Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that our bodies can’t produce on their own, which means we need to make sure we get enough of this vitamin on a daily basis. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has many health benefits including helping control infections, heal wounds and helping the body absorb iron. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant, the body uses it to produce collagen, and it's an important immune booster. Vitamin C is also good for your skin!
History of Vitamin C
Vitamin C was discovered by a Hungarian biochemist named Albert Szent-Györgyi in the 1930s. The discovery took place hundreds of years after thousands of sailors died of Vitamin C deficiency, or Scurvy, aboard ships.
Forms of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is available in supplement form at many grocery stores and pharmacies, and is famously found in orange juice as well. But doctors say most people should be able to get all of their necessary daily Vitamin C through food.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Foods high in Vitamin C include fruits and vegetables. Fruits with high levels of Vitamin C include:
- Berries like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries
- Citrus like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes
Vegetables containing high levels of Vitamin C include:
- Peppers: especially red bell peppers and red and green chili peppers
- Dark green leafy vegetables like kale and mustard greens
- Brussel Sprouts
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
Doctors recommend that adults consume between 75-90 milligrams a day. An orange, on average, contains about 70 milligrams of Vitamin C. Those amounts increase during pregnancy to a recommended 85 mg per day, and during lactation to a recommended 120 mg per day.
Some people will “megadose” with Vitamin C when they think they are coming down with a cold or flu. Studies show that in generally healthy adults there are no major side effects from “megadosing” the vitamin. However, in adults who take 3,000 milligrams or more a day, symptoms such as diarrhea, increased risk of kidney stones, and increased absorption of iron have been found.
Vitamin C for Holistic Health
Vitamin C is a necessary nutrient for our overall body and skin health. It may be beneficial to increase your Vitamin C intake during the winter to help prevent the cold and flu. The next time you’re at the grocery store, try adding a few more citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables to your cart.