Wednesday, October 27, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup- Is it linked to diabetes and obesity?

Ok, I received a request a couple weeks ago on this topic, but have been swamped, so let's get to it. To start off with the main point, it is NOT responsible for diabetes, nor weight gain. Now let me explain. It is simply sugar, nothing more, nothing less. It is used as the primary sweetener in many of the sweet foods we eat today, and this sugar is included in the grams of sugar listed on the label. High Fructose Corn Syrup is sugar that is actually made form corn, and believe it or not, when absorbed into the blood stream is non-distinguishable from regular sugar. It is absorbed, processed, and released the same away as regular table sugarHigh fructose corn syrup is composed of the same two simple sugars (fructose and glucose) as table sugar, honey and maple syrup. Now I have discussed before that sugar does not cause diabetes. I want to make that the key discussion here, because I get frustrated with parents who bar their children from sugar with the belief it is responsible for this disease.
A little about diabetes:
Type I diabetes is a chronic and life-long disease that is caused by the pancreas's inability to produce enough insulin to keep the body's glucose levels stable. (It is sometimes genetic, but not necessarily). You can't stop it, and food is not to blame for the disease. People with this type of diabetes have a malfunction in their body, unfortunately lower amounts of sugars and insulin are required and the only way to control it. Type II diabetes is another story. It is primarily linked to obesity. In fact, 80% of those that suffer from type II diabetes are obese or significantly overweight and are not physically active, factors for the other 20% include ethnicity, age, and heredity. It is preventable, and when appropriate weight loss takes place, it is virtually like it never existed. Why does obesity cause type II diabetes? Scientifically, there is still a lot of research to be done, but the basics are that as your body weight increases, this means your calories are increasing, and it is harder for your body to process and break down the extra sugar from the excessive calories. This is an article, word-for-word by Dr. John Messmer, MD:

"Do not be misled by the fact that diabetics have higher blood sugar levels than normal. The problem in diabetes is not what is eaten, but how much. For most adults with diabetes, the problem arises from being overweight.
When one eats, the pancreas sends insulin into the bloodstream. There, the insulin stimulates the cells of the muscles and liver to take in the sugar. Sugar is either:
Burned off
Stored as starch in the muscles and liver
Converted into the fat found in fat cells.
All excess calories, whether from sugar, protein, or fat, are stored. Too many calories of any kind causes weight gain. When those genetically predisposed to diabetes gain too much weight, they will produce insulin slower or stop responding to insulin, causing their blood sugar to rise even higher. Once diabetes develops, too much sugar or too much of any food elevates the diabetic's blood sugar. When blood sugar is too high for too long, the body suffers from progressive organ damage.
So, while sugar can be a contributing factor [in the weight gain], too much sugar cannot cause diabetes. Instead, be aware of high caloric intake."

Now back to high fructose corn syrup. Now that you know that is is basically sugar (from corn), and in a lot of sweet foods, that are higher in calories, it should make sense that they should be eaten in moderation. It, itself is not responsible for weight gain and diabetes, if you eat more calories, are less physically active, gain more weight, and genetically have a pre-disposition, you are asking for type 2 diabetes. Be smart in your lifestyle. Make the right choices, and enjoy the good stuff in moderation, not excess. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as "adult onset diabetes", but it is becoming more and more common in children, why? Because children are increasingly less active, eating unhealthier, and more overweight. Simple. Get yourself and your kids off the couch, eat healthier, and maintain a healthy weight. Normal body mass is defined as 18.5 - 24.9. You should attempt to stay within that range to avoid diseases caused obesity. Bottom line, high fructose corn syrup will not kill you. There are no harsh chemicals in it, but it should definitely be considered in moderation due to the caloric content of foods that contain it (after all, it is sugar, and sugar has a lot of calories). Be good to yourself, enjoy life, and don't deprive yourself. Live not in fear of food, but enjoy it.

Jillian <3

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Fear the Holidays- Enjoy them! Don't deprive yourself! Stay fit and Trim this season!

