Vitamin C is one of the most essential vitamins in the human diet. Without it, people can suffer from scurvy, gum disease and a loss of collagen. It has also been taken for years to boost the immune system. Recent studies have shown that it when vitamin C is taken, the number of colds caught is reduced and the duration of each cold is shortened.
Other recent studies have shown more benefits of taking vitamin C. It can reduce the amount of fat that is accumulated around the abdomen, according to an Iranian study. Abdominal fat is known to increase the risk of heart disease. Regularly taking in vitamin C has also been shown to help the body to absorb dietary iron.
Vitamin C is one of the vitamins classified as antioxidants for its role in eliminating the free radicals in the body that cause damage to the cells. People who are prone to excessive cell damage, such as smokers, can reap significant benefits from regularly taking vitamin C to repair the damage. It is also helpful for the skin, reducing skin damage from aging and allowing the body to produce the collagen it needs to keep elasticity.
Where to Get Vitamin C
There are enough foods that provide vitamin C that taking a supplement usually isn’t necessary. A diet containing the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables will usually provide enough of the vitamin. The mango, kiwi, papaya and guava all have high concentrations of vitamin C. Broccoli, green peppers, tomatoes and spinach also carry concentrated levels of the vitamin.
Eating any of these foods raw will keep more of the vitamin C within the food than cooking it. Boiling fruits and vegetables in a large amount of water will strip it many of the essential vitamins, as will the processing that takes place before canning. When boiling fruits and vegetables, use as little water as possible, or steam them instead.
Taking a vitamin C supplement may be necessary for people who eat very few fruits and vegetables and don’t drink juices. Vitamin supplements can be taken in the form of pills, chewable tablets or as a powder. Kids’ supplements are available in the form of gummi animals. Taking high doses of vitamin C, several times the recommended dosage of 60 milligrams a day, is thought by some to be the best way to avoid getting sick.
However, there are several illnesses that can be caused by taking too much vitamin C, such as urinary tract infections. To avoid risking possible harmful effects, sticking closely to the U.S. recommended daily allowance of vitamin C can provide all of the proven benefits without any unnecessary risks.