Vitamin C Health benefits, Sources, Side effects and more

VITAMIN-C

Vitamin C is a miracle vitamin. It does wonders for the body.  

Vitamin C is also called L- ascorbic acid. Being a water-soluble vitamin, it dissolves easily in water. Our body poorly stores this vitamin. It has to be acquired through diet as the body is not capable of producing its vitamin C.  

Citrus fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C. This vitamin is also available as a supplement.

Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the body protect against free radical damage. Long before modern science and research, people used citrus to treat various health conditions.  

Vitamin C holds a role in healing wounds and preventing infections. Adding vitamin C to the diet can help reduce common health conditions, including heart attack.

What role does vitamin C play in the body?

Vitamin C is important for the body to function smoothly. It is required for the growth of tissues and repairing tissues in the body.

Vitamin C plays a major role in:

  • Creating protein to make tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
  • Heal scars and wounds.
  • Improve bone health- Maintain and repair cartilage.
  • Help in iron absorption.

As vitamin C is an antioxidant, they fight against the damage caused by molecules known as free radicals. Free radical build-up can speed up the aging process and can also increase the chances of developing heart diseases.  

Vitamin C has been used for centuries to treat the common cold. It is a natural treatment given to people who exhibit mild symptoms of a cold. However, there is very little evidence relating to the cure of cold.

Vitamin C can help in lowering the risk of heart diseases. It is also believed that vitamin C can help manage high blood sugar levels. This is possible as this antioxidant fights against LDL cholesterol.  

The LDL cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol. If it accumulates in the arteries, it can cause heart attacks. Vitamin C helps fight against it. Further research is needed to support the statement.

How much vitamin C can be consumed? 

 The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for an average healthy adult is 90mg per day. During pregnancy or lactation, the body may require more vitamin C.  

Natural sources are sufficient to meet the RDA of an individual. However, a doctor can also suggest vitamin supplements for people with specific health conditions.

Acquiring vitamin C

As the body cannot produce vitamin C, it has to be acquired through dietary sources or as supplements. Vitamin C is abundantly found in various foods. Some of the foods that are high in vitamin C are:

Lemons

Very often we can relate vitamin C and citrus fruits. Ages ago lemons were given to sailors to prevent scurvy. The sole reason is that one raw lemon can provide up to 45 mg of vitamin C that can cover up to 50% of the daily requirement.

Red peppers 

Red peppers offer ample vitamin C. They can offer up to 100 mg of vitamin C per cup. Apart from vitamin C, red peppers offer vitamin A, B, E and K. This vegetable is also rich in minerals like potassium, manganese, phosphorous and magnesium.

Kiwis

Kiwis are fruits that are relished as a delicacy around the world. This fruit is packed with 75mg of vitamin C. The vitamin content in the fruit depends on its size.  

Kiwis contain more vitamin C than oranges. The green fruit is loaded with flavonoids and carotenoids. These are antioxidants that protect the skin from free radical cell damage.

Oranges

The bright coloured fruit is known for its vitamin C content. A big serving of oranges has enough vitamin C to cover the daily requirements of an individual. Oranges are tasty and offer a wide profile of health benefits.  

Strawberries

The bite-sized fruit is fantasy in the real world. Strawberries treat the person consuming them with an irresistible taste and an abundance of vitamin C and fibre. They are also rich in antioxidants. As they are of low calories, they are an excellent option for a mid-day snack.

Broccoli

One cup of cooked broccoli can offer up to 75-100 mg of vitamin C. Broccoli is loaded with fibre and antioxidants. They are abundant in various nutrients that fight inflammation.

The effective way to consume broccoli is to steam it. Steaming can help retain the nutrients better compared to other forms of cooking.

Tomato

The red, bright, and juicy fruit offer 20 mg of vitamin C. A medium-sized tomato can offer such a quantity of vitamin C is consumed raw. Cooking will reduce the level of vitamin C in the fruit.

 However, cooking tomatoes will increase the level of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is useful for the body.

Potato

Medium-sized baked potato contains approximately 15-20mg of vitamin C. Potatoes are also rich in potassium and fibre. Frying potatoes can decrease the nutritional value and also add calories. Baking them in an oven would be a better option.

Cauliflower

One cup of this beautiful vegetable contains around 30 – 40 mg of vitamin C. It is also a fine source of fibre, folate, and vitamin K. Cauliflower can be boiled, steamed, broken down to use as a substitute for rice, and also used to make various curries.

Papaya

Papaya boasts of offering large quantities of vitamin C. This fruit contains 90-100 mg of vitamin C. It can cover the daily requirements of vitamin C required by an individual. Papayas also offer plenty of carotenes, flavonoids, vitamin B, folate, magnesium, potassium and fiber.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts offer 100mg of vitamin C per cup. One cup of cooked brussels sprouts can offer adequate vitamin K, fibre and other nutrients.  

