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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

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

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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