Vitamin C is one of the most important things that your body uses on a day-to-day basis. In the 1970s, Nobel-Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling claimed that high doses of the vitamin could stop cancer in its tracks and could, perhaps, cure the common cold. Sadly, the last several decades have proven that Vitamin C isn’t quite the wonder-food that Pauling suggested. That being said, there are still plenty of reasons to get a lot of Vitamin C.
One of the primary uses of Vitamin C is as a building block for collagen – an essential structural material for bone, skin, blood vessels, and other tissue. If you don’t get enough Vitamin C, over time you could develop inflamed gums, scaly skin, painful joints, nosebleeds, and other symptoms associated with scurvy.
Recent studies, conducted by Jane Higdon of Oregon State University, have shown that while Vitamin C can’t stop cancer cold, it can reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancer – particularly cancers that strike the digestive tract and mouth. Because Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it also neutralizes bacteria that can cause stomach cancers and ulcers.
Vitamin C is also great for your heart and arteries. On average, people with the highest intake of Vitamin C are at the lowest risk for heart disease. Many believe that the antioxidant-rich Vitamin C protects arterial walls from cholesterol buildup.
In 2004, scientists from the University of Oslo reported that after volunteers ate two or three kiwis, an intensely Vitamin C rich food, over a 28 day period showed blood platelets that were less likely to clump together. This means fewer clots that could potentially lead to stroke or heart attack.
So now the question becomes, how much Vitamin C do you need? Not an exorbitant amount: women 19 and up typically need about 75 mg/day while men of the same age should get 90 mg/day. With this in mind, double dosing on a Vitamin C supplement isn’t really the best idea and could actually be a waste of money (your body can only absorb a maximum of about 400 milligrams a day). If you’re eating your recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, you’re getting all the Vitamin C you need.
If you need a little bit more Vitamin C, here’s a quick guide for some foods that contain a good, healthy amount of Vitamin C:
- Green Bell Pepper – 60 mg
- Orange – 48 mg
- Strawberries – 45 mg
- Broccoli – 39 mg
- Cantaloupe – 29 mg
- Tomato – 23 mg
- Turnip Greens – 20 mg
- Sweet Potato – 20 mg
So there ya have it, Rockheads – nutrition tips so simple, even a caveman can write them. Avoiding scurvy has never been tastier!