What to Eat Before an Exam

What should we eat before an exam is a question that parents and student often wonder about. During exams period, stress can be very high. Therefore, students in order to manage with their stress level they should pay attention to other factors apart from reading. To be able to increase their productivity and their level of alertness they will need to pay attention to their nutrition and physical fitness as well. Nutrition is a key success factor, for achieving better test results. Therefore, as recommended by nutritionists throughout the period of exams their nutrition should be balanced.

Breakfast and its Importance for Studying

In the preparation of a student for the exams, breakfast plays a very important role. A full breakfast increases energy and improves the mood so as to cope with the difficulties of reading and other obligations of the day. Moreover, it reduces the feeling of hunger during the midday hours, which puts off overeating at noon and prevents sleepiness and bad performance. A good breakfast can include some dairy products (milk or yogurt or cream), a starchy food (breakfast cereals, bread or toast, homemade cakes), fruit or juice, honey or jam.Snacks are equally important (after breakfast and in the afternoon), because they decrease the feeling of hunger and provide extra energy during the most important hours of reading. Some ideal snacks for these hours are fruits, sweets, dairy products and grains.

The Need for a Balanced Diet

Throughout the year, but especially during the exams periods, the student’s nutrition should include foods from all the groups in appropriate amounts with a special focus on fish and seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables, which usually have a small part in their daily diet. Having all the food groups in the daily nutrition can cover all the needs of the student in macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), without requiring any supplements. Moreover, it should be noted that, during the examination period, students must NOT follow any kind of strict slimming diet. Balance in the selection of foods and eating in moderation contribute significantly to student performance in reading, and the proper distribution of meals helps to better mood, memory and concentration. Eating small frequent meals help students to be alert and increase productiveness. In contrast, large meals cause drowsiness and reduce concentration and thinking ability. Thus, it is preferable to consume smaller amounts of food (in the form of snacks or main meals) every 2-3 hours.

Top Nutrition Tips for the Day before the Exam

The day before the exams, is very important. It is preferable, during that day to include some familiar and enjoyable food that you will eat with pleasure and will help you get into a good mood. The choice of food is better to be done by the person taking the exam, but attention must be paid, as it is important to be tasty yet not too spicy and heavy, in order to avoid possible stomach problems. Under no circumstances should the day before the exam consume any food that causes discomfort while it is better to avoid any food that you have not tried before, as there is a risk of food intolerance or of an upset stomach, especially because of the increased stress level. Greater attention should be paid to the dinner, as a heavy dinner can affect the relaxation and the rest of the student and hence its performance the next day. The day before the exam, drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages, especially during the evening hours should be avoided. Finally, on the day of the exam, in no case should the student start the exam on an empty stomach, because they may feel dizzy and will not be able to perform at their best level.

Ten Super Foods for Women

Super foods are basically called super because of the nutrients that contain that can protect us against various diseases and strengthen our immune systems. Here is a list of 10 super foods that we feel every woman should have in mind.

1. Parmesan: for strong bones. Adequate intake of calcium is necessary for the prevention of osteoporosis (especially if you are in your 20s). Milk and yogurt help, but who wants to have them 3 times a day? Integrate parmesan in your diet as it contains 340mg of calcium per 30g – compared with 200mg in cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese – this will help you to get closer to the target of 1000mg calcium required daily.

2. Apples: to strengthen the immune system. Another reason why “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is the fact that apples are a rich source of quercetin, an antioxidant that protects our brain cells and enhances the body’s ability to fight diseases. When you eat apples you should also eat their skin since quercetin concentration is the highest in it.

3. Avocado: Flat belly. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been proven to help reduce weight, including in the waist. In a study, those who consumed more monounsaturated fat (about 23% of daily calories) had about 5 pounds less belly fat than those who followed a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat.

4. Black chocolate: for stress management and disease control. Researchers in Europe discovered that people who ate 40g of dark chocolate (which contains approximately 200 calories) on a daily basis for 2 weeks resulted into a producing a lot less of the stress hormone called cortisol and did not feel fatigue and act also as a female libido enhancer. Cortisol has the ability to increase blood pressure temporarily. Consistently high cortisol levels increase the risk of depression, obesity and heart disease.

5. Potatoes: Healthy carbohydrates. Potatoes contain a compound against fat storage called resistant starch and which can assist in keeping your weight under control. A medium potato with skin has only 100 calories, and more potassium than bananas, potatoes also help fight heart diseases, and keep blood pressure at a low.

6. Broccoli: to combat wrinkles. One cup of broccoli provides 100% of the vitamin C you need – necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is the substance responsible for elasticity of our skin. It is also rich in beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to replace the old cells with new cells.

7. Sardines: to fight heart disease. Sardines have been found to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation which can lead to clogging of the arteries. They also prevent blood clots which in turn can cause heart attacks and strokes. Note that, 90gr sardines have about 1.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids with the daily recommended intake being around 1 gram.

