“Vitamin C has been considered one of the most important essential nutrients in our diet since the discovery in 1907 that it prevents scurvy. In addition, Vitamin C aids in the synthesis of wound healing, metabolism of iron , lipids, cholesterol, and others.” says Dr. C. Y. Lee of Cornell. A diet high in Vitamin C has also been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and has a direct effect on bacteria and viruses.
Since Vitamin C cannot be manufactured or stored by the body, getting enough in your diet is necessary for good immune function. If you must take it in supplement form, it should be combined with bioflavonoids that enhance the absorption. I always recommend doing your best to get your Vitamins from food as when you buy them in synthetic form, your body usually cannot assimilate them properly. Since the body works in synergy, it is of utmost importance that you do not take vitamins in isolation. Vitamin C is water soluble, which allows it to dissolve easily in bodily fluids. It also helps other antioxidants keep their potency and aids in their absorption. Supplementing with isolated constituents can lead to imbalances in the body.
Vitamin C is found abundantly in various food sources. We all know that citrus fruits are a great choice, but so are berries and green vegetables. Other good sources include asparagus, avocados, Brussel sprouts , cantaloupe, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, collards, dandelion greens, kale, onions, and turnips. Please note however, cooking your food will destroy the enzymes and will lessen the potency of the vitamins considerably. Remember that heat destroys, while keeping the foods raw will maintain their integrity and allow them to do their job.
Here are some suggestions that can help you get enough Vitamin C into your day:
- Add some mangos and berries to your salads. The combination with the vegetables is great and adds sweetness to your greens. The only fruit I would hesitate to add to your vegetables are melons as they might cause some digestive upsets.
- Smoothies are another easy way to combine some fruits and vegetables and load up on vitamin C. I like to use frozen berries instead of ice cubes for example.
- You may find that eating turnips raw may not be a good choice, but grating them and adding them to your salads works and I can guarantee you might not even notice the taste of raw turnips!
- I also recommend that clients eat a piece of pineapple before cooked meals as this helps tremendously with digestive issues and can also be very refreshing.
- Try steaming your asparagus and Brussel sprouts very lightly. Sprinkling with some nice olive oil helps with the flavor.
- Who does not like avocados? They can be cut up for a salad or mashed on a nice piece of toast or raw crackers. Sprinkle with a bit of pink Himalayan salt … yum!
- Adding lemon juice to your water is ideal and will help you drink more water throughout the day (not only first thing in the morning). Try this … for one liter of water add the juice from two lemons, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper. This is great for your skin and will boost your immune system for sure.
- Forget the cereal (loaded with sugar) and cut up some nice oranges and berries for your kids in the morning. They will have good energy to start their day.
Please remember that drinking alcohol, taking antidepressants, anticoagulants, oral contraceptives, and steroids will have an effect on your Vitamin C levels. If you are taking any of these supplements, please up your intake. Smoking also causes a serious depletion of Vitamin C.
In the words of Hippocrates …”let food be the medicine and medicine be thy food.”
By Frances Michaelson
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