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

No comments:

Post a Comment