Vitamin C is often the go-to vitamin when we feel the signs of a common cold looming. It helps to support our immune system, which is useful for when we are not feeling our best.
But the incredible benefits of this powerful vitamin are not limited to its immune supporting properties. Vitamin C helps us stay healthy in a number of ways, including reducing tiredness and fatigue, increasing iron absorption and aiding normal metabolism.
Vitamin C also plays an important role in the formation and function of our body. As vitamin C is not made or stored in our bodies, it is important we get our required intake through the foods we eat.
Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables is the key to making sure you get enough vitamins, every day.
How vitamin C contributes to our health
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble micronutrient that supports many bodily functions that help us stay healthy.
Our immune system is important for fighting off infections, so it is essential we take good care of it. Vitamin C helps contribute to a healthy immune system- helping our bodies’ defences in tip top condition.
Tiredness and fatigue
Tiredness and fatigue are symptoms many people face in their everyday lives, and could be a sign of a mild vitamin C deficiency. By making sure you are consuming enough vitamin C daily, you can help to keep tiredness and fatigue at bay.
Vitamin C helps maintain a normal energy metabolism, which is instrumental to the processing of food and extraction of energy to support our daily activities.
One of the many functions vitamin C performs is its role in the formation of collagen. Collagen is a type of protein that is needed for many parts of our bodies including our skin, bones, teeth and cartilage.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, also plays a role in helping our bodies absorb the mineral iron. Vitamin C-rich foods, when consumed at the same time as foods containing iron, can boost absorption levels.
It is important to get our required vitamin C intake on a daily basis, as we cannot store this vitamin in our body to draw on in times of low intake.
Foods that contain vitamin C
The key to making sure you get enough vitamin C is to combine a mix of fruits and vegetables that are vitamin C-rich. Consuming the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day can easily provide more than the recommended adult daily intake of 80mg of Vitamin C! Some foods will contain naturally higher levels of vitamin C than others, so it is best to have diversity in the types of foods you eat.
Fresh fruits, such as citrus fruits, are good sources of vitamin C to include as part of a well-balanced diet. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include:
- Oranges and orange juice
- Red and green peppers
- Brussels sprouts
As vitamin C is destroyed by heat and is sensitive to other factors, the beneficial vitamin C content found in your food may be significantly reduced by prolonged room-temperature storage and certain cooking methods like boiling. Thankfully, there are ways you can lessen this effect such as by using frozen fruits and vegetables, and by steaming your food- and you can even do this with veg in the microwave.
How much vitamin C do we need?
As our bodies aren’t able to make or store vitamin C, it’s important to obtain it every single day through our diet.
Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, which is often associated with sailors in the 15th to 18th centuries who struggled to eat fresh produce on long sea voyages. Thankfully, modern cases of scurvy are rare, although mild vitamin C deficiencies may occur in people with poor or very restricted diets.
One way to get your daily dose is to choose nutrient-rich frozen vegetables, such as frozen green peas that you can store and use at your convenience. A portion of frozen peas contains over 15% of your daily allowance!
As our green peas are frozen within 2 ½ hours of being picked, their nutrients – including vitamin C – are locked in. Keep a bag of frozen green peas at hand to give your meals a vitamin C boost whenever you want. Or why not pick up a bag of Steamfresh Family Favourite Mix which provides a rich source of vitamin C per serving. Plus, it’s ready to eat in just 4 minutes!