8. Lentils: for iron. Lentils ‘build’ your stocks in iron. One cup of lentils has about 30% of your daily iron intake. Approximately 12% of young women have low iron levels which in extreme cases lead to anemia. However, a study found that even women who were iron deficient (not anemia) had lower performance on tests of skills than people with normal levels. Lentils are a good source of iron, but very little is absorbed by our body. The absorption of non-heme iron increases the vitamin C and animal protein contained in red meat, poultry and fish. So to increase significantly the absorption of iron from lentils, include in your meal, a little animal protein (eg fish, poultry, red meat) and foods that are rich sources of vitamin C, such as oranges, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, grapefruit, lemons and strawberries.

9. Spinach: concentrated with essential nutrients. It is rich in vitamin C and also contains magnesium and calcium – a combination that can help slow the breakdown of bone that occurs as we age – as well as folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects.

10. Mushrooms: with antioxidants against cancer. One study showed that women who ate just one third of a serving of mushrooms daily had a 64% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. Other research suggests that mushrooms reduce the effects of aromatase, a protein that increases the production of estrogen – an important factor for some forms of breast cancer.

Lycopene Benefit

For informational purposes you should know that lycopene is part of the carotenoid family of substances (this is the main carotenoid in human plasma), which cannot be manufactured by the human body. Lycopene, is closely related to the well known beta-carotene. Indeed, many recent studies suggest that some of the benefits attributed to beta-carotene actually derived from lycopene.

Lycopene has an important biological value for the human immune system and allows the body to develop antioxidant activity neutralizing free radicals, generated by the normal metabolism of cells.

The levels of lycopene in our body are influenced by many biological factors and our way of life. Within our body it is found in the serum, in the adrenal glands, the liver, the testicles and the prostate.

Lycopene General Info

Lycopene is the phytochemical substance that gives the red color to tomatoes and its derivatives.

Lycopene can also be found in watermelon, in pink grapefruit, in the sanguine, the papaya, the guava and the strawberries.

In the fresh fruits and vegetables, the lycopene is entrapped in the plant tissue. Therefore, only a part of the lycopene contained in the fresh fruit can be absorbed.

The processing of fruit makes lycopene more biologically available, by increasing the surface available for digestion.

The chemical form of lycopene varies with temperature changes occurring during processing and thus it is more easily absorbed by the body.

Although lycopene is available in supplement form, it is likely to be more beneficial when taken from the whole fruit, where other substances of the fruit may increase its effectiveness.

Because of its solubility in fat (like vitamins A, D, E and beta-carotene), the absorption of the tissue increases when it is added to food oil.

Research shows that lycopene can be absorbed more efficiently by the body after it has been processed into juice, sauce, paste or ketchup.

After absorption from the intestine it is “deposited” in the liver, lung, prostate, colon and skin.

Benefits of lycopene

Until now considerable number of studies have shown that lycopene, especially the one coming from the tomato and its derivatives, can help fight various major diseases.

Other scientific studies have shown that lycopene protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation (protect arteries from plaque formation) and that this action of lycopene is greatly enhanced by the existence of another carotenoid, the lutein, which is found in spinach and corn.

Lycopene acts against heart disease, and myocardial infarction.

Lycopene acts against osteoporosis, male infertility, preeclampsia in pregnancy, in diabetes, but also in loss of vision and cataracts.

Studies have shown that lycopene helps prevent macular degeneration in the elderly people, which is the leading cause of blindness in these individuals.

Lycopene has a positive effect on the immune system (white blood cells of people who ate tomatoes were much more resistant to oxidative damage) and helps against aging, and most likely offering wellness and longevity.

There is some evidence that lycopene reduces the oxidation of LDL thereby helping to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Lycopene against cancer

Lycopene protects against prostate cancer, digestive system (mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon), breast, cervical and ovarian cancers.

Regular and adequate consumption of tomatoes reduces the overall risk of cancer at a rate that can even reach up to 40%.

It has been found that lycopene may be used as an anticarcinogenic substance, greatly reducing the likelihood of developing certain cancers. In a 6 year study of 47,000 male individuals, professors of medicine at Harvard found that eating tomato products more than 2 times per week can be associated with a reduction in the probability of prostate cancer by 21-34%.

At the University of Illinois, women with higher levels of lycopene observed five times lower likelihood of developing cervical cancer than those with the lower levels of lycopene. So tomatoes are an important part of our diet and if the test is a factor, this could be an important step in addressing other cancers as well.

How much lycopene should be consumed?

An official recommendation for the daily consumption of lycopene has not been set. However, different studies suggested that for greater protection against cancer at least 6.5 mg per day should be consumed.

Lycopene food sources
In the table below you can see an indication for the intake of lycopene from different types of food

Product Lycopene (mg/100g) Portion size Lycopene (mg/portion)
 Tomato juice  9.5  250ml  25
 Tomato ketchup  15.9  15ml  2.7
 Spaghetti sauce  21.9  125ml  28.1
 Tomato paste  42.2  30ml  13.8
 Tomato soup  7.2  250ml  9.7
 Tomato sauce  14.1  60ml  8.9
 Raw tomato  3  125g  3.7
 Watermelon  4  370g  14.7
 Pink grapefruit  4  125g  4.9

 

Tomato Nutrition and Benefits

tomatoesTomatoes are low in calories and are loaded with a number of health benefits for the body and they should be a part of any kind of healthy diet. Tomato, which is actually a fruit rather than a vegetable, is a well known anti-oxidant and can be prepared in a number of different ways, e.g. raw, in salads, grilled, or as a boiled sauce.

