You’ve probably heard the saying “you are what you eat.” While you won’t turn into a donut if you eat one, your body is relying on that donut to provide the nutrients it needs—one of those being Vitamin C.
It is hard to explain what Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) is without getting technical, but we can chat and chew about its countless health benefits, suggested intake amounts and good sources.
The Health Benefits of Vitamin C
You have probably seen someone drink a glass of orange juice or eat more fruit to help fight off a cold—they’re definitely on to something. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight cold symptoms. Studies show that Vitamin C won’t lower the number of colds you get, but can shorten the duration of a cold or flu once it has started. It also breaks down stress hormones; and stress could have been the reason you got sick in the first place!
Though Vitamin C is used most frequently for preventing the common cold, there are many other benefits.
Vitamin C is important to our skin as well. It plays a key role in forming collagen, helps heal wounds and fights free radicals. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don’t. Vitamin C can help protect your skin from acne scarring and improve damaged or irritated skin. It also helps to deflect free radicals, which cause damage to healthy skin cells and can break down the skin’s elastin and collagen—leading to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Studies show that Vitamin C also has mood-elevating effects by increasing your energy and lowering anxiety.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to knowing how much Vitamin C you need. The amount depends on factors such as gender and age, and increases as you get older. Check out this chart from The National Institutes of Health (NIH) for recommended daily dosages of Vitamin C.
When you feel a sickness coming on, it is easy to take Emergen-C®, Airborne®, or other supplements. Though these can give you the Vitamin C intake you need, your body’s main source of Vitamin C should come from the foods you eat.
When you think Vitamin C, your initial thought might be citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, but there are many other fruits rich in Vitamin C such as melons, strawberries and raspberries. A cup of strawberries provides more than your daily requirement for Vitamin C and raspberries provide about 40 percent—and both are just 50 calories!
Want Vitamin C for its skin benefits? Add some mango to your diet. This fruit has nutrients essential for your skin’s health: Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Folic Acid. What’s more, just one cup of mango provides 100 percent of the suggested daily Vitamin C requirement.
Not a big fan of fruit? A serving of kale has almost as much Vitamin C as an orange, and is also a good source of fiber.
It’s not wrong to take supplements when you get sick, but you should always consult your doctor first. Why rely on supplements when there are many fun ways to get a good Vitamin C intake such as smoothies and homemade gummies! Have Vitamin C recipes of your own? Share them below in the comments section!