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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

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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