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What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin. This means that your body doesn’t naturally produce it, you have to eat it. For men the daily intake requirements are 90 milligrams per day for men and 75 milligrams per day for women. Typically, vitamin C is found in a lot of fruits and vegetables, so if you have a habit of eating lots of veggies and fruits, you will meet those requirements. Vitamin C antioxidant is a powerful compound which helps prevent many types of cancers, heart diseases, and promotes healthy aging. The vitamin is also great for your skin and hence why it’s known as the dermatologist’s best friend.

Vitamin C is one of the body’s most important vitamin C water-soluble antioxidants. It plays a crucial role as it affects our white blood cells (WBCs) and boosts immunity. So what are the foods that generally contain large amounts of vitamin C, and should you take vitamin supplements? We will try and expound on each of these questions and more in this article. So let’s get started.

Functions of Vitamin C

Vitamin C has several important functions. These include:

  • Helping to protect cells and keeping them healthy

  • Maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage

  • Helping with wound healing

Note: A lack of vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy.

Benefits of Vitamin C

1. Helps Prevent Iron Deficiencies:

Iron is an important nutrient that has a variety of functions. It is essential for making red blood cells (RBCs) and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin C plays an important role in absorbing iron from your diet. It assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed, such as plant-based sources of iron, into a form that is easier to absorb. Vitamin C is critical for individuals on a meat free diet as meat is one of the sources of iron.

2. Fights Heart Disease Risk Factors:

There are many factors that increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, high LDL or bad cholesterol, low levels of HDL or good cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. Vitamin C can help reduce these factors, which may help reduce risk of heart disease.

3. Boost Your Immune System:

Vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system.

  • Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes and phagocytes. These cells help protect the body against infections.

  • Vitamin C helps these white blood cells function more efficiently while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.

  • Vitamin C is an essential part of the skin's defence system. It is actively transported to the skin where it can act as an antioxidant to help strengthen the skin's barriers. A healthy vitamin c diet will also shorten wound healing time

4. Prevents Gout Attacks:

Gout is a type of painful arthritis that affects 7% of individuals globally. Gout symptoms appear when there is too much Uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product produced by the body. At high levels, it may crystalize and form deposits in the joints. Vitamin C helps reduce uric acid in the blood and, as a result, protects against Gout attacks.

Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiencies

Ultimately, vitamin C is very important for your health. Unfortunately, a majority of people do not get enough of the vitamin from a healthy diet. This could result in vitamin C deficiencies. A very serious type of vitamin C deficiency is Scurvy. Scurvy can be caused by deficiencies in vitamin C and E. As a result you may see wounds that won’t heal. There are other forms of deficiencies that can manifests in various ways:

  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

  • Perifollicular (excessive hair fall)

  • Haemorrhage (excessive bleeding due to ruptured blood vessels)

  • Fatigue (feeling of lack of energy)

  • Red/Purple blotches (coloured spots recognizable on the skin)

Besides proper diet and nutrition, deficiencies in vitamin C can be caused due to a number of lifestyle and habitual reasons. These could be poor diet, alcoholism, anorexia, severe mental illness, smoking and dialysis. If you suffer from any of the symptoms above, make sure to consult a doctor at the earliest. You may need to consider vitamin C supplements like vitamin C 1000.

Sources of Vitamin C

There are a number of vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamin C. We have listed four common vitamin C rich food items that are a great source of the vitamin.

Serving size

Serving

Amount of Vitamin C

Guava

150 gm

377

Sweet red pepper

150 gm

190

Tomato juice

1 cup

170

Orange juice

1 cup

124

Sweet green pepper

150 gm

120

Hot green chili pepper

150 gm

109

Oranges

1 large fruit

97.5

Strawberries

1

97.6

Papaya

1 small fruit

95.6

Broccoli

150 gm

81.2

Pineapple

150 gm

78.9

Potato

150 gm

72.7

Brussels sprouts

150 gm

74.8

Kiwifruit

1 fruit

64

Mango

150 gm

60.1

Cantaloupe

1 cup

57.3

Cauliflower

150 gm

51.6

Lemon

1 fruit

44.5

Grapefruit

½ medium fruit

39

 

Conclusion

This humble vitamin has many proven health benefits. As it cannot be made artificially or stored in large amounts, it must be consumed regularly to beat deficiencies. The best way to consume vitamin C is through fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, vitamin C supplements can also be taken to make up for the loss in diet. If you see any of the symptoms of vitamin c deficiencies, make sure to consult a doctor who can guide on corrective measures you should take and whether you should consider taking supplements. Having said that, while you take extra care to ensure the right amount of vitamins are included in your diet, health emergencies can strike anytime. Hence, be prepared with a Health Insurance plan

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