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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 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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