Chiefly vitamins are divided two types – water soluble and fat soluble vitamins.
Vitamin A, D, E and K are fats soluble vitamins as they need fats for absorption, transportation and utilization. B complex vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble vitamins as they need water for absorption, transport and utilization. Neither of the vitamins (except vitamin D) can be synthesized by our body and need to be taken via food every day.
Vitamin C is one key nutrient that can not be produced in the body but has to be consumed through foods alone. Let us understand how much of vitamin C do we need, what happens if we don’t have adequate amounts and the benefits of the nutrient.
VITAMIN C AND SKIN
- Vitamin C helps synthesis of collagen and which makes skin firm and toned.
- Collagen deficiency causes wrinkling, dullness and sagging of skin.
- According to studies, it has been suggested that vitamin C intake via diet helps regeneration of sun burnt skin faster than vitamin C enriched tropical creams.
- Prevents formation of stretch marks.
- The antioxidant function of vitamin C neutralizes the free radicals and halts ageing of cells, making you look and feel younger.
- Increases elastin formation in skin which protects, retains moisture, increases blood circulation resulting in soft glow and suppleness to skin.
- Combination of vitamin C and zinc is a great way to treat eczema.
- Diminishes melanin (skin discoloration pigment) production resulting in bright skin.
- Evens out skin tone, fills in acne scar indents, brightens pigmentation
- Redness of skin as a result of inflammation can be reduced with vitamin C intake.
- Defends skin surface from external stress such as environmental pollution.
- Vitamin C strengthens and helps nails grow, it also prevents hang nails by aiding collagen formation
Drinking a cup of water and fresh lemon can cut down your body’s free radical (unfavorable metabolic products) production, causing your skin to stay healthy and work towards looking its very best.
VITAMIN C AND HAIR
- Anti-bacterial properties can prevent dandruff formation which degrades hair growth.
- Free radicals act on hair follicles and stops growth, causes dull hair.
- Vitamin C protects hair cells from free radicals by acting as an antioxidant.
- Prevents premature ageing and retains hair colour.
- Hair loss due to adrenal gland hormonal disorder can be reversed.
- Due to its collagen synthesizing property it stops formation of split ends.
Overall it increases blood flow, acts as anti bacteria and has antioxidants effects which work together and give thick healthy hair.
Dried amla soaked overnight in water is nourishing for hair
VITAMIN C AND HEART
- In stress, vitamin C dilates the blood vessels and increases free flow of blood reducing blood pressure
- Hinders constriction of blood vessels which can lead to heart attack.
- Aids in cholesterol metabolism leading to reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
VITAMIN C AND OTHER BENEFITS
- Synthesis of neurotransmitter norephinephrine – effects persons mood and critical for proper brain functioning.
- Keeps iron in ferric state (easily absorbable form). Consume iron rich foods always with vitamin C foods – main reason to squeeze lemon on foods.
- Prevent formation of cancer cells
- Regular intake of vitamin C elevates immunity level and lowers illness by viruses such as common cold.
- Decreases lead toxicity ( people living in urban areas are more prone to lead toxicity)
- Relieves symptoms of asthma.
Amla and bitter gourd being rich in vitamin C is valuable for diabetes as it helps rejuvenate cells of pancreas
HOW MUCH DO WE NEED?
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) per day (ICMR, 2010) –
Adult men, women, children – 40 mg
Pregnant women – 60 mg
Lactating women – 80 mg
|Food Items||Vitamin C (mg/100 gms)|
|Colocasia leaves, green||40|
At least one serving of vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables should be consumed everyday to meet the required levels of vitamin C for the day.
HOW TO CONSUME
Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables is more readily absorbed and utilized as they contain flavonoids which boost vitamin C uptake as opposed to supplements.
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Oral contraceptives
- Protease inhibitors
Vitamin C interacts with these drugs and may cause side effects or failure of medicines.
High dose of vitamin C supplements may cause abdominal cramps, dental erosion, chest pain, faintness, diarrhea, flushing, headache, heartburn, nausea, and an inflamed esophagus.High doses can cause kidney stones, digestive problems
TIPS TO MAXIMIZE VITAMIN C CONTENT OF FOODS
- Harvesting fruits and vegetables at peak of maturity
- Storing in cool, moist place
- Heating or drying fruits and vegetables destroys most of the Vitamin C.
- Avoiding soaking food in water.
- Cooking food in copper or iron vessels reduces its Vitamin C content, but no such loss occurs in aluminium vessels.
- Baking soda has higher deleterious effects on Vitamin C than steam cooking
- Cook food in minimal water
- Eat fruits immediately after cutting as exposure to air causes oxidation (destruction) of Vitamin C.
- Avoid making juices or macerating.
- Germination of beans and pulses increases its Vitamin C content by 85%.
- Canning of tomato juice or citrus juices has no significant loss of their Vitamin C content.