There’s no shortage of natural supplements and vitamins that seem to contain all the Vitamin C we will ever need in a day. Some of us might ask why we should even go to the trouble of knowing which type of foods would be a good source of this all important vitamin.
First of all, no amount of supplement or vitamin could ever give us the feeling of being satiated or refreshed like good old food. Another good argument would be that vitamin C rich foods do not only contain this in good abundance but they’re also packed with other nutrients that are essential for a healthy body. But if you’re answer is that popping in a pill is simply more convenient then not having the time to appreciate the beauty of eating says a lot about the quality of life you’re living.
Why Take Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is not produced by the body and could only be taken by eating foods that naturally contain this vitamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin and is easily flushed out in our urine. It couldn’t be stored in the body hence a regular supply is required to maintain the recommended amounts in our body.
Boost your Immune System
Taking your recommend dosage of Vitamin C strengthens your immune system. This is not only great way of preventing common ailments but also keeps your body’s natural defenses working in tiptop shape.
Growth and Healing
Vitamin C is essential for proper wound healing. It is required for proper tissue repair. It is an essential component in the skin, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments. It also works with protein to build healthy bones, teeth and cartilages.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent dangerous toxin and chemical buildup. It could block free radicals that can cause cancer and other ailments. This has been found out to be a contributing factor to heart disease and arthritis. Free radical buildup could also hasten the aging process.
The Best Sources of Vitamin C
Plants and even some animals contain Vitamin C. However, the best food sources of Vitamin C remain to be plant foods. Although animals contain Vitamin C these amounts pale in comparison to their plant counterparts.
The first thing that comes into mind whenever rich sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and grapefruits). These are the most recommended because they are not only rich in Vitamin C but are also refreshing and do not need any preparation. Other excellent non-citrus sources of Vitamin C include strawberries, kiwifruit, raspberries, watermelon, apples, bananas and pears. In fact, almost every fresh fruit could be used as a daily source of vitamin C. Having a wide choice of fruits makes these a healthy snack choice.
Fruits are not the only top sources for Vitamin C vegetables are also contain this vitamin in high amounts. Vegetables in general contain large concentrations of vitamin C as well as other nutrients making them a well-rounded food choice. Winter squash, green beans and carrots are among the best. Herbs and spices are also rich sources of Vitamin C. With all the wide choices you might end up asking if you’re vitamin C supplements are really necessary.
Keep them fresh!
The amount of nutrients or Vitamin C contained in these food sources takes a drop as soon as it is picked. However, this could be slowed by proper storage techniques such as cooling. Studies have shown that food sources lose more than fifty percent of their Vitamin C content when allowed to sit at room temperature for a few days.
Canning another popular way of long term storage also has a detrimental effect on the amount of Vitamin C. Canned fruits and vegetables stored for more than half a year lose the original amount of Vitamin C contained before canning.
Cooking or the action of heat contributes to the loss of nutrient content. The amount of loss varies on the amount of heat applied and cooking time. Steaming vegetables for example is a good way since this reduces the amount of Vitamin lost. But when food is exposed for prolonged periods to heat even during steaming, its vitamin C content drops significantly. Steaming should be kept to a minimum or never more than 5 minutes.
The best way of maximizing the amount of vitamin C is to eat these as fresh as possible. Enjoy the natural flavor while getting that much needed dose of Vitamin C.