I have received a request to give some input on alternatives to the "good stuff" during the holidays. I am going to go a little more in depth than that, and provide you with some crucial information and statistics that might help you out this time around, and hopefully every holiday season from now on. From reading my previous blogs, you know that the one thing I am against is deprivation. It is all about portion control and replacing a decent amount of the junk with healthy alternatives that will leave you satisfied and not wanting more. You can eat what other people are eating, but I am going to show you how to eat less, and stay full and substitute some of that junk food you know isn't good to have all the time. There are indeed healthy alternatives to take the edge off that Holiday "I need to eat sweets" feeling.

Everybody I know talks about the Holidays and how it is virtually impossible to keep off the pounds during the season. From Halloween to New Years, American's gain an average of 5 pounds or more. It doesn't have to be this way, don't let yourself be the statistic. Another major factor in this is that once someone puts on a pound or two (especially toward the end of the year), they get the "well, I'll just wait until New Years for my resolution and I'll lose the weight then" excuse. It is a vicious cycle, and the saddest part is, this coming New Year turns into next New Year and the next, and the next, etc. People have good intentions, but they self sabotage and then find excuses so they don't feel bad for giving up on their weight loss goals.

Let's start with Halloween. CANDY. You are not alone, I LOVE candy. And it's okay. 2 or 3 fun sized pieces of halloween candy a few times a week or even once a day if you are at a healthy weight is NOT going to hurt you.
One big thing that I am opposed to is depriving children. Please, don't be one of those parents I get angry at and completely deprive your children of the candy or sugar entirely. The 2 main types of parents that deprive their children of sugar and goodies are: 1. They don't want it around them, because they feel like they will gain weight, so it's better for it not to be around AT ALL, and 2. They blame sugar for making children hyper, when it is physiologically proven to NOT play a role in ADHD or hyperactivity in children and young adults. It is also proven that children who are completely deprived of sugar when growing up will act out with emotional eating and become overweight OR feel that they do not deserve good food and it is possible to develop an eating disorder later on life (primarily females). One thing I am grateful for is that my mom never deprived me growing up. She let me have what I wanted, as long as I ate the good stuff first. I see children on a daily basis that are deprived by their parents and they act out aggressively, and also binge on sweets when they have the opportunity away from their parents, neither i a good thing, apparently. Seriously guys, no need to deprive your child, the long term effects will only harm them, and you. Allow them a couple pieces of candy every night or two, AFTER they eat a healthy and balanced dinner. Make it a reward, not an all the time thing or a means to "shut up" or your child. (The main reason for childhood obesity, tomorrow's topic). Throw a piece into their lunch box as a treat during the day. It will not hurt, and it will show them that the occasional piece of candy is not going to harm them. So be good to yourself and your kids, it is okay to have candy in moderation, it won't hurt, but make it a reward, not a given, and not until the healthy food is eaten first.

Thanksgiving- I personally don't believe going all out on a holiday dinner is bad for you. Everybody deserves to splurge every once in a while, no matter what size you are. But if you are making it a habit during the holidays, and over indulging in the left overs, it becomes a problem. Remember portion control. Do not let your foods touch each other on the plate. That will assure smaller portion sizes. Resist seconds. Take a sip of water after every bite or two, that will help fill you up faster, and ice water is actually proven to speed up the metabolism. Avoid the crust of your holiday pies. 1/8th of a pie's bottom crust contains on average about 150 calories, so if there is top and bottom crust, that is 300 unnecessary calories. Attempt to use real fruit, and look for some healthy real fruit cobblers and desserts instead. There are a ton of recipes out there. I'm here to give you the advice, not give you step by step instructions on how to make and what to eat food-wise, so do the foot work.