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants offer around 90 mg of vitamin C per 50 grams. They are flavorful and are packed with antioxidant flavonoids that give them their dark colour. Moreover, these fruits are consumed to fight against chronic inflammation.

Apart from these natural sources, vitamin C can also be acquired through supplements. These supplements should be consumed under medical supervision. Overdosing can also cause harm to the body.  

Consuming the right quantity of vitamin C can offer various benefits to the body.

What are the benefits of vitamin C in the body?

The water-soluble compound does many good to the body. They play an integral part in improving overall health. Some of the proven benefits of Vitamin C are,

Reduce the risk of chronic diseases

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It can increase the strength of the body. The antioxidants boost the immune system.  

The immune system is the body’s natural defence mechanism which fights against foreign agents in the body. Foreign agents are harmful and can also cause oxidative stress damage.  

Various studies show that consuming adequate vitamin C can increase the antioxidant level in the body. These molecules will fight against the damage caused by free radicles.  

Managing blood pressure

Having high blood pressure can increase the chances of getting a stroke or heart attack. Studies done on a group of people had results applauding vitamin C for lowering the blood pressure in the body.

Health care providers can suggest vitamin C supplements to manage blood pressure.  

Heart health

Heart diseases are said to be one of the leading causes of death globally. Various factors like high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol level can cause heart problems.  

Vitamin C from natural sources can help reduce the chances of developing heart diseases as it helps fight the above-mentioned factors. However, there are various other contributors to improving heart health that must not be neglected.

Reduce uric acid levels and prevent gout

Gout is a type of Arthritis. It causes inflammation of the joints and is painful. Gout happens when there is too much uric acid in the blood.  

Vitamin C can help reduce the uric acid level in the blood and help prevent gout. Even though there is a link between vitamin C and uric acid levels, more studies are required to understand how it reduces the acid levels in the blood to support the claims.

Prevent iron deficiency

Iron is a mineral that is required by the body to perform various essential functions. Oxygen transportation and red blood cell formation are done with the help of iron.  

Lack of iron can cause iron deficiency. Iron, just like vitamins, is to be obtained from natural sources or supplements. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron.  

Vitamin C assists the body to absorb the iron that is poorly used in the body. Iron obtained from meat-free sources is difficult to absorb. This is where vitamin C helps people absorb iron from plant-based sources.

Boost immunity

One of the major reasons people consume vitamin C supplements is the belief of improving their immunity. This is possible as vitamin C helps the body produce white blood cells.  

These cells protect the body against various infections. Vitamin C also helps in improving the functions of WBC.  

This miracle vitamin is a hit ingredient in the cosmetic industry because of the benefits it has to offer to the skin.  

All these factors are put together to improve the immunity of the body and enhance the overall well-being of a person.   

Protects memory and thinking during ageing

Dementia refers to poor thinking and memory. It usually occurs in older people. It is linked due to oxidative damage. A low level of vitamin C in the body can increase the chances of thinking disorders like dementia.  

Consuming foods rich in vitamin C can help reduce the chances of developing such disorders.  

What are the side effects of consuming too much vitamin C?

Being taken at optimal doses, vitamin C or vitamin C supplements are generally safe; however, consuming too much vitamin C can cause side effects making it uncomfortable for a person.  

It can make a person exhibit symptoms like

Even though this vitamin is essential for the body, it must be consumed in the right doses.  

To sum up

Vitamin C plays a vital role in the body. It is essential for the smooth functioning of various activities the body performs. This water-soluble vitamin is delivered to the tissues obtained from dietary sources or supplements as the body cannot produce its own.

FAQ’s

1.How much vitamin C do I need daily?

75 mg of Vitamin C is recommended daily however the need for vitamin C during pregnancy might increase to 120 mg per day.

2.Can vitamin C help treating the common cold?

For many years vitamin C has been studied and experts have found very little or minimal benefits from vitamin C in preventing or treating the common cold.

3.Do people who smoke need more vitamin C?

Smoking is not advised however smokers have a lower level of vitamin C in their body. Consuming vitamin C supplements with medical monitoring is a good idea for people who smoke.

4.Can we take vitamin C on an empty stomach?

A person can consume vitamin C supplements at any time of the day when vitamin C is consumed on an empty stomach it can cause slight irritation to the GI tract however some people may experience cramping and gas formation.  

5.What is the best time to take vitamin C?

Vitamin C can be consumed at any time of the day. There are no specific timings that can increase or decrease the fracture or side effects caused by its acidic nature.  

6.What food is high in vitamin C?

Fine sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussel sprouts and potatoes.

7.What is vitamin C good for?  

Vitamin C is a water-soluble acid that helps protect cells and keep them healthy, maintain healthy skin, improve blood circulation, and enhance bone and cartilage health.

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