams per day, pregnant women over 18 need 85 milligrams per day, and breastfeeding women need 120 milligrams per day. Infants are able to get their vitamin C through breast milk. Smokers need an extra 35 milligrams per day. Aside from taking a vitamin C supplement daily, there are many foods that contain a high level of vitamin C. Some of these foods include broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, oranges, lemons, brussel sprouts, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C is very sensitive to air, water, and temperature. About 25% of the vitamin C in vegetables can be lost by simply boiling or steaming for a few minutes. This same degree of loss happens in the freezing process, unthawing, and when fruits and vegetables go from a can to being reheated. The best way to get all the vitamin C from these foods is to eat them raw and fresh. Vitamin C can also be lost just when fruits like strawberries are cut, because the air has affected it. It is best to eat strawberries whole.
Taking vitamin C can be beneficial for people with weakened immune systems due to stress, because vitamin C is the most sensitive nutrient to stress people that smoke, alcoholics, and people who are obese really need more vitamin C. Since vitamin C can help your immune system, especially against stress, many people increase their intake for a cold which can actually help keep your cold from turning into pneumonia. It isn’t completely clear why, but people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood have lower risks of having a stroke. For many people that have these higher levels of vitamin C they eat a great amount of fruits and vegetables which have many benefits. Vitamin C helps cells inside and outside of your body keeping your skin more nourished and can help with reduction of wrinkles. Other studies have found vitamin C can help improve macular degeneration (deterioration of the retina, often leading to loss of vision), reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C needs to be included in everyone’s diet, if you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to get your daily allowance, make sure to take a supplement. Other ways to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet would be to puree fruit and add into recipes such as muffins and enjoy a glass of vegetable juice as a snack.
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