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Natural Vitamin C Food Sources and Health Benefits

Posted on: March 22, 2010

It’s vitally important that we do get plenty of natural vitamin C (with bioflavonoids) in our diets.

Besides protecting you from scurvy, which can kill you fast, vitamin C helps produce collagen. Collagen works like super-glue to keep all the cells in your body where they belong.

Plus, if you get wounded or break a bone, collagen comes to the rescue to help mend and heal.

The Best Natural Vitamin C Sources

Fortunately, C is abundant in most raw fruits and vegetables. We all know that a great vitamin C food source is citrus fruit. But there are many other sources on the fruits list including: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, kiwifruit, papayas, cantaloupe, raspberries, watermelon, tomatoes, pineapples and strawberries.

Good natural vitamin C sources from the vegetables list include: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, pepers, celery, peas, romaine lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, onions, corn, yams, sweet potatoes, chard, cabbage, parsley and asparagus.

Although fruits and vegetables are the best vitamin C food sources, some meats also contain small amounts. These include oysters and organ meats, such as liver, heart and tongue.

Even though vitamin C is naturally abundant in fruits and vegetables, it’s a delicate nutrient.

Broiling, grilling, frying, boiling and lengthy storage can all easily destroy the vitamin C in food. However, lightly steaming minimizes the loss. And since chilled and frozen fruits and vegetables retain their C, it’s best to keep all produce refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to eat it.

Vitamin C Health Benefits

Vitamin C is so important in making collagen, that it’s an essential nutrient for healthy bones, tendons and ligaments. Other important vitamin C health benefits include the prevention of:

* Strokes,

* Diabetes,

* Blood clots,

* Heart disease,

* Atherosclerosis,

* Hair and tooth loss,

* High blood pressure,

* Joint pain and swelling,

* Various forms of cancer,

* High LDL (bad) cholesterol,

* And development of cataracts.

Vitamin C also contributes to a much stronger immune system. This helps to lower your susceptibility to colds, viruses, flu, infections and many other diseases.

Vitamin C Recommendations

The recommendations for vitamin C vary widely. For example, the National Academy of Sciences says the lowest minimum recommended daily allowances (RDA) for vitamin C should be: men 90 mgs, women 75 mgs and pregnant and lactating women up to 120 mgs. Whereas many other health authorities believe the Optimum Daily Allowance (ODA) should be 250 to as high as 3,000 mgs a day.

How do you know you’re getting enough C (ascorbic acid) from food and supplements?

The most common symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, nosebleeds, anemia, tendency to bruising, low resistance to infections and slow healing of wounds.



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