Many people know that vitamin C is great for the fall and winter, as it protects against colds and other cold-weather illnesses.
But this potent nutrient does so much more for the body, from preventing iron deficiency to nourishing the skin.
Here’s a list of some other impressive benefits of vitamin C rich diets.
1 – Reduces Chances of Illness and Disease
Adding foods rich in vitamin C to your diet can reduce your chances of getting sick or developing chronic disease.
This is due to vitamin C’s antioxidant power, which supports the immune system and reduces inflammation. Vitamin C even fortifies the skin’s barrier against germs and other harmful contaminants.
Additionally, vitamin C encourages the body to produce white blood cells. Then it protects these cells against damaging free radicals too! This reduces the risk of developing chronic disease.
Without these free radicals, your body won’t develop oxidative stress, a state connected to a variety of chronic diseases.
2 – Manages High Blood Pressure
Vitamin C may manage blood pressure levels.
This is especially helpful for individuals with high blood pressure, as managing these levels may reduce their chances of developing heart disease.
How does Vitamin C help with blood pressure exactly? Vitamin C may help to lower blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide levels. This expands the arteries and allows more blood to flow through.
Additionally vitamin C has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the cardiovascular system. This helps reducing strokes and other heart problems.
This vitamin also helps your body create a protein called collagen. Collagen is necessary for healthy tissue growth throughout the entire body, including within our vessels!
Here is a Hopkins science article on the link between Vitamin C and blood pressure.
3 – Prevents Iron Deficiency Anemia
Another impressive benefit of a vitamin C–rich diet is preventing iron deficiency and anemia.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, an essential nutrient that helps the body create red blood cells and transport oxygen.
Individuals who follow meat-free diets often struggle with iron deficiency and anemia, as the body doesn’t absorb plant-based iron sources as well.
I’ve told this story many times but back in college I was a vegetarian. Because I did not eat much meat my blood iron levels became too low and I was diagnosed with anemia.
Of course I didn’t know I had anemia, but I felt chronically tired and fatigued. My skin seemed more pale too.
Fortunately, after supplementation and introducing meat back into my diet my blood iron levels improved. I no longer had anemia!
Overall, Vitamin C converts helps iron become a more digestible form that’s easier for the body to soak up. This is one of the most important benefits of Vitamin C!
4 – Nourishes the Skin
Vitamin C does wonders for the skin. Diets and even skin-care products rich in vitamin C contribute to smooth, glowing, healthy skin.
L-ascorbic acid, or pure vitamin C, also brightens and tones the skin while protecting it from sun damage caused by free radicals.
And vitamin C can help with acne, too. Studies show that vitamin C reduces inflammation and encourages the skin to produce less oil. This helps improve the appearance of pores while fighting free radicals.
A vitamin-C rich diet may also promote collagen production in our connective tissues, helping prevent wrinkles or slow their progression.
All these benefits are great for you this winter when colds or other illnesses seem to be unavoidable!
5 – No Scurvy!
Scurvy is a nasty disease that’s caused by vitamin C deficiency.
It was common for sailors to get scurvy during long journeys at sea because vitamin C does not occur naturally in foods. And the vitamin is water soluble, meaning it can’t be stored in your body like fat-soluble vitamins.
Scurvy leads to:
- a weakened immune system
- bleeding gums
- skin blotches or spots/rashes on the skin (from bruising)
- general lethargy
Scurvy also causes muscle spasms, joint pain, headaches and even disorientation as you lose brain function from lack of vitamin C!
Without vitamin c we would all probably have some form of this illness! But … we have Vitamin C to ward off the scurvy!
Without vitamin C, deficiency can cause bleeding gums and poor wound healing due to decreased blood clot production.
This vitamin even fortifies the skin’s barrier against germs and other harmful contaminants.
Foods High in Vitamin C
Did you know Vitamin C isn’t just found in fruits but also vegetables as well? Let’s cover some foods that are high in Vitamin C!
- Kiwi fruit
- Bananas (especially vitamin A) … and so many more!
- Collard Greens
Overall, leafy greens, like spinach or kale, are yet another good option for vitamin C since they’re packed with it.
How to Get More Vitamin C in Your Diet?
- Drink orange juice
- Eat an orange
- Eat strawberries
- Wash your produce thoroughly before eating because pesticides can reduce the vitamin c content
- Avoid overcooking vegetables – this destroys some vitamin c content
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods with vitamin A and beta carotene, which can help promote vitamin C absorption. Examples include dark green leafy vegetables like kale or spinach or watermelon (vitamin A) and sweet potatoes (beta carotene).
How much Vitamin C should you take per day
When it comes to vitamin C, more is better! It’s best if you consume at least 200% of vitamin C recommended for adults.
Fact: our bodies cannot produce vitamin c and we need a constant supply from external sources (food) in order to maintain good health.
Side effects of taking too much Vitamin C
For the most part, nothing bad will happen if you take too much Vitamin C. That’s one of the other benefits of Vitamin C – it’s hard to go wrong!
Because your kidneys will just pee out any extra Vitamin C!
However, we don’t recommend too much Vitamin C either. It’s not likely but there are some cases where too much vitamin C leads to stomach upset, kidney stones, and diarrhea.
If you’re taking vitamin c supplements as part of your diet regimen make sure not to exceed the recommended dose on the label or suggestions from your doctor.
200% Recommended Daily Allowance for Adults:
- Men age 19-70 – 90 mg/day
- Women age 19-70 – 75 mg/day
- Pregnant women age 18+, pregnant teens under 18 years old (preferably up to 100%) and nursing mothers – 120mg/day*
*(This should be split into two daily doses with one before breakfast an one after dinner)
Final Thoughts on Vitamin C
Honestly, don’t dress about it too much. Try to have some more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
If you do want to supplement with Vitamin C it’s fine and not going to be dangerous. The benefits of Vitamin C far outweigh any potential negatives!