What is Vitamin C?
Probably the most familiar of all vitamins, Vitamin C is a watersoluble vitamin. This means that leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body in urine so you need a continuous supply of it in your diet. Vitamin C is also known ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is often added to foods to prevent oxidation.
Where can I find Vitamin C in my diet?
Plants are the best source of Vitamin C. Despite popular belief, Citruses are not the only source of Vitamin C. In fact, papaya, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, cantaloupe, and green leafy vegetables are all highly rated Vitamin C sources.
Why is Vitamin C important?
Vitamin C is popularized as a way to boost your immune system. Scientists don’t know exactly how Vitamin C interacts with the immune system, but it is found at high levels in white blood cells. Vitamin C is also needed for the growth and repair of tissues all over the body. This vitamin also protects the skin from UV damage, promotes iron absorption from food, and can increase sperm counts, especially in smokers. Vitamin C is needed to form collagen, which is critical for the structure of skin, bones, ligaments and tendons. Vitamin C is also necessary for to produce certain neurotransmitters like serotonin. Therefore, lack of Vitamin C can lead to feelings of depression. Vitamin C is the most commonly known antioxidant. Vitamin C protects the lens of the eye, cholesterol in the blood stream, and the DNA of the cell nucleus from free radicals. Vitamin C is also a natural antihistamine. Anti-histamines are pharmaceuticals that are commonly used to reduce symptoms of allergies.
Does cooking and storage effect Vitamin C?
Yes. Cooking Vitamin C-rich foods reduces the amount of Vitamin C present in the food. Storing Vitamin C-rich foods also reduces Vitamin C content. The best source of Vitamin C is raw/uncooked fruits and vegetables. Storing vegetables and fruits in the cold keeps Vitamin C content higher. Frozen veggies lose half of their Vitamin C in a year.
REFERENCES: 1. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/