Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a very important role in our health and body functioning. It is one of the most important nutrients needed to maintain our overall physical and mental health. However, our body cannot synthesize it and we must obtain vitamin C through food or supplements.
How exactly does vitamin C help our body?
- Supports the immune system and helps the body fight infections and viruses, stimulating the production of white blood cells and antibodies.
- Acts as a powerful antioxidant that helps fight against free radicals that can cause cell damage and contribute to the development of various chronic diseases.
- It helps the synthesis of collagen, which is necessary for the health of the skin, the structure of the hair and nails. It plays a key role in keeping the skin young and supple.
- Improves the absorption of iron from plant sources, such as cereals and vegetables.
- Accelerates the process of wound healing and tissue regeneration.
- It can help deal with stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body.
- It supports the health of the eyes and reduces the risk of developing some eye diseases.
1. How to understand that our body needs more vitamin C?
Our body always gives us a "hint" when it needs certain vitamins. When vitamin C levels in the body are low:
- The skin becomes dry and irritated - the reason for this is low levels of collagen, for the synthesis of which vitamin C is responsible. The lack of vitamin C can reduce the production of collagen, which leads to weaker, thinner and dry skin.
- Hair breaks easily - collagen also plays a key role in hair structure. It helps keep the hair healthy and resistant to damage.
- Nails break and white spots appear - brittle and splitting nails are the result of iron deficiency in the body. And iron deficiency leads precisely to brittle nails.
- The gums become sensitive - they bleed even with the slightest touch or pressure.
- Joint and muscle pain occurs - people with vitamin C deficiency often complain of joint and muscle pain.
- The feeling of fatigue and exhaustion increases - this symptom may be due to the reduced ability of the body to absorb iron.
2. What dose of vitamin C do we need to take every day?
The daily dose of vitamin C can vary depending on a variety of factors, including age, gender, physical activity and health needs. The generally accepted recommendations for the daily dose of vitamin C are:
- For adult men: About 100-120 mg per day
- For adult women: About 80-100 mg per day
- For pregnant women: About 85 mg per day
- For nursing mothers: About 120 mg per day
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that excess of it is excreted from the body through the urine. This means that, in general, consuming more vitamin C than the recommended daily allowance does not pose a serious health risk.
3. How can we get the vitamin C our body needs?
To get enough vitamin C, you can include a variety of foods in your diet and build good eating habits.
- Citrus fruits: Lemons, oranges, grapefruits and tangerines are excellent sources of vitamin C. Consume them as fruit or prepare juice from them.
- Blackberries: They are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. You can consume them in the morning as part of your breakfast or add them to salads.
- Peppers: Red and green peppers contain significant amounts of vitamin C.
- Kiwi: Kiwifruit is extremely rich in vitamin C. Eat it as a whole fruit or add kiwi to smoothies and desserts.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach and cauliflower also contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Cook them or add them to salads and sandwiches.
- Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake mushrooms, contain vitamin C. Include them in recipes with soups, pasta or omelets.
- Food supplements: If needed or if you cannot consume enough vitamin C from food, you can use vitamin C food supplements.