Tomato Nutrition

To begin with, it is important to know that tomatoes contain a lot of vitamin C, which strengthens the body’s defense. Two-thirds of our daily needs in vitamin C, is already covered by two medium tomatoes. It also contains abundant folic acid, which is necessary for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the body cells. The scientists even argue that those who take medications, drink alcohol, eat too much meat, pregnant women and elder people, have an increased need for folic acid and as a result should consume a lot of tomatoes. This miraculous plant also contains vitamin E which is good for fertility and good for sexual life, vitamins from the vitamin B group which are good for proper metabolic function and strong nervous system, as well as chromium which is mostly good for diabetics as it helps to lower blood sugar levels. It also contains selenium, which belongs to the substances that protect against cancer, since it plays an important role in the immune system, potassium to support the heart function, magnesium which helps against the symptoms of stress and muscle cramps, and iron, copper and manganese.

Perfect skin

Tomatoes get the bright red color from carotenoid lycopene. Carotenoids are plant pigments found in vegetables and fruits with bright red, yellow or orange color. They are also contained in some vegetables with green leaves. The darker the color the higher the content of carotenoids. The carotenoids help to clear the free radicals out of the body, strengthen the immune system and thus potentially reduce the risk of cancer. Moreover, they give us smoother skin and faster and more beautiful tan. Apart from the tomatoes, the carotenoids are found mainly in carrots, pumpkins, peaches, apricots, melons, broccoli and spinach.

To stay healthy, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends eating regular foods with “red”, e.g. tomatoes, “green”, e.g. spinach, and “yellow” color, e.g. apricots. And if you complete your diet with “white” e.g. sheep yogurt, and “black” color, e.g. whole meal bread, then you make a big step towards maintaining a healthy, fit body in good shape and a perfect skin.

Lower Cholesterol

The traditional Mediterranean diet, with tomatoes in almost all recipes, is associated with numerically fewer cases of chronic heart diseases. Recent scientific research has shown that people often eating tomatoes as part of their daily diet are less likely to suffer from heart attacks than those who do not include it in their diet. That’s because tomatoes contain lycopene, an anti-oxidant, which prevents the oxidation of cholesterol LDL, which is the “bad” cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is the initial step leading to the formation of plaque in arteries and therefore to heart attack.

Tomato against cancer

According to recent surveys, regular and adequate consumption of tomatoes, preferably organic, can potentially reduce cancer risk by up to 40%. Tomatoes mainly protects against cancer of the prostate, lung and stomach. In a survey scientists have discovered that smokers who ate more than 14 times a month tomatoes (or carrots) had significantly lower risk of lung cancer than those who ate tomatoes or other vegetables more rarely. Recent research has shown that tomato, like grapes and wine, contain flavonoids. These vital substances are superb in flushing out of the body the free radicals and are found in the outer layer of the fruit, i.e. just below the skin. Of course, when tomatoes are peeled, a significant part of these substances is lost. So you should always eat tomatoes, as well as grapes, with their skin. Beta-carotene (ß-Carotene) is one more important substances contained in tomatoes. Beta-carotene along with vitamins C and E consist the main group of substances for flushing the free radicals out of the body.

Tips for the kitchen

It is interesting to note that lycopene contained in tomatoes is available to the body only when heated and only after adding some fat in it, e.g. olive oil. Therefore, it is not the raw tomato salad that is good for the intake of this substance, but a well boiled tomato sauce. As a result in order to take all vital substances we should eat both raw and cooked food. And here, as in everything in life, balance is important.

Season tomatoes have more vital substances and smell and taste better. Smaller are usually tastier than the larger ones. But tomatoes continue to ripen in the kitchen. So you should avoid as much as possible placing them in the fridge because they lose their flavor. Because tomatoes emit ethylene they should not be placed next to the cucumbers, otherwise they will get spoiled quickly. Finally, it is advisable to wash and slice the tomatoes like all fruits and vegetables just before eating them, in order to keep their precious substances.

Foods That Can Make Your Breasts Bigger

Breasts contain fat, therefore, they can grow bigger or reduce in size at different times in your life. Weight loss or gain also contributes to breast size. Usually, breast fat is the first fat to go when a woman loses weight.

Stress Levels

A women’s hormones are affected when high stress is involved resulting in a change in breast size.

Stress causes a reduction in output levels of oestrogen and progesterone. There is a reduction in cell growth rate and lift in the breast as a result of high stress.

Smoking

Smoking is not a healthy habit to begin with, but where your breasts are concerned women who smoke can lose the elasticity in their breasts causing them to sag and appear less full.

Foods

According to the website breastenlargementresource.com breast tissue growth may increase with the consumption of foods containing high levels of phytoestrogens. Raw vegetables contain healing enzymes and have been known to promote