Known for its anti-fatigue properties, Vitamin C also provides the body with ascorbic acid, which is important for more than one reason. Here's everything you need to know about Vitamin C and how to get enough of it.
The role of Vitamin C
- Vitamin C plays a role in the formation and repair of collagen in the bones, cartilage, ligaments and blood capillaries.
- It aids the body's absorption of iron.
- It aids our immune system's resistance to infection, helping the white blood cells defend the body against invaders.
- Like Vitamin E, Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant that helps the body fight free radicals, playing a special role in the prevention of cataracts (clouding of the cristalline lens is caused by free radicals).
- Vitamin C is an essential ingredient in the process of collagen production (collagen is the skin's 'cement'), and helps prevent wrinkles.
- It helps people who suffer from allergies fight asthma and colds.
Causes and consequences of Vitamin C deficiency
There are several factors which can cause Vitamin C deficiency:
- smoking: each cigarette uses up 25mg of Vitamin C
- malnutrition, especially in elderly people
- inadequate fruit and vegetable intake
- stress: it makes you use more Vitamin C
- intensive exercise
The symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency are fatigue, loss of appetite, muscular aches and pains, breathlessness during exercise, sleepiness, dry skin and low resistance to infections.
Recommended daily amounts of Vitamin C:
Adult men and women: 110mg
Pregnanct women: 120mg
Breastfeeding women: 130mg
Elderly people: 120mg
Where to get your Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is only found in fruit and vegetables: kiwi fruit (80mg/100g), cabbage vegetables (57mg in red cabbage and 50mg in caluflower), citrus fruit (52mg in lemon and orange and 37mg in grapefruit), pepper (average 160mg), cress (60mg), aromatic herbs (37mg in chervil, 200mg in parsley and 60mg in chives).
Did you know?
Vitamin C is the most fragile vitamin, and it alters when exposed to light, high temperature, humidity, an over-acidic or alkaline environment. To retain the Vitamin C content of food, don't store it for a long time (especially in the light); peel and wash your fruit and veg as little as necessary; eat it fresh, not leaving it out in the open air; and don't cook it for a long time.