Essential Nutrients: Vitamin C

Most of us are aware that vitamin C is good for us. We know we can find it in citrus foods and that it does wonders for our skin. However, is it really essential to our well-being? Can it be substituted for another vitamin? Can it be stored? Here are some of the answers:

What is Vitamin C  & why is it important?

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin, that cannot be synthesised endogenously by the human body. Therefore, it is an essential dietary component which helps in maintenance and development of the body. The recommended intake for adult women is 75gms per day and 90gms per day for adult men. Smokers tend to require an additional 35gms per day to maintain equilibrium.

How does Vitamin C help us?

Vitamin C is required by the body for the development and maintenance of blood vessels, cartilage and scar tissue. It is also required for the biosynthesis of collagen and protein metabolism. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps in lessening oxidative stress thereby lowering our risk of cancer. Deficiencies in vitamin C lead to scurvy, depression and bleeding of gums. An excess intake of vitamin C (over 1000gms) can cause kidney stone formation, diarrhoea, and flatulence.

Where can we find Vitamin C?

The human body cannot store vitamin C. There are plenty of natural sources of vitamin C in nature that we can consume of a daily basis. However, recent studies suggest that due to genetic modification and poor quality of crops, the nutrient and vitamin content of fruits and vegetables are reducing drastically. Therefore, it might be advisable to consume vitamin C supplements along with following a balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables that have high doses of vitamin C are:

  • Oranges
  • Red Chillies
  • Green & Red Bell Peppers
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Mangoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapples

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