What are the benefits of vitamin C?
Experts say that vitamin C is the most effective and safest nutrient. They also say that the ideal nutrition marker for overall health might be high blood levels of vitamin C.
Vitamin C has a wide variety of benefits, from protecting against immune deficiencies, cardiovascular diseases, eye problems, and many more we will discuss in this article.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and is found in foods like fruits and vegetables or dietary supplements. The recommended vitamin C intake is 90mg for men and 75mg for women per day, in addition to eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Sources of Vitamin C
The human body cannot store or produce vitamin C. Vitamin C is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. The sources of vitamin C include:
- Guavas– guava is a pink-fleshed fruit native to South America and Mexico. Single guava contains about 126 mg of vitamin C.
- Kale– is a cruciferous vegetable. A cup of cut-up kales provides 89 mg of vitamin C when raw and 53 mg when cooked.
- Broccoli– it’s also a cruciferous vegetable. A half-cup of cooked broccoli gives 51mg of vitamin C.
- Rosehips– is a sweet, small, tangy fruit from the rose plant. An approximate six rose hips give 119 mg of vitamin C.
- Kakadu plums– are an Australian native fruit with 100 times more vitamin C than oranges. One plum has 481 mg of vitamin C.
- Acerola cherries– a 49g cup of red acerola cherries packs 822 mg of vitamin C
- Thyme– it’s a culinary herb. 28g of fresh thyme gives 45 mg of vitamin C.
- Chili peppers– one green chili pepper has 109 mg of vitamin C.
There are many other sources such as oranges, blackcurrants, parsley, mustard spinach, potatoes, etc.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Lowers Your Risk of Heart Disease
The leading cause of death worldwide is heart disease.
There are many risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, low HDL( good) cholesterol levels, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Taking vitamin C will come in handy and in turn help reduce the risk of heart disease.
For instance, a review of 9 studies involving 293,172 participants discovered that people who took about 700mg of vitamin C had a 25% reduced risk of heart disease than those without the supplement.
Another review of 15 studies found that taking vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, not supplements, was connected to reduced heart disease risk.
An analysis of 13 studies studied the effects of taking 500mg of vitamin C daily on heart disease risk factors such as triglyceride levels and blood cholesterol.
The review found that vitamin C supplements reduced approximately 7.9mg/dl of LDL and 20.1 mg/dl of blood triglycerides.
Reduces Risks of Chronic Disease
Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties, which help strengthen the body’s defense against diseases.
Antioxidant molecules boost the immune system by protecting cells from harmful free radicals. These free radicals cause cell and tissue damage. The molecules also help remove unwanted substances called reactive oxidative species from the body.
Antioxidants help protect against the development of serious illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
Studies show that taking vitamin C increases your blood antioxidant levels by 30%. This boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight inflammation.
Helps Manage High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure puts one at risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
Research shows that vitamin C intake helps lower blood pressure in those without or with high blood pressure.
An animal study found that vitamin C intake reduced blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart.
A review of 29 human studies found that vitamin C intake, on average, reduced diastolic blood pressure (lower value) by 1.5 mmHg and systolic blood pressure (upper value) by 3.8 mmHg in healthy adults.
In individuals with high blood pressure, on average, vitamin C intake reduced diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mmHg and systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg.
Although these results are promising, it’s not clear if the effects on blood pressure are long-term. Individuals with blood pressure should not rely on Vitamin C alone for medication.
Helps Prevent Gout Attacks and Reduces Blood Uric Acid Levels
Gout is an arthritis type. It involves inflammation of the joints and is often painful. Individuals with gout undergo swelling and sudden, severe attacks of pain.
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a body waste product. High levels of it crystallize and get deposited in the joints.
Studies show that vitamin C intake helps protect against gout attacks by reducing uric acid in the blood.
For instance, a review of 13 studies found that vitamin C intake over 30 days significantly reduced uric acid levels compared to a placebo.
Another study involving 1,387 men found those with high vitamin C intake had lower uric blood levels than those who consumed the least.
Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency
Iron is essential in our body. It helps make red blood cells and transports oxygen throughout the body.
Vitamin C intake helps improve iron absorption from the diet. It helps convert poorly absorbed iron, like iron from plants, into a form easier to absorb. This is useful to those who don’t take meat, as meat is the main source of iron.
Taking 100 mg of vitamin C improves the absorption of iron by 67%. Thus vitamin C intake may reduce the risks of anemia to those with iron deficiency.
Benefits of Vitamin C – Bottom Line
Vitamin C is a water-soluble mineral that is obtained from fruits, vegetables, or supplements. Vitamin C has been linked to many health benefits, like managing high blood pressure, preventing heart disease, and preventing iron deficiency.
If you struggle to get vitamin C from your diet, vitamin C supplements are a great and simple way.