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All You Need To Know About Vitamin C Benefits and Recipes To Boost Your Daily Intake

All You Need To Know About Vitamin C Benefits and Recipes To Boost Your Daily Intake

L-ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, and as such, it can only be acquired from food and supplements, since human body doesn’t store it. Most commonly known vitamin C, benefits include a remedy for the common cold and an aid for iron absorption. Most commonly consumed foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits and tomatoes.

Vitamin C’s role in the body

Aside from supporting the absorption of iron and enhancing immunity, vitamin C’s role in the body doesn’t stop there. It is essential for the biosynthesis of carnitine and catecholamines.  As it also functions as cofactor in the biosynthesis of collagen, vitamin C is responsible for creating and repairing tissue for skin, cartilage, ligaments and blood vessels. Healing wounds and maintaining bones and teeth would be impossible without vitamin C. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps regenerate DNA that can be damaged by free radicals which can cause rapid aging and a number of health conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Vitamin C benefits

Vitamin C has always been an essential part of anti-aging products. Its antioxidant properties serve to block free radicals from damaging the skin and speeding up its aging. As it helps to produce collagen, a protein that makes skin, vitamin C serves to regenerate skin and slow the aging process. Insufficient amount of vitamin C leads to rough, dry and peeling skin. [1]

Lower levels of vitamin C have been known to correlate with building up of plaque in blood vessels which can lead to stroke. A study that lasted for 20 years and included 2,000 Japanese rural residents showed that vitamin C has vital role in reducing the risk of stroke. Participants with higher serum levels of vitamin C had 29% less risk of getting stroke as opposed to those with lower serum levels of vitamin C. The EPIC – Norfolk study that involved 20,649 adults and lasted 10 years had similar findings. Participants with higher levels of plasma vitamin C were at lower risk of stroke by 43%, as opposed to those with lower levels of plasma vitamin C.

Contrary to the popular belief, vitamin C doesn’t seem to have any greater impact on preventing the common cold in regular population. The studies have shown that vitamin C helps to slightly shorten the duration of cold. Its impact on preventing the common cold was quite successful only with population involved in high levels of physical activity, such as athletes, where the regular intake of vitamin C helped to reduce the incidents of colds by half.

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Another little known vitamin C benefit is the reduction of stress and anxiety. One study showed that the increased dose of vitamin C (500 milligrams daily) “reduced mood disturbance by 71% and reduced psychological distress by 51% after an average of 8.2 days.”

Daily consumption recommendation

While vitamin C benefits are numerous and can help to improve many health conditions, not all age groups should take the same amount of it regularly. Daily consumption for vitamin C recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for each age group is as follows:

Children

  • Birth – 6 months: 40 mg
  • Infants 6 – 12 months: 50 mg
  • Children 1 – 3 years: 15 mg
  • Children 4 – 8 years: 25 mg
  • Children 9 – 13 years: 45 mg
  • Adolescent girls 14 – 18 years: 65 mg
  • Adolescent boys 14 – 18 years: 75 mg

Adult

  • Men over 18 years: 90 mg
  • Women over 18 years: 75 mg
  • Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 80 mg
  • Pregnant women over 18 years: 85 mg
  • Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 115 mg
  • Breastfeeding women over 18 years: 120 mg

Since nicotine reduces vitamin C, smokers are recommended to take additional 35 mg daily.

Vitamin C deficiency happens with smokers, people with limited food variety and people with certain chronic diseases such as end-stage renal disease on chronic hemodialysis. The deficiency can lead to scurvy that manifests with fatigue, malaise, and inflammation of the gums.

Higher intakes of vitamin C usually don’t trigger any high-risk effects due to its low toxicity. Most common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.

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Fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C. Small servings of certain fruits and vegetables provide the daily recommended amount of the vitamin. For example, ½ cup of sweet, raw, red pepper can help you achieve the recommended daily amount. Likewise, eating one medium kiwifruit or orange can help you get 100% daily value of vitamin C.

Food rich in vitamin C

1. Sweet red pepper (95 mg in ½ cup)

Although it best preserves its vitamin C values when raw, you can also add sweet red peppers to your favorite salad, or you can consume them grilled:

  • Clean several red peppers.
  • Season them with salt and black pepper.
  • Brush them with olive oil.
  • Place the peppers on hot grill and grill for 3-8 minutes until they soften.

2. Orange (70 mg in one medium orange)

To preserve the freshness and vitamin C values in oranges, they are best consumed fresh or in a juice. For desert, try strawberry-orange salad:

  • Slice one orange and a handful of strawberries.
  • Drizzle with basil syrup for 30 minutes before serving.

3. Kiwifruit (91 mg in one fruit)

Aside from eating raw, fresh kiwifruit, you can make a delicious kiwi-apple smoothie:

  • Peel and cut kiwifruit and apple.
  • Squeeze an orange.
  • Add 1 tsp. honey.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Serve chilled.

4. Grapefruit (78 mg in one medium fruit)

Eat raw, in a juice or make a citrus salad:

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  • Slice grapefruit, lime, tangerine and orange and place them in a bowl.
  • Mix 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 diced bulb of shallot and 1 zested lime in a separate bowl.
  • Tear one head of romaine lettuce, place the fruit slices atop of it and pour the dressing over the fruit.

5. Strawberries (85 mg in one cup)

Strawberries are best consumed raw as a part of a fresh salad:

  • Slice strawberries, kiwifruits, oranges and grapes.
  • In a separate bowl, mix orange juice and honey and pour over the fruit.
  • Refrigerate and sprinkle with chopped mint leaves before serving.

6. Broccoli (102 mg in one cup)

For healthy meal rich in vitamin C, try roasted garlic lemon broccoli:

  • season broccoli florets with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic
  • spread the broccoli out on a baking sheet
  • bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes

7. Brussels sprouts (96 mg in one cup)

Try this healthy Brussels sprouts recipe:

  • Steam Brussels sprouts for 7-8 minutes.
  • Whisk 2 tbsp. walnut oil, 1 tbsp. minced shallot, ¼ tsp. freshly grated lemon zest, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. whole-grain mustard, ¼ tsp. salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Add the sprouts to the dressing.

8. Cabbage (56 mg in one cup)

Cabbage potato soup is an easy to prepare meal rich in vitamin C:

  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add ½ of a head of shredded Savoy cabbage, 3 trimmed and chopped scallions, 3 peeled and halved garlic cloves, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 pound of potatoes, and 3 dried bay leaves.
  • Using a blender, puree the soup until smooth.

9. Cauliflower (52 mg in one cup)

Cauliflower is another good source of vitamin C. For a healthy cauliflower dish, try creamy chopped cauliflower salad:

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  • Mix 3 cups of chopped cauliflower florets, 1 tart-sweet red apple and 2 cups of romaine.
  • In a separate bowl, mix 5 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 small finely chopped shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
  • Toss to coat.

10. Tomato juice (44 mg in one cup)

Finally, tomato juice serves as another healthy source of vitamin C. In order to best preserve vitamin C values, try raw tomato and carrot juice:

  • Juice 4-8 carrots and 5-8 tomatoes in a juicer and enjoy.

Vitamin C supplement

Even though most health professionals suggest acquiring vitamin C from food, a 2013 study shows that there are no significant differences in the amount of vitamin C absorbed from food as opposed to that absorbed from supplements. Most often in the form of ascorbic acid, vitamin C supplements can actually provide more constant values of vitamin C, as the vitamin found in food can be decreased due to cooking. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C are also sources of at least one other vitamin, therefore, keeping a healthy and varied diet is always an advantage.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/ via pixabay.com

Reference

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Ana Erkic

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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