If you think Vitamin C is just orange juice, you’re dead wrong. Vitamin C is in foods you’d never guess. Here’s why you need it and how to get it! Enjoy!
With so many vitamins and supplement options out there, what should you really focus on taking?
One of the safest vitamins to take, and increase your intake of, is vitamin C.
What’s so special about it?
Probably the most commonly known benefit of vitamin C is that it maintains and helps improve the immune system.
There’s no evidence to show that vitamin C prevents the common cold, but research has shown it can lessen the length of time you may have a cold. We all know, especially around this time of year, that a cold can be a weight that keeps us from attending to our fitness goals and needs. Vitamin C’s boost to the immune system can keep you up and running, weight lifting and maintain your training schedule.
Part of what makes vitamin C a booster to your immune system is its healing properties. Since it is important in the production of collagen and is needed to grow and repair tissue throughout the body, it is incredibly useful in healing any type of cut, burn, broken bone and even surgical wound. Of course, this is particularly helpful for any injuries you may incur from your fitness training. Vitamin C can help you repair your tissue from muscle breakdown. It can also help you to repair any injuries you may have suffered.
Benefits Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C’s immune boost and healing properties are the more well-known properties that make it popular to increase the intake for.
What else can vitamin C do for you?
Here are the six most surprising benefits.
#1 It Benefits Cardiovascular and Heart Health
Any type of exercise makes your heart work a little harder than normal. Cardio is particularly relevant to making your heart rate surge. We all want to take the right steps to avoid serious health conditions of the heart, especially since it’s the central beat of the whole body. This makes it very important to take preventative measures and keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Vitamin C may be just the ticket to helping you do that.
Heart attacks and strokes come from plaque buildup and researchers have shown there’s a possibility that vitamin C may reduce the risk of that buildup. British researchers studied the effects of taking vitamin C on the buildup of monocytes in the vessels (this build up eventually leads to atherosclerosis).
The subjects in their research had greater monocyte adhesion than normal. But, after six weeks of vitamin C supplementation, their rate of monocyte adhesion dropped by 37%. These researchers also found that vitamin C supplementation allowed them to regulate the production of vital proteins by specific genes. This reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. The research was later built upon to conclude vitamin C has the potential to lessen inflammatory damage to the heart valves.
Another study gave participants a 2,000 mg oral dose of vitamin C or a placebo. Merely six hours later, platelet aggregation in the patients dropped by 35% and arterial stiffness dropped by 10%.
Dr. Andrew Saul, editor of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, says if everyone were to take a 500 mg daily dose of vitamin C, about 216,000 lives could be spared every year.
Since fitness training is so closely intertwined with working your cardiovascular system, it’s crucial to keep it healthy and well maintained. We’re constantly pumping up our heart rates when we lift, play sports or go for a jog and to keep up the longevity of your workout, it’s best that you make sure you have enough vitamin C to keep your heart healthy.
#2 It Battles Cancer
The medical monster of cancer could wipe out your workout entirely. And, that would be the least of your worries. Dr. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told Live Science that, “Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that we are exposed to in the environment such as air pollution, cigarette smoke and ultraviolet light from the sun.”
The damage caused by free radicals can ultimately lead to cancer, indicating that vitamin C could help prevent cancer. One study also found that vitamin C may aid in increasing the antitumor activity of chemotherapy.
So really, there’s nothing to lose in some natural aiding with vitamin C.
#3 It Protects The Stomach
Vitamin C can help protect against gastritis and stomach ulcers, as well as reduce the amount of antibiotics needed to get rid of these problems. A common cause of gastritis is taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen). Many athletes or those who have been training for long periods with previous injuries may be frequent users of NSAIDs. Because of that, they may find that upping their vitamin C intake could help alleviate any potential stomach pain that comes with taking NSAIDs.
#4 It Is Anti-Aging
Staying fit can keep you timeless. But, sometimes your skin needs a little extra protection. As mentioned, vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Being an antioxidant also means it provides anti-aging properties. As vitamin C helps protects the skin from free radicals, it is thereby holding back the aging process. Also, because of its healing properties, it can help repair damaged or wrinkled skin.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that middle-aged women consuming more vitamin C from food sources had fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness. We all know that working out can make us sweat, frown and wrinkle our foreheads. Research has shown us that vitamin C can help prevent any permanent wrinkles!
Sounds good to us.
#5 It Gives Better Hair and Nails
While staying fit keeps your body looking good, you can’t exactly train your hair and nails.
Or, can you?
Vitamin C is crucial in the synthesis of the protein collagen. This protein partially makes up an incredible amount of your body – from your skin to your connective tissue, blood vessels, bones and teeth (hence the recovery properties). Since vitamin C aids in all this, it is also crucial to the growth of your hair and nails.
