‘C’ the Benefits

vitamin-c-dayGuest Blogger: Lindsay V., Communications Coordinator, CRBG


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!

The Health Benefits of Strawberries

STRAWBERRY (1)

There’s no denying that strawberries—whether frozen or fresh—are a tasty treat.  They are so popular, that Americans actually eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year. (1) The best part about strawberries, besides their juicy and delicious taste, is their nutrition value.  They are packed with antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and can even help prevent wrinkles! 

So, in recognition of Strawberry Day, let’s chat and chew about the health benefits of strawberries.

They boost immunity.  As I mentioned above, strawberries are full of Vitamin C, which is not only a fast-working antioxidant, it is known to boost immunity as well.  Just one serving of strawberries contains 51.5 mg of Vitamin C—roughly half of your daily requirement, says Toronto-based registered dietitian Madeleine Edwards. (2)   

They keep your eyes healthy.  The antioxidants in strawberries can also help prevent cataracts (clouding over eye lens), which can ultimately lead to blindness.  Vitamin C protects our eyes from the sun’s harsh UV rays, as well as helps strengthen the eye’s cornea and retina. 

They help fight against cancer.  Vitamin C keeps the immune system healthy, which is the body’s best defense against disease like cancer.  Ellagic acid—a phytochemical found in strawberries—has been shown to “yield anti-cancer properties like suppressing cancer cell growth,” according to Edwards.              

They promote younger-looking skin.  Once again, Vitamin C proves powerful, because it is essential to the production of collagen—the key ingredient to your skin’s elasticity and resilience.  By eating foods rich in Vitamin C, you help replace the collagen you naturally lose as you age. 

They keep your heart healthy.  The Heart and Stroke Foundation reports that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among women.  Luckily, strawberries contain powerful heart-healthy benefits!  The phytochemicals found in strawberries counteract the effect of low-density LDL (bad cholesterol in the blood), which can cause plaque build-up in arteries, according to Edwards.  Research shows that strawberries can also reduce oxidative damage and blood lipids—both of which play a key role in heart disease and diabetes.

They reduce inflammation.  Strawberries help reduce inflammation of the joints, which can lead to arthritis and heart disease.  A Harvard School of Public Health study concluded “women who eat 16 or more strawberries per week are 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).” (3)

They regulate blood pressure.  Strawberries also have 134 mg of potassium per serving.  Potassium can help regulate blood pressure, or even lower it, by blocking the negative effects of sodium. 

The list above proves that strawberries are beneficial for any diet.  Also, to no surprise, strawberries have earned their title as one of the heart-healthiest fruits you can eat—they not only reduce LDL, inflammation, and high blood pressure, they help with digestion and aid in weight management. 

So, if you don’t already indulge in strawberry goodness, start today by trying one of these 20 Healthy Strawberry Recipes.  Already love this yummy red fruit?  Share some recipes of your own and help keep other readers heart healthy like you!