OK, real quick. What two things pop in your head about vitamin C? Let me guess; those two things are citrus and good for colds. But there’s more to vitamin C than curing colds, and it’s found in a lot of other things besides citrus fruits.
Vitamin C is essential for your body in the repair as well as growth of tissue. It’s uses include forming collagen, absorbing iron, fighting infections and diseases, healing wounds and maintaining cartilage, bone and teeth.
It is an antioxidant, which blocks potential damage from harmful chemicals and pallutants made by breaking down certain foods or exposure to things like radiation or smoke. These free radicals may be linked to conditions like arthritis, heart disease and even cancer.
We are unable to produce vitamin C, and we are unable to store it. So, it’s critical that we maintain a daily diet rich with vitamin C.
You will find some amount of vitamin C in any fruit or vegetable. Coming out on top with the most vitamin C are: cantaloupe, citrus (duh!), kiwi, pineapple, papaya, mango, berries, watermelon, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, cabbage, leafy greens, spinach, sweet and white potatoes (who knew?!), tomatoes and winter squash. These foods, when cooked, loses its vitamin C content.
“Overdosing” on vitamin C is rare (more than 2,000mg/day), but side effects of high doses will typically be diarrhoea or an upset stomach.
Signs that you may need more vitamin C in your diet include:
- Weakened immune system
- Decreased ability to heal wounds
- Bleeding gums
- Dry hair with split ends
- Easy bruising
- Weight gain
- Dry and rough skin
- Painful joins
- Brittle tooth enamel
The recommended vitamin C daily intake for women is at least 75mg, and men are advised to consume a minimum of 90mg daily.