Rianna Loving, founder of organic skincare brand ORGO Beauty, told Style Caster that, “Vitamin C helps maintain the integrity of our nails by strengthening our skin, connective tissue, bones and blood vessel walls.” This means beautiful healthy nails, prevention of hangnails and better hair growth. So getting your Vitamin C will work out the protein synthesis in your body like a trainer!
And this will make your overall outlook impossible to beat.
#6 It Helps With Depression
When some people are feeling down, moody or depressed, going to the gym can seem like the last thing they want to do. Vitamin C deficiency could certainly be affecting your mojo.
Research has suggested that there may be a relation between vitamin C deficiency and depression. A 2003 article in Nutrition Journal stated that vitamin C works with dopamine-beta-hydroxylase to transform dopamine into norepinephrine and this is important to the regulation of mood.
A 2013 study from Vanderbilt University published in the Journal of Neurochemistry examined the behavior of mice that were incapable of producing their own ascorbic acid (vitamin C). During this deprivation period, the “mice showed decreased voluntary locomotor activity, diminished physical strength, and increased preference for a highly palatable sucrose reward.” The study also recognized the results “may signify a depressive-like behavior.”
If you find yourself having mood swings or falling into a depression, perhaps you need a vitamin C boost to energize you and pump you up!
Don’t Be Vitamin C Deficient
Unfortunately, vitamin C deficiency is fairly common. Our bodies can’t make it. We can’t even store it. That’s why we have to consistently consume it. Since it’s found in bright fruits and veggies, sometimes that can be difficult to always have in your diet during winter months or when the pickings just aren’t looking fresh. If you don’t get enough vitamin C on a regular basis though, you may see some nasty results.
There are many symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency. They include: Dry and splitting hair, inflammation and/or bleeding of gums, easy bruising, quicker to become ill, nosebleeds, bone or joint pain and even rough, dry or scaly skin. You may also find yourself feeling less energized as vitamin C is important in aiding your body’s absorption of iron.
How To Get Vitamin C
You don’t want to be deficient. That’s why it’s good to keep track of what fruits and veggies have vitamin C so you can incorporate them in your simple diet plan. Surprisingly, it’s not all citrus fruits.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, are huge providers. One small orange has about 51 mg of vitamin C. That is about 85% of your daily value. Strawberries bring even more. One cup of whole strawberries is about 85 mg of vitamin C for 141% of your daily value. One kiwi fruit has 64 mg of vitamin C and 106% of your daily value. A single grapefruit is about 77 mg of vitamin C for about 128% of your daily value. A small cantaloupe gives around 162 mg of vitamin C, which is about 269% of your daily value.
Do you love peppers?
Peppers taste great and pack a massive punch. An average red pepper has 152 mg of vitamin C. That is about 253% of your daily value. Yellow peppers have about 341 mg. They give about 568% of your daily value. And green peppers have about 96 mg for around 159% of your daily value. Just half a cup of red chili peppers chopped up yields almost 108 mg of vitamin C. In other words, they bring in 179% of your daily value.
Don’t like broccoli, cauliflower, kale or Brussels sprouts?
A small head of cauliflower offers about 128 mg of vitamin C. That is 212% of your daily value. A cup of Brussels sprouts has about 75 mg of vitamin C, which is about 124% of your daily value. Meanwhile, one cup of chopped broccoli is about 81 mg of vitamin C for 135% of your daily value. A cup of chopped kale is about 80 mg of vitamin C, which is about 134% of your daily value.
This list is, of course, the big honchos that yield the high percentages. There are other fruits and veggies that also have vitamin C content. They just don’t yield as much. For example, there are raspberries. They give about 53% of your daily value with one cup.
How Much Is Enough?
It should also be noted that the daily recommendation is quite low, at 30 to 100 mg per day. Some studies have shown that 200 mg per day is a better amount to potentially prevent chronic disease. But, above 500 mg is considered to be too much, especially for those with high levels of iron.
While this is vital to keep in mind, don’t focus obsessively on whether or not you ate too much fruit. Normally consuming too much vitamin C happens when taking supplements. So it’s more important to worry about excessive levels of vitamin C if you do take supplements.
A well-balanced diet that offers enough vitamin C on a frequent basis may be easier to maintain during the summer months. Keeping it up year-round can be difficult. If you find yourself lacking, consider taking supplements. This can help fill in your gap or give you an extra boost when you’re not getting what you need. Always consult your doctor first before taking supplements. There’s so much to be gained by consuming vitamin C that you simply shouldn’t go without it.
By Alyssa Bright