*Take a walk with the family after meals. Holiday or not. That promotes exercise for the entire family. As I have said before, it is recommended that healthy adults get at least 30 minutes (new recommended is 60 minutes) of moderate activity at least 5 times a week. Don't be lazy, and don't let the turkey get the best of you. You will feel better once you get moving, and burn of some of those extra calories. 1/48th to 1/24th of your day is worth being healthy and fit, don't you think?

Christmas- here we go. Candy, sweets, cookies, pie, junk, junk, junk! From sweets at the office, at school, and at home, it is next to impossible to avoid, or is it? Resist baking during the holidays. If you are having company over, make just enough for them and one serving for you and your family. There is no need to make 3 dozen cookies, and have 2 dozed left over to just stare at you all day long. I'm making sense right? Go buy a pie or a set amount of desserts for guests or for the special occasion. Having left over sweets and high-calorie foods around the house is the biggest issue for people with a sweet tooth attempting to maintain or not gain any weight, especially during the holidays. Keep some trail mix around the house, the kind with chocolate chips is great. Have a handful of then if the other members of your house are eating something sweet and you know that you've already over done it. It will take the edge of the sweet tooth, and fill you up, not to mention provide you with some awesome omega-3s and such. I love Trader Joe's "Happy Trekking" trail mix. 1/4 cup has 160 calories, but if you pay attention to the serving size, it is a good little snack to take the edge of that "I need to fit in my eating junk food" feeling. The trail mix, Flavored yogurts, Jell-O 100 calorie pudding cups (my favorite guilt free snack), etc. are great things to keep on hand while at work, school or other places that you know you are going to be bombarded with temptation. Don't be hard on yourself. If you want to have a cookie or a small piece of pie, it's OK. But you have to remember that it is a treat, a reward, not a multiple time a day treat. Maybe a few times a week. And on the days where you want to be good, carry along your other snacks that will fulfill the cravings you will probably have while seeing other people eat sweets. You don't have to deprive yourself, just eat it in moderation, and if you do have weight loss goals, incorporate those treats into your daily calories. And if people give you See's candy (I know I got like 5 boxes last year), share it, and limit yourself. The box will be there tomorrow, no need to eat the whole thing in a night or two. a few pieces a night to treat yourself after a healthy dinner is sufficient. Don't go overboard because it's there. If it is that big of a temptation, remove it from your house. If you really struggle with weight sometimes you can be triggered, especially if a smaller member of the family or friend is able to indulge a little more than you, that's why having your "sweet & healthy" snacks are key to success.
Don't forget to stay active during the Holidays and don't forget your fruits and veggies and a substitute for the sweets that everyone else is eating- yogurt, pudding, trail mix, but one or two pieces of fun sized candy won't hurt! Be good to yourself, and remember that "Everything is good in Moderation". Don't deprive yourself or your children. Maintain a healthy environment for them and yourself. Enjoy the Holidays, don't fear them. More to come on this topic because I know it is a battle for people of all shapes and sizes. <3

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sugar Does NOT make you gain weight, calories do.

