Living a modern lifestyle means that it can sometimes be difficult to get all of the vitamins and nutrients that are essential for good health. Working long hours and trying to juggle myriad responsibilities leaves little time to cook nutritionally balanced meals at home. If time constraints have you cooking less and ordering out more, you could be deficient in certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
One of the most important vitamins the body requires for optimal functioning is vitamin C. If you are not getting enough vitamin C in your diet, you really ought to consider taking it in supplement form. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and the human body cannot create it on its own. Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of tendon, cartilage, bone collagen, muscle, blood vessels, leukocytes, and a mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. It also has several associated health benefits.
1. Natural Sources
Vitamin C can be taken in supplement form, but should ideally be derived from its natural food sources. Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamin C. If you want to get vitamin C from your diet, eat more oranges, grapefruits, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, red peppers and potatoes with the skin left on. You should also consider using the juice from lemons when you cook. For example you can use lemon juice to make salad dressing, or squeeze it over meat to add flavor. Of course you can also make beverages like lemonade with fresh lemon juice.
2. Health Benefits
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, so it neutralizes the damaging effect of free radicals and improves cell health. Research suggests that vitamin C may help to prevent or treat several different health conditions. Examples of health conditions vitamin C may help treat are the common cold, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cataracts, gout and asthma. Vitamin C also plays an important role in immune system health.
Severe deficiency of vitamin C is rare in developed world. The main disease associated with vitamin C deficiency is scurvy. When someone has scurvy, their body is not producing enough collagen. The symptoms of scurvy include skin blemishes, spongy gums, tooth loss, open wounds and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Scurvy is a disease that used to impact sailors. That’s because there was no source of fresh fruits and vegetables onboard ships.
Adults need more vitamin C than children. Men need more vitamin C than women. Smokers require more vitamin C than non-smokers. Pregnant or lactating women require extra vitamin C. Heavy people need more vitamin C than their thinner counterparts. Before you start taking vitamin C supplements, it’s a good idea to find out what dosage is suitable for you.
Because vitamin C is water soluble as opposed to fat soluble, it is possible to overdose on it. Overdosing on vitamin C can lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, back pain, fever, kidney stones, itchy skin, jaundice, abdominal pain and a decrease in urine output. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop ingesting vitamin C and seek medical treatment.