Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most essential vitamins required in our body for its health and vitality. Unfortunately, our body is unable to synthesise it and it has to be sourced from our diet. However, it can be consumed through many fruits and vegetables that are readily available in our kitchen like guava, lemon, amla, oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and spinach. So, a diet rich in this vitamin is a must for a young and healthy lifestyle.
It's a very powerful antioxidant that plays a great role in strengthening your body’s natural defences. It does this by neutralising various unstable free radicals that have the potency to plant a lot of chronic diseases by damaging the cell walls of the cells present in any organ or structure of the body.
These free radicals are produced during routine body functions like physical exertion, respiration, mental stress, breathing, and many more. These radicals accumulate and increase oxidative stress in the body which can ultimately lead to various chronic diseases.
Studies suggest that vitamin C molecules can increase our blood antioxidant levels up to 30% and suppress free radical attack to a large attack.
High blood pressure can lead to a lot of life threatening health issues, especially heart diseases which is the leading cause of death globally. The number of high blood pressure patients are increasing day by day because of lifestyle worsening. Studies have proven that this vitamin may help in lowering blood pressure and enhancing cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) health.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Many factors contribute to enhancing the risk of poor heart health like abnormally raised blood pressure, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and high triglyceride or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Vitamin C being a very good natural antioxidant helps in reducing such risk factors, which may enhance the risk of heart disease. A study has proven that supplementation of this vitamin can significantly reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7.9 mg/dL (approx.) and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/dL (approx.).
Therefore, consuming around 500 mg of vitamin C everyday with a disciplinary approach, may help in reducing such risks. However, if one is already consuming a vitamin-C rich diet daily, then supplementation is futile.
Various studies suggest a strong link between vitamin C consumption and reduction of uric acid levels in our blood which ultimately may lower the chances of gout attacks.
It can play a huge role in improving the absorption of iron, especially from meat-free sources and reduce the risk of the associated deficiency.
People usually take this vitamin’s supplements as an immunity booster in order to enhance the body's defence responses to various disease causing agents, as this micronutrient is important to carry out various immune activities. These are:
Lower levels of this nutrient have been directly linked to an enhanced risk of memory loss and thinking abnormalities like dementia. Various studies suggest that high intake of vitamin C from diet or supplements can produce a strong protective effect towards various mental degenerations.
Rich sources of this nutrient include tomato, orange, amla, guava, grapefruit, kale, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and watermelon. Other foods that can be the good source of vitamin C are:
Researchers suggest that this vitamin’s levels in peppers increase in their lifespan. It is said that yellow bell peppers have the highest C vitamin levels as compared to green bell peppers.
It's high in fibre and C vitamin source, therefore aids in healthy digestion.
It is one of the plant-based sources of iron and vitamin C, thereby promoting red blood cell health also.
Cabbage not only contains C vitamin but other antioxidant phytochemicals also, thereby increasing the cell defence against damage and inflammation.
Cantaloupe or sweet melon is a good source of this vitamin, manganese, fibre, and water, thereby making a great summer diet.
It is also a great source of both vitamin C, and fibre. Therefore, it can become part of a super low carb diet for weight loss.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for this vitamin is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. In fact, it is advised to take it or any other micronutrient from the diet only. If your diet is unable to meet the requirement, then you can go for natural dietary supplements for it. This vitamin shows high water solubility because of which it is not stored in the body and is excreted out. Therefore, only 20-30% absorption occurs. So, one must choose food supplements very cautiously, keeping bioavailability of the nutrients as the first concern.
Although, it is safe for most people, as excess of it gets excreted out and is not stored in the body. In some people, it may cause discomfort such as:
However, chances of side effects increase with higher doses. Consuming it above 2000 mg daily may cause kidney stones or severe diarrhoea. Furthermore, in people suffering from kidney stones, above 1000 mg daily consumption of this vitamin may enhance the risk of getting more kidney stones.
Vitamin C is safe for topical application in most people. In few, it might cause irritation and tingling sensation.