You’re maybe too familiar with Vitamin C, but may have underestimated its full potential. The good thing about it is that it is almost available in the fruits and vegetables that we eat.
Its health benefits were first demonstrated when in 1740’s, Commodore George Anson used it to fight scurvy on his sailors by feeding them fruits containing Vitamin C. Now, thanks to modern medicine, we can take Vitamin C in tables and liquid form.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid, or simply ascorbate (the anion of ascorbic acid) is a is a water-soluble vitamin found in almost all food. A vast majority of animals and plants are able to synthesize their own vitamin C, but unfortunately humans don’t have such ability. That is why we need to get our vitamin C on the food that we eat.
|Ascorbic acid structure|
Vitamin C is known as an antioxidant. Now, an antioxidant is simply a molecule that prevents another molecule from oxidizing – that means it prevents your cells from oxygen damage. Exposure to oxygen can break the molecules and makes them unstable, which also affects your cells. That is why when you exposed a potato in the air after you peeled it, it becomes brown. These cells, which are damaged of oxidizing are what we call free radicals.
The danger with free radicals is that they just don’t damage other cells, but they mutate them and then the damage cell grows abnormally and reproduces abnormally -- and quickly. These cause cancers and other serious ailments like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, and eye conditions like macular degeneration. It also causes premature ageing.
Antioxidants safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.
Other Health Benefits
Though it cannot cure the common cold, Vitamin C can strengthen the immune system to avoid it from getting worst.
There’s also some research that those people with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood were associated with 42% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations.
Vitamin C can also lower your chances to get cancer.
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C affects cells on the inside and outside of the body and it was discovered that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of the skin, and a better skin-aging appearance.
Vitamin C can also prevent scurvy.
So, Where Do You Get Your Vitamin C?
The most obvious source of Vitamin C is the citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and calamansi, but you can also get them on the following vegetables and fruits: tomatoes, potatoes, papaya, melons and cantaloupe, mango, cabbage, red and green peppers, cauliflower, watermelons and those dark leafy, green vegetables.
Still the best source is a daily dosage of Vitamin C tablets. Don’t worry about getting over dose. Our body doesn’t store excess Vitamin C and at least 500 mg. is required, but still you have to remember that Vitamins are not to be considered as a wonder drug. They are just food supplements. The best is that you take a daily multivitamin, because most people don't get enough of several nutrients.