It’s probably safe to assume that most of us here are familiar with vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant is often thought of as the cold and flu-fighting powerhouse. While there is some truth to that, more on that in a moment, vitamin C does so much more.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning the human body cannot produce it on its own, so you have to get vitamin C through your diet. Interestingly, most mammals can make it on their own. We’re just special. Since your body only stores a very small amount, adequate daily intake of this antioxidant is important. Good thing is, there are some very delicious food sources of vitamin C. Scroll to the end of this post if you’re hungry and just want to eat something high in vitamin C.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
Here are just a few of the many benefits of vitamin C.
- Can increase blood circulation, especially in those with impaired blood flow
- Essential for the production of collagen
- Increases the frequency of sex, from 4-14 times per month in this study. This study also showed a boost in mood. No surprise there.
- Can help with muscle soreness after a tough workout
- Can protect against bone density loss
- May be effective in reducing levels of C-Reative Protein, a biomarker for inflammation
- Helps support the adrenals and stress management
- And yes, vitamin C can help reduce the duration of a cold but research shows it’s not that effective at preventing them.
- Stimulates the production of thyroid hormone, T4
How much Vitamin C do you need?
Healthy people need at least 100-400 mg/day to maintain stores. I take much more than that though. in addition to the vitamin C I get from a vegetable-rich diet, I take anywhere from 2,000-5,000 mg per day. When I’m sick or drinking alcohol, I’ll take even more than that.
A Fragile Little Thing:
Vitamin C is very sensitive to environmental conditions and is easily destroyed by heat, light and air. For that reason, lightly cook any foods containing vitamin C or, better yet, eat them raw. If you’re supplementing with vitamin C, quality is key. Make sure you buy a trusted brand and aren’t getting vitamin C that’s already denatured.
10 Best Food Sources of Vitamin C:
(Beginning with the most)
- Red bell pepper
- Brussels sprouts
Looking for a vitamin C-packed meal today? Check out this heirloom tomato salad. Bonus points for the blueberries that are high in flavonoids. Flavonoids work synergistically with vitamin C, giving you even more of an antioxidant boost!
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