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The Importance of Having Vitamin C in your Diet

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 VitaminC

Our bodies need many vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients to thrive though few are as well-known and recognized as Vitamin C.  This water-soluble vitamin also known as Ascorbic Acid plays a huge role in protecting our bodies and keeping our cellular structure intact, therefore making it important to include in everyone’s dietary regimen.

Why Do We Need Vitamin C?

A huge part of what makes Vitamin C such a powerful protective vitamin is its rich antioxidant content.  Antioxidants are compounds that help eliminate the presence of free radicals responsible for cellular damage that cause illness and aging.   The antioxidant content of Vitamin C is what strengthens your defenses against infections and protects you from certain diseases including stroke, heart attack and certain cancer.  Antioxidants can also protect your body’s stores of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A and E.  In fact, many people have taken to increasing their Vitamin C intake whenever they’re stuck with colds”not as a cure (most colds go away on their own eventually) but as a safeguard from more serious manifestations and complications.

Aside from acting as our shield, Vitamin C is also considered an important skin vitamin.  It is essential in collagen production necessary to keep our skin well formed and durable as well as for supporting nerves, tissues and organ structures.  This makes Vitamin C important in rebuilding broken tissues and has been associated with speedier wound healing.  In fact, because of its importance in keeping tissue connectivity, lack of Vitamin C will cause several structural problems such as poor wound healing, loose teeth, bleeding gums, easy bruising and general muscle weakness.  Thankfully, it is rare nowadays to contract scurvy because of the wide availability of Vitamin C sources.

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Also, recent studies show that Vitamin C can also help break down some oxidized fats which can give it a more prominent role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases and vascular diseases.

Where can I get Vitamin C?

Most doctors recommend an intake of at least 500 mg of Vitamin C a day though depending on your nutritional status and your health level, you may actually need more.  There are several fruits and vegetables available that contain a good amount of Vitamin C per serving.   Foods rich in Vitamin C include members of the citrus fruits category such as oranges, limes and lemons, kiwis, tomatoes, cantaloupe and in vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bell peppers. However, despite its wide availability, many find it challenging to consume the required amount of food needed to meet dietary requirements and are turning to oral supplements.

Lastly, while Vitamin C is associated with many benefits, having too much of it is naturally bad news.  The safe upper limit for Vitamin C intake is around 2000 mg though some who have exceeded 1000 mg dietary intake report experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating.  This can be avoided by sticking to the traditional 500 mg Ascorbic Acid supplement and adding extra Vitamin C via increased intake of its fruit and vegetable rich sources.

Make sure you add your intake from natural foods such as citrus fruits into your daily vitamin C count too. Remember that despite how good something may be, too much of anything can be bad for you. Try your best to consume vitamin C foods so that you do not have to worry about taking supplements. If you believe you may not be taking enough vitamin C or may be experiencing some symptoms of deficiency such as unhealthy gums, poor skin etc., your primary target should be to include fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C into your diet as much as possible, if you can’t, supplements will do.

References

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm