It's the C.
When I say Vitamin C, I'd put money down that you automatically thought oranges.
However, a cup of chopped red bell pepper contains almost 3 times as much vitamin C as an orange.
You'll also find a decent amount of Vitamin C in:
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
- Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens.
- Sweet and white potatoes.
- Tomatoes and tomato juice.
- Winter squash.
- Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit.
- Kiwi fruit.
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries.
Vitamin C is water soluble (which means your body doesn't store it, but needs a regular supply), and it's also essential - your body doesn't manufacture it on its own.
Vitamin C needs are higher from stress, pollution and smoking.
At high enough doses, it's also known to kill viruses.
Vitamin C plays a major role in the formation of collagen (the main protein substance of the body), and preserves the integrity of muscles, blood vessels and body tissues. Because of its importance to the elasticity of arterial walls, a deficiency of Vitamin C has been greatly implicated in atherosclerosis.
Vitamin C uses the same mechanism to get into cells (where it's needed) that glucose does, so the higher our blood sugar level, the more glucose enters the cells and less vitamin C (which is just one more reason to reduce your sugar load, especially if you're feeling sick!). Insulin also inhibits what's called the uptake of vitamin C by the kidney, which means that when we eat carbohydrates we excrete vitamin C with our urine rather than retaining it, as we should, and using it.
And for all you Womb Renovators - Vitamin C aids in the utilization of folic acid.
Severe deficiency is called Scurvy, but many people are still deficient due to the SAD (Standard American Diet)
The most common symptoms of deficiency:
- slow healing of wounds, bruising easily and reduced resistance to infection are the most common symptoms in our society.
- cuticles tear easily
- listlessness, lack of endurance, tire easily
- “fleeting” pains in joints or legs, joint tenderness
- broken capillaries, hemorrhages, pink spots on skin
- bloating or puffiness in face
- restlessness or irritability
- fragile bones
- excessive hair loss
- thinning or premature aging of skin
In order to preserve the vitamin C content in food:
1. Minimize the cooking time. In a 2013 study, researchers found that Vitamin C content in vegetables declines with the greater time exposed to heat and water. Raw peppers, for example, had 15.39 mg/25ml Vitamin C. The vitamin content dropped to 13.58 after cooking for 5 minutes and plummeted to 5.43 after 30 minutes. Blanching requires the food to sit in the water for less time, and this method is ideal for softening ingredients such as bell peppers.
2. Try cooking without water. The combination of heat and water can destroy Vitamin C in foods before you eat them. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so common cooking methods like boiling can cause the vitamin to leach out of food. The water in which you boiled broccoli, the water you just poured down the drain, is rich in Vitamin C while the broccoli on your plate is not.
3. Cook with less water. Steaming allows the heated water to gradually soften the produce without removing all of the Vitamin C. Microwaving, while not seen as particularly sophisticated, can also help to retain the Vitamin C content in vegetables.
If you are interested in adding a vitamin C supplement, send me a PM so I can give you some tips. There’s a fun thing called bowel tolerance that you need to be aware of.
Supplementation isn’t necessary if you are eating a variety of fruits and veggies, but you may want to have some on hand if you are overly stressed, suffer from allergies, or feel the sniffles coming on!
How are you getting your C today?
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