Vitamin C is a popular antioxidant and it is often supplemented during cold and flu season, due to its reputation as an immune booster. It also helps maintain vibrant skin and helps keep joints healthy since it is involved with the production of collagen.
It is an essential water-soluble vitamin, meaning that our bodies don’t produce it, so we have to acquire it from our diet – but luckily it is found in many foods!
Immune System – One of the many functions of Vitamin C is helping with the production of white blood cells, which are our body’s natural defense against infections. It is also an antioxidant, which helps protect your cells from free radicals. These functions help keep your immune system healthy and why it’s such a popular supplement during cold and flu season.
Iron absorption – Iron is an essential nutrient that is needed to form red blood cells and for the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. An iron deficiency can actually result in anemia and while iron is available in both animal products and plants, some forms of iron, particularly those found in plants are more difficult for our bodies to absorb. When taken together, Vitamin C helps the body convert iron into a more absorbable form. Studies have shown that 100mg of Vitamin C a day can increase iron absorption up to 67%.
Memory boost – Studies have shown that both inflammation and oxidative stress can contribute to the development of dementia and as we already know, Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant. Some studies have demonstrated that not only do many people with dementia have low levels of Vitamin C in their bodies, but links have also been made between low Vitamin C levels and poor memory overall.
Skin damage – A deficiency in Vitamin C can result in dry skin, or even bumpy skin. Vitamin C is involved with producing collagen, which helps maintain healthy, vibrant looking skin. Studies have shown that lower Vitamin C levels are associated with a 10% higher likelihood of developing wrinkles.
Joint Pain – Joints also rely on collagen to function properly, since our connective tissue is full of collagen. Low levels of Vitamin C can contribute to joint pain, swollen joints and in some extreme cases, limping.
Weakened Immune System – Since Vitamin C plays such an important role in boosting immune cells, a vitamin C deficiency can make you more prone to various infections, ranging from the common cold to pneumonia.
Foods high in vitamin C
- Oranges (duh!)
- Brussel sprouts
- Red and green peppers
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Sweet potato
Time to make a fruit salad!