There are different types of sugars. But I'm not going to get into that, this is simply to give my opinion on the good vs. evil sugar debate. And unless you are a biochemist, you are probably fed up with all of the public debates on sugar and whether it is truly good or bad for you. When it comes to gaining weight, sugar is only a key role in an indirect correlation. A majority of high calorie foods are also high in sugar, which means the more you eat, yep, the more weight you'll gain. One teaspoon of sugar is 15 calories. So the more sugar, the more calories. There are negative effects of too much refined sugar on the body, which are noted below. The key to weight loss and weight maintenance is not sugar, it is calories. End of story. 
The average adult female should consume between 1800-2000 calories to maintain their weight, and lower, when losing weight, higher when in need of gaining weight. Men require more, usually between 2500-2800 to maintain. It is never healthier to lose or gain more than 2 pounds a week, no matter what size you are. Losing weight required a cut (from what you are currently eating) of 3,500 calories a week for ONE pound. You would need to cut out 7,000 calories a week to meet the 2 pound goal. 
Back to sugar. Too much sugar is not good for the body, but neither is too little. There is no RDI of sugar. Unless you are diabetic, usually eating candy and things higher in sugar content won't physically health-wise hurt you. As I mentioned before, sugary foods are usually higher in calories, which in turn cause weight gain. If you are eating a something that has 250 calories and has 35 grams of sugar, you are not getting any excess "fat" or weight gain from those sugar grams, but those 250 calories will count towards your desired caloric intake for the day. Too much refined sugar (white, processed sugar) found in soda, candy bars, chocolate, etc. do have negative effects when it comes to the body, when consumed in large quantities on a regular basis. Here are the some researched reasons that "too much" refined sugar may be bad for you.
1.Tooth decay
2.Gum disease
3.Unstable blood glucose levels (normally in individuals with diabetes and hypoglycemia)
4.Chromium deficiency
5.Nutrient deficiency (because sugary foods make you fuller, so then you won't feel like eating the    healthy stuff after)
7. Stress (when your body is releasing the hormones after sugar leaves the body, it produces hormones that may be linked to increased stress- adrenaline, epinephrin, cortisol)
8. Aging (sugar binds to proteins as we get older, which causes harm to skin elasticity which causes us to age quicker)

Unless you are eating high-calorie sugary based foods, you won't gain weight from sugar. Carbohydrates usually contain decent amounts of sugar, but if you refer back to my carbohydrate blog, you will see carbohydrates are not what cause weight gain, it's the calories of foods that contain carbs and the lack of exercise associated with over consumption of carbohydrates. If you are getting your sugars from a healthy piece of bread or a 120 calorie cup of yogurt, there is no downside to the sugar intake. Medically proven. It won't hurt you to eat a candy bar or drink a soda every now and then, but remember that the key word is MODERATION that those calories do count. If you are concerned about sugar, especially if you are diabetic, you would probably benefit from researching the glycemic index, which lists foods in order of how fast a certain food can raise a blood glucose level. Hope this clarify's that sugar is nothing to fear, it's the calories in and the energy out that affect your weight, not sugar and carbohydrates. =]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It IS possible to Eat Healthy "Fast Food"!

You don't know how many times I've heard the excuses for why people simply can't make healthy choices when it comes to meals and snacks, especially outside the home. I have heard them all. They are all excuses for why they eat fast food, but what most people don't understand is that "fast food" doesn't have to be the stereotypical burger, fries, and coke. Here are some of the most popular excuses I hear to why people have an unhealthy diet.
"I don't have time"
"I'm in a hurry"
"My kids are picky and I have to get what they like" (Big NO NO, your kids need to eat what you tell them to eat, or you are telling them it's okay to be unhealthy, this is one big reason childhood obesity is so high).
"I don't have a lot of money"
"It's more convenient"
"I'm too tired to cook"
Well let's put an end to these right now. All of those excuses point toward getting fast food. Now it's what people are getting when they hit the drive-thru that's the problem. Every fast food chain DOES have healthy options. It is actually required now that there are alternative options on most menus at fast food chains. There is nothing wrong with having a burger and fries every now and then, but when people use these excuses to order the most high calorie, saturated fat filled, greasy, artery clogging foods that are just plain not good for you on a regular basis, we've got a problem. AND..if you have children, the chances are they are eating the same or similar things to you and you are leading a very poor example. If you don't have time for a healthy, home-cooked meal, then please get a healthy, quick, fast drive-thru meal. No excuses.
I'm going to provide you with healthy options from probably the most popular and easily found fast food chain, McDonalds. I will also give you what I personally eat here, because I'm not perfect, I DO eat fast food sometimes, and it IS okay. You can use this as a guide to a majority of fast food chains, please, stop with the greasy, high calorie, unhealthy foods and make the healthier choices. The goal of this post is to show you and instill in your brain that food can be "fast" and healthy, without going deep into your pocket or setting your clock back. 
Healthy Options (Alternatives): 

