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What is Vitamin C? In what foods is vitamin C found?

Monday, September 6, 2021

A healthy and balanced diet is one of the sine qua non for protecting from disease and keeping fit. In addition to meeting the energy consumed by the body for daily activities, it is essential to take the necessary macro and micronutrients exactly.

In addition to getting enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, the need for vitamins and minerals must be met in order to perform the daily functions of the body without any problems. One of the most common types of vitamins in our country is vitamin C.

Vitamin C, one of the antioxidant vitamins, is a sensitive type of vitamin that has important roles in protecting against infectious diseases and cancer, strengthening the immune system, and can easily disappear in situations such as heat, light, metal contact. Therefore, a balanced diet should be taken in order to consume vitamin C sources correctly and prevent deficiency of this vitamin.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a nutrient that has very important functions in the human body. Ascorbic acid, which is among the water-soluble vitamin types, cannot be produced by the body, so the whole requirement must be taken from the food.

The amount of vitamin C that should be taken into the body daily with nutrients is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. This need increases due to the need of the baby growing in the womb in pregnant women, and milk production in nursing mothers.

The daily requirement of vitamin C for pregnant women can be specified as 85 mg, and 120 mg for breastfeeding mothers. Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, and vitamin as needed every day needs to be taken into the body daily. This is one of the factors that are effective in the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamins taken above the daily requirement are excreted from the body along with urine and sweat. In case of insufficiency, anemia such as anemia, bleeding gums, spots (petechia) and bruises on the skin, frequent illness and late healing of wounds are seen.

In the event that vitamin C deficiency continues for a long time, a disease called as scorebut develops, manifested by easy bleeding, skin bruising, and pain in the joints and muscles. This disease usually occurs as a result of severe insufficiency developed by taking 10 mg of vitamin C daily or below for a long period of one month.

What are the benefits of vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that does not stop counting benefits. Vitamin C, which is involved in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that provides healing in the body, provides repair of cartilage, bones and teeth, helps to protect their health with the healing of wounds.

Apart from these, vitamin C, which contributes to the fulfillment of many biological functions in the human body, has antioxidant properties. In this way, it reacts with free radicals and neutralizes them. As a result, it prevents free radicals from damaging the cells genetically.

There are also studies showing that the vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, keeps the body strong against many infectious diseases, especially common colds in the winter.

For this reason, every individual should be careful to meet the need for vitamin C on a daily basis, like all other nutrients, and should be healthy and balanced for this.

Apart from that, some important benefits of vitamin C include:

Reduces the risk of getting chronic diseases

 Antioxidant foods help prevent the occurrence of chronic diseases by strengthening the body’s natural defense mechanism. Vitamin C, an important antioxidant, removes free radicals from the body and reduces oxidative stress.

Thanks to this feature, it has protective properties against many chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases. In addition, there are studies showing that vitamin C provides blood pressure lowering effect. There are some scientific studies showing that vitamin C gains its blood pressure lowering feature by helping the blood vessels carry the blood to relax.

Balances blood lipids

Some scientific studies have shown that vitamin C helps balance high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Thanks to this feature, it is known that adequate intake of vitamin C significantly reduces the chance of developing heart disease.

Prevents gout attacks

Gout disease is a health problem that causes the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, causing serious pain, swelling and inflammation. Vitamin C helps prevent gout attacks by reducing the level of uric acid in the blood. At the same time, vitamin C significantly reduces the risk of developing gout.

Increases iron absorption

Vitamin C creates an acidic environment that allows iron absorbed with nutrients to be absorbed at a higher rate in the intestines. In this way, it increases anemia and prevents anemia. To get the most out of this feature of vitamin C, it is beneficial to consume meat, chicken, fish and legumes with high iron content with foods such as fresh salads and lemons with high vitamin C content.

Strengthens cognitive functions

Vitamin C is a nutrient that combats the problem of dementia (forgetfulness), which is often seen due to aging. When the studies are examined, it is seen that vitamin C strengthens the thinking ability and memory by preventing oxidation and inflammation near the central nervous system and prevents dementia.

Strengthens the immune system

Vitamin C helps promote the production of white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infections. In this way, it provides an important protection against infections by strengthening the immune system.

In what foods are vitamin C present?

The most important source of vitamin C is fruits and vegetables. However, vitamin C, which is very sensitive due to heat (cooking), contact with metal knives or choppers, exposure to light or oxygen, may lose up to one hundred percent. Therefore, although it can be found in many foods, the main source of vitamin C in terms of usability is fresh fruits and vegetables.

While taking vitamin C from fruits and fresh vegetables, fruits should be consumed as shelled as possible, not cut with metal knives and peeling tools, and should be consumed immediately without waiting after they are cut.

At the same time, since the acidic environment in the salad dressings will damage the vitamin C in the fresh greens and vegetables put in the salad, the salads should be sauce just before eating. Examples of foods that contain large amounts of vitamin C are:

Orange, tangerine, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry and many more fresh fruits,
Red and green peppers,
Greens such as arugula, parsley and lettuce
Fresh rosehip,
Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach are among the important sources of vitamin C.

Should vitamin C supplements be used?

Vitamin C is an important nutrient that needs to be fully met daily. Therefore, vitamin C supplements are also very common among the public. However, as with all dietary supplements, excessive intake of vitamin C can bring some health problems.

Vitamin C requirement can be met completely with a healthy and balanced diet. In this case, there is no need for any vitamin supplements. In healthy individuals, it is possible to meet the vitamin C requirement by consuming 3 servings of fruit, 2 servings of salad or cold cut vegetables daily.

However, vitamin C supplements can be prescribed by a physician in those who cannot consume these foods due to any health problems, those who are deficient in vitamin C, or those who have increased vitamin C requirements for reasons such as infectious diseases.

These supplements can be given as oral pills, water-soluble tablets, or vitamin C serum. Apart from these, the use of vitamin C supplements is not recommended without consulting a physician.

If you want to benefit from the positive effects of vitamin C and protect your health, you should definitely include the foods that are the source of vitamin C in your daily nutrition plan.

If you think you have a vitamin C deficiency or are experiencing symptoms related to it, you can go to a healthcare provider to get a doctor’s check and find out whether you need vitamin supplements by taking the necessary tests.

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