Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is essential for normal growth and the health of cells and tissues.
It is a micronutrient, that is, a molecule required by the body only in small quantities, but essential for well-being.
Being a water-soluble vitamin, the body easily eliminates it through urine.
Therefore, to always have enough vitamin C available, you need to take it regularly with your diet, to avoid any deficiency.
Vitamin C is one of the most-consumed vitamins during autumn or winter, to strengthen the immune system, thanks to its strong antioxidant power.
In the summer, an increase in vitamin C intakis recommended to balance the loss of ascorbic acid due to increased sweating.
In the summer, vitamim C plays an essential role for health, because:
- it prevents sunburn and erythema: it helps protect the skin from sun damage which can prevent erythema and sunburn. When skin is exposed to the sun, the body increases the production of free radicals that create oxidation and contribute to damaging the cells and substances the skin is composed of, leading to ageing of the skin. Vitamin C also helps the production of collagen, an essential element for the health of the skin, muscles, bones, vascular tissues and that provides protection from UVB and UVA rays
- it helps the body to acclimatise to heat: vitamin C is able to increase resistance to hot and humid temperatures by acting on the sweat glands, helping to increase our body’s tolerance to heat and high temperatures. Studies have shown that by taking vitamin C, the body temperature remains more constant and lower, even in intense heat
- it helps the body’s immune system: high temperatures put the body under stress. Strengthening the immune system also allows you to better tolerate any seasonal allergies, since vitamin C relieves the symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine.
Benefits of vitamin C
- helps in the formation of bones, skin and teeth
- useful for the nervous system, it is able to stimulate wound healing
- supports muscle activity, participating in the production of energy at the cellular level
- enhances the absorption of iron by the intestine and its subsequent distribution in the body (stocking up on iron by eating red meat is of little use if the steak isn’t accompanied by large portions of fresh fruit or vegetables)
- it is a powerful antioxidant and help to increases blood circulation; this is important to accelerate hair growth and slow down its ageing
- is an ally of beauty and a good mood
- helps fight stress by stimulating the production of hormones released by the brain, such as endorphins that help you to relax and make you feel better
- helps to increase concentration by enhancing the production of acetylcholine, a substance that plays a fundamental role in the processes of attention, focus and memory.
Vitamin C deficiency is generally attributable to an insufficient consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, resulting in a sense of persistent fatigue which is one of the most common symptoms of its deficiency.
If you smoke, take medications or are stressed, your supply of vitamin C is further reduced.
Foods containing vitamin C
All fruit and vegetables contain vitamin C in varying quantities.
Brightly-coloured, fresh summer fruit and vegetables are a delicious way to get your daily needs of vitamin C.
Among the fruit that contain the highest amounts are:
Among the vegetables that contain the highest amounts are:
- Brussels sprouts
- turnip greens
- leafy green vegetables
The content of vitamin C in foods can also vary depending on how fresh they are.
Fresh products contain the highest amounts because over time the level of vitamin C tends to diminish, especially in fruit and vegetables kept in the light.
To keep all the nutritional values, it is best to eat fresh, raw fruit and vegetables.
So get ready, and stock up on vitamin C!