On April 4th, it’s National Vitamin C Day, and we’re raising a glass of fizz to celebrate! That fizz, we should add, may well take the form of an effervescent tablet of the good stuff, because Vitamin C is one of those essential nutrients that we simply can’t live without. The ‘essential’ part means two things here; firstly, it’s vital for the body, and secondly, ‘essential’ actually means that we’re unable to produce it within the body.
What’s more, our bodies are unable to store Vitamin C naturally, so we need to make sure we’re getting a healthy supply from our diet every single day, and not just on April 4th. Though the NHS recommend that adults need 40mg of vitamin C a day, it should be noted that too much of the stuff (over 1000mg a day) can cause issues, primarily stomach pains, diarrhea and flatulence.
Best then, to get the majority from your diet in a healthy, sustainable way. Fear not; Vitamin C is found in some of the most naturally delicious foods going, including strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, potatoes, and its most well known vehicle, oranges.
‘’Mine’s a portion of chips topped with strawberry ice cream, with a side of OJ, please’’.
To celebrate Vitamin C Day, let’s consider the myriad health benefits of the stuff. With that in mind, here are 7 reasons you need Vitamin C.
A POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANT
Vitamin C is considered a superhero of the nutrient world. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen your body’s natural defences and contributes to immune defence by supporting cellular function required to battle illness.
Our body’s immune systems work tirelessly around the clock, fighting off free radicals that are continually finding ways to break down cells throughout the body and the collagen that holds your very fabric together.
While there’s an all-out war waging inside your immune system, antioxidants like vitamin C are helping to repair the damage left in the free radical’s wake. These antioxidants reduce the threat from viruses and bacteria while strengthening your body’s natural defences. It’s a powerful case for keeping your vitamin C levels in check, don’t you think?
MAKE SCURVY WALK THE PLANK
Ahoy, me hearties! Swollen, sore and bleeding gums can be a sign of a lack of vitamin C in your diet, and although it’s incredibly rare these days, scurvy, made famous in old pirate yarns, does still exist. In fact, the ‘father of naval medicine’ James Lind actually discovered the power of Vitamin C while trying to rid sailors of scurvy on board a naval ship in 1747.
He found that oranges and lemons were a cure for the piratical problem, and so, the cure of scurvy and the importance of Vitamin C were both discovered on that very ship.
Though scurvy is an extreme example of Vitamin C deficiency, it does pay to be aware of the symptoms associated with not getting enough. These include:
Tiredness and weakness
Muscle and joint pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, speak to your GP.
IT BRINGS DELICIOUSNESS TO YOUR DIET
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and part of the fundamental glue that keeps your body from, well, falling apart.
Fortunately, it occurs in some of the most delicious, healthiest foods, and the easiest way to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of the good stuff is by eating a balanced diet. Vitamin C is found particularly in:
Citrus fruit – oranges, orange juice, limes, lemons – you get the gist!
Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
Green leafy veg – spinach, kale, chard – all the yums!
Bell peppers – red, yellow and green
Broccoli – oh so delicious with anchovy, garlic and chilli, we should add
Potatoes and sweet potatoes – roasties, chips, crisps, mash…you name it
As Spring finally brings some respite from all that heavy, hearty fare which has kept us comforted throughout Winter, so the seasonal vegetables in the UK become lighter, greener and more Vitamin C rich. Check out these 5 IDEAL Spring vegetables and how to cook them for some inspiration!
It should be noted that while diet alone should be enough to take care of your daily intake, sometimes you might find that you’re not getting enough from your meals. If you want to brighten up your skin, shake off fatigue or keep your immune system in check, taking a daily vitamin C supplement to reach those daily 40mgs could help.
NATURAL COLLAGEN BOOSTER
Woven between each of your skin cells, collagen is an extraordinary protein that provides structure to your skin and allows your blood to clot when you need it to. As you age, collagen production slows, and this can lead to wrinkles and fine lines.
Now, one of the beauty industry’s go-to vitamins for improving your skin’s appearance is Vitamin C, and once you know that, you’ll start to notice that it’s infused in everything from moisturisers to serums.
Combined with your daily skincare routine, applying Vitamin C topically to your skin in serum form can encourage collagen production, reducing wrinkles and blemishes.
And of course, getting Vitamin C in your diet will also help with collagen production, too. Is there anything it can’t do?!
Iron is one of the vital micronutrients our bodies needs to function properly. Like Vitamin C, we don’t produce iron naturally. Instead, it needs to be absorbed into the body via your diet, and is found in liver, red meat, chickpeas, beans, nuts and dried fruit, especially.
Vitamin C and iron go hand in hand. Without the former, the latter can’t be absorbed properly, and your body cannot support your oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of iron can lead to pale skin, a lack of energy and a shortness of breath. So, be a friend to iron and make sure you give it all the Vitamin C support it needs to work!
COULD HELP LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
One of Vitamin C’s potential benefits is that it may even help to lower blood pressure. According to John Hopkins Medicine, ‘’Taking large doses of vitamin C may moderately reduce blood pressure, according to an analysis of years of research by Johns Hopkins scientists.’’
That said it should be noted that ‘’the researchers stopped short of suggesting people load up on supplements.’’
The study found that Vitamin C works as a diuretic to help remove sodium and water from your body, all while relaxing your blood vessel walls. As such, when you have a healthy diet containing plenty of Vitamin C, your chances of a stroke and cardiovascular issues may be reduced.
GREAT POST WORKOUT
Not only is Vitamin C a powerful antioxidant, supporting of iron absorption and making your hair and skin look radiant; it is also essential in supporting your body’s ability to repair itself.
Because of this, many bodybuilders, athletes and keen amateur gym-goers swear by Vitamin C because of its power to help healing and rebuilding, particularly after injury.
According to Healthline, ‘’Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, which helps maintain the integrity of your bones, muscles, skin and tendons. Therefore, getting enough vitamin C from your diet is a great way to help your body rebuild tissue after an injury. Moreover, Vitamin C has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help speed up your recovery by preventing excessive levels of inflammation.’’
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, so we won’t try!
THE BOTTOM LINE
Vitamin C is vital to your health and wellbeing. It keeps your body functioning properly, supports other micronutrients and heals your wounds. A silent partner to our immune system’s natural defense, it’s one of the essential vitamins to keep in check and celebrate.
Care to come to our Vitamin C party? The OJs are on us!