  • Premium grilled chicken sandwich (on whole wheat bun)- 420 cal and 10 g fat WITH everything on it, If you get it plain, just lettuce, you will be shaving about 100 calories and about 5 g fat off of that amount.
  • Snack wraps- Different ones vary between 260 and 340 calories and 9-17 g of fat. 
  • All premium salads- range from 140 (without chicken) to 330 calories with 6-20 grams of total fat. These are without dressing, and the restaurant dressings contain a good amount of calories, I highly recommend paying attention to the dressing you get. Always go with the oil-based dressings, not cream based. (I personally love their low-fat balsamic vinagrette [40 calories per pouch]).
  • Side salad- 20 calories (AND ONLY $1)- have 2 or 3 if you have a big appetite, just watch the dressing, and calories will be included on the back of dressing packets. =]
  • Fruit and Walnut Salad- 210 calories and 7 g of fat.
  • Fruit and yogurt parfait (7oz)- 160 calories and 2 g fat

Please view their entire nutritional list if you have questions about some of your food choices from there. remember the daily recommended total fat (g) is 65g.

When I go to McDonalds, I get the grilled chicken sandwich, plain, nothing on it. Just Chicken, lettuce and whole wheat bun and 2 side salads with low-fat balsamic vinegar. 

Hope this helps you realize there are alternatives to unhealthy fast foods, and your excuses will no longer work now that you know how to get healthy food anywhere you go. <3

McDonald's chicken cesar salad- 220 calories + 190 dressing = 410 calories..perfect meal!  6 g total fat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Product of the Day- VEGAN SNACK/ENERGY BARS!

Two topics today! First off I'm going to introduce what I find to be a phenomenal snack! Healthy, filling, and just, well, amazing! I would like to thank Andrea Schunk for introducing me to these at school! So what are they? They are called "Heart Thrives" and they are a combination of a cookie/bar, but called an energy bar. They are vegan, which means there are no products involving animals, no dairy, no meat, no egg, etc. The only place I have personally seen them is at the bookstore at school, but I hear Whole Foods has them, and Trader Joe's might, I will have to check that one today. I normally eat the lemon poppy seed ones. Each package includes 2 snack bars (and they are really cute, in the shape of hearts), range from about 150-165 calories per heart and the nutritional benefits are astounding. They provide 30% of your daily fiber (which makes it filling), protein, AND calcium. The ingredients include: oats, soy, and dried fruit. They come in a variety of flavors, including: APRICOT, CRANBERRY, APPLE, DATE, POPPY SEEDCHOCOLATE CHIP and RAISIN FLAVORS. 
Here is the Nutrition Label:
You can check out their website for more information at

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today's Topic- Food Irradiation- What is it, and is it safe?

