The Surprising Benefits of Vitamin C

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • Cold and flu season has definitely arrived! Everywhere you go people are coughing, sneezing and sniffling. It’s usually around this time of year that you hear the word Vitamin C thrown around – everyone is recommending it to help you get better or to prevent you from getting sick.

    While Vitamin C can help with wound healing, researchers do not agree on its efficacy against the common cold and flu. Some studies report that taking Vitamin C when you are exposed to a virus can prevent you from getting sick or shorten the length of your illness while others report no impact.

    But even if this important nutrient doesn’t protect you against common illnesses, it does have many other health benefits – so break out the orange peeler. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is needed for the growth and repair of tissues throughout your body. It also plays an important role in making skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels as well as contributes to the maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth.
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    Vitamin C is also one of a group of vitamins known as antioxidants. These substances work to protect your body from free radicals, which are cell-damaging compounds that result from mutated cells. The build up free radicals in the body can contribute to aging as well as health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help protect the body from environmental pollutants like second hand cigarette smoke.

    Vitamin C is water-soluble and is regularly excreted by the body so it cannot be stored. For that reason, it is important to consume foods that are rich in Vitamin C daily. Luckily, it is easy to consume adequate amounts of Vitamin C because it can be found in many popular fruits and vegetables. But don’t try to take mega doses of this important nutrient, consuming more than 500 milligrams of Vitamin C at any one time won’t do you any good. Any more than that is either not absorbed or is lost through urination.

    Most people know that citrus foods like oranges and grapefruits are high in Vitamin C, but there are plenty of other foods that can help you get your daily dose. Broccoli, cantaloupe, green peppers, strawberries, sweet potatoes, white potatoes and tomatoes are all great sources of Vitamin C. Other sources include blueberries, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cranberries, mango, papaya, raspberries, red peppers and watermelon.

    So, as you can see, even though Vitamin C may not get rid of your runny nose and annoying cough, there are plenty of other reasons to eat foods rich in this important nutrient.
Published On: January 09, 2007