Orange pieces during sports break, broccoli on your dinner plate and tomatoes snuck into your cheese sandwiches for lunch… Maybe your parents were onto something special….
Yes, vitamin C lurks in each of these three foods, and more. We’ll get to important food sources in a moment, but first let’s talk about what it is and how this nutrient can, quite literally, help to save your life.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin with a super power; its anti-oxidant nature.
See humans require dynamic stability; an ability to maintain balance in a changing world. Our cells are the same. When we look down deep into our atoms, we find a nucleus surrounded by moving electrons, much like looking at the moons that travel around some planets. Jupiter, anyone?
We can think of electrons as the perfect love match; always seeking to exist in pairs. This pairing provides support and is how we remain well.
Free radicals are generated within us via normal and abnormal processes, different biological conditions or states of pathology. These free radicals are like electron Casanova’s. They seduce and abscond with an electron, leaving its pair alone, unpaired, and open to potential damage.
This is where Vitamin C comes to the rescue.
This nutrient is able to swan in and donate one of its electrons to re-pair the solitary electron and so, repair the coupling before any destruction occurs.
If our free radical levels overwhelm our antioxidant defenses a process called oxidative stress results, where the unpaired electrons have no stabilizing electrons donated and so seek them out from other sources — and other tissues — looking to steel an electron for re-pairing. This causes damage to tissues.
With conditions like cancer, heart disease, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, depression and Diabetes being linked to oxidative stress, we can see the critical role Vitamin C plays. In fact, a study published in Pharmacognosy Review reported that oxidative stress may also be linked to:
“Arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischemia), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases.”
So this begs the important question…
What foods contain high levels of vitamin C?
The most common answer given is oranges. And while this is true, there are other foods that contain even higher levels.
This low glycemic load tropical fruit is a wonderfully tasty way to boost your vitamin C levels, with more than four times the vitamin C of oranges.
These peppers come in shades including yellow, red and green. They can be added in cooking, salads or eaten, as my niece does, like the fruit it is. She likes to eat the green ones as you would an apple! Organic may give you the most vitamin C hit for your bite.
A study by Brevik and team found that daily consumption of one kiwi fruit, also called the Chinese gooseberry, increased plasma Vitamin C and strengthened resistance against oxidative damage. Now that’s a fruit with a positive punch!
There’s no need to justify eating these divine little packets of happiness. With slightly more Vitamin C than oranges, include them regularly in your food plan. Then tell everyone that, unfortunately, you can’t share because its therapy.
As vitamin C is a well heard of nutrient, its importance can be overlooked; undervalued. Yet its antioxidant value is critical in our ability to get and stay well. That’s why Moms and Dads have been forcing this nutrient into us at times of ill health since childhood. Science has caught up, and it seems they were right all along!