Logo for Irradiated Foods

I have had a request on my opinion on the irradiation of food. Also known as ionizing radiation, it has become an accepted way of preserving food, killing insects and bacteria, and much more with meat, produce, and poultry, grains, and spices. It is not only used in food, it is a widely used method in many areas. Car parts, technical devices, medical equipment, and other things that are a necessity to sterilize also use irradiation. What is it? It is defined as eliminating harmful food-borne bacteria in meats and poultry, and inhibits spoilage by fungus. In the United States, the process typically involves exposing food and its packaging to the energy of gamma rays from radioactive metals. Most of the energy simply passes through the food, leaving no residue. While the food remains, relatively unchanged, bacteria and fungi are killed or left unable to reproduce. Food irradiation was first used on small amount of food in 1963 but until 1992 was not used on raw poultry (to kill salmonella) and 1997 for red meat. In my personal opinion, 13-18 years of being used for things most Americans consume in their daily diet is not a long enough amount of time to see all of the possible side effects down the road on the people consuming these foods, although the FDA claims their safety over and over again. The real question is, do the benefits outweigh the possible and unproven risks this process has?
It is statistically shown that childhood cancer and diseases are increasing, but what is the blame? We really don't know. It could possibly be the toxins in the air, genetics, irradiated foods, cell phones, unhealthy and poor diet, the list can go on and on. Most of these problems are caused by genetic mutations within the human body, which we know, but what causes the mutations can leave people wondering and with a lifetime of guessing. What I do know is that I wish they could find a less questionable and healthier way to sterilize these foods, rather than using ionizing radiation. It is still too new, and scientists do not know (in my opinion) enough about the long term affects (over decades or even centuries) it can potentially have.
There are pros and cons to everything, including the irradiation of food. To food companies, it is considered a miracle. They can produce more food, and increase shelf life while keeping insects and other disturbances from overtaking their products. But whether it's really worth it or not, research may not show for years to come. We can only take the necessary precautions, if it concerns us that much. We can all have an opinion, and no one opinion in particular is better than the other. I am not going to start eating organic raw foods, because is it really going to help me live another 10 or 20 years? Who knows? The majority of us consume these foods. It's not like I don't, some of us may not even have too much of a choice in the matter, depending on the foods your eat and where you purchase them. Ionizing radiation IS FDA approved, in small doses, but is even a tiny amount of ionizing radiation safe over long periods of time? Or is no different than using a microwave? Although the FDA swears it has been thoroughly tested and that there is no harm, many people argue that there is simply no way to know for sure. Back in 1992, Maine, New Jersey, and New York along with several countries prohibited the sale of irradiated foods, but now it has been approved for use by fifty countries (Including ours of course) and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In the United States, many foods are preserved using irradiation; among them are spices, grains, fruit, pork products, beef, and poultry. NASA also uses irradiated foods up in space, f.y.i. While many foods can show being (safely) irradiated without any noticeable changes, a recent consumer report on irradiated meat did note "that the flavor of both beef and chicken had a subtle and off-taste and smell, but that many consumers might not notice". Another PROVEN issue with irradiation is the fact that a few nutrients (Vitamins A, E, K and thiamin) seem to be affected and depleted during irradiation. Losses of these nutrients are only comparable, though, to what would be lost in conventional processing and preparation. Here are some opinions on both the pros and cons of food irradiation.


Pathogen Elimination Pros & Cons:


  • Irradiation can kill or substantially reduce the number of potentially dangerous organisms in foods.  Estimates range for 90 to 99.9%.
  • Irradiation can kill insects and pests infesting foods such as grains and flours without leaving chemical residues.
  • Irradiation can be used to sterilize food for immune-compromised individuals such as AIDS patients.


  • Irradiation at recommended doses will not eradicate all pathogens. The remaining organisms are by definition "radiation resistant" and may create super strains of hard-to-kill pathogens.
  • Irradiation at current allowable levels is ineffective against viruses such as the Norwalk virus found in seafood.
  • Irradiation can only be used on a limited number of foods.  Fresh produce such as lettuce, grapes, tomatoes, and cucumbers turn mushy and unpalatable.  Thus, the risk from contaminated fresh produce, a major carrier of food borne disease, cannot be fully addressed by irradiation.

Chemical Changes in Foods


  • Irradiation has been deemed safe by various governmental agencies.
  • Proponents of irradiation compare the changes in food caused by irradiation (called radiolytic products) to products created by other processes such as cooking or freeze-drying.
  • Irradiation delays ripening and sprouting so food can be stored longer.


  • Studies used to approve irradiation in food have been criticized as flawed.   Even the FDA acknowledges that the studies are inadequate when reviewed singly.
  • Critics  contend that not enough is known about the potential health effects of radiolytic products, particularly about radiolytic products formed from pesticide residues on foods.
  • Longer shelf lives may provide the most benefit to food producers; consumers prefer authentically fresh foods.

Environmental Impact


  • Proponents claim there is no potential for environmental impact because the radioactive materials are fully enclosed and are returned to the manufacturer for recycling or disposal.
  • Proponents cite a good safety and regulatory record for existing irradiation facilities.


  • Consumers remain wary of the potential for devastating accidents presented by nuclear facilities
  • If irradiation is adopted to the extent desired by its proponents, hundreds more irradiation facilities (currently there are only several used for commercial foods) would need to be built, increasing the risk of accidents.

Nutrition of Irradiated Foods


  • Proponents argue that the nutrient losses from irradiation (such as 25% reduction in vitamin E, a 5-10% reduction in vitamin C, as well as decreases in vitamin B1) are no worse than those produced by cooking and other conventional treatments.


  • Unlike losses due to conventional processes like cooking, consumers have not been educated to compensate for irradiation-induced losses elsewhere in their diets.
So there you have it, make your decision based on the information give to you. And note: It is required that all irradiated foods have a logo with the words "treated by irradiation" below it.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's been a while! Let's start back up with Vitamin C BABY!

So, it's been a week since my last post. I apologize and am officially going to get back on schedule this time! Life has stepped in and I've been overwhelmed with school among other things, so let's take it where we left off, the importance of Vitamin C!

Vitamin C is one of those things that is so important to the overall function of the human body. It's most important function originally recognized was in the prevention of Scurvy, a disease characterized by the breakdown and bleeding of the body's tissues. Hundreds of years ago, Scurvy over took sailors, and caused the deaths of many of them. It was researched in 1740 by Dr. James Lind that citrus fruits could prevent scurvy, but at that time, he didn't know it was because of their high Vitamin C content. All sailors were provided a daily lemon ration and Scurvy seemed to no longer be a problem. It wasn't until 1930 that Vitamin C was discovered and identified as a nutrient. Although scurvy is rarely seen today, people that eat a "junk food diet" consisting of chips, crackers, cookies, soda, and burgers often become deficient in Vitamin C. 

Roles of Vitamin C (as seen nutritionally):
Collagen- Vitamin C plays a key role in the synthesis of collagen. It is a protein and a critical components of all connective tissues in our bodies, including bone, teeth, tendons, skin, and blood vessels. It also prevents burises and ensures proper wound healing (including scar tissue and component in tissue that mends broken bones). Without consuming enough Vitamin C, our bodies cannot form collagen, and tissue bleeding is a major symptom when deficient.  Also very efficient in gum health! Ask your dentist! If you have bleeding gums, it is often a sign that you are lacking adequate amounts of Vitamin C!

Antioxidant- Most of you have heard all about antioxidants on the news and heard how great they are, but do you know what they actually do? They donate electrons to free radicals (cancer causing agents) in your body and help stabilize those little guys from running a muck in your body. We will talk more about antioxidants another day :). 

Immunity- Vitamin C enhances our immune response, helping in guarding us from infection on illness. But if you already become sick, it is too late to take vitamin C and get better, contrary to popular belief. It is a preventative measure, not a cure. 

Absorption of iron- Vitamin C enhances the absoprtion of iron.. It is recommended that people with anemia or low iron stores consume vitamin C rich foods along with iron sources to improve the absorption in your body. 

Now that you know all the good things Vitamin C does for you, how much should you have, and what is too much? The Recommended Dietary Allowance may surprise you (not as much as many believe) and are as follows:
Men: 5-90 mg/day
Women: 5-75 mg/day
SMOKERS (you guys need more): 5-35mg/day MORE than the RDA.
UL (upper level intake): 2,000mg/day (this means the amount that can be tolerated by the body)

How can you get Vitamin C?
The most obvious well known source is orange juice and citrus fruits (but believe it or not, they are not the highest Vitamin C containing options). Fresh orange juice (8oz is sufficient for the day-120mg) and grapefruit juice (8oz-90mg) are two options. Oranges themselves actually have the least amount of vitamin C out of the other choices I list. (Medium orange- about 70mg). The highest amount of Vitamin C may surprise you, but is found in red bell peppers! 1 cup of raw red peppers has 180 mg of Vitamin C.
 Other good sources include green peppers, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, and kiwi.

So go get your vitamin C, and think about the benefits to your body when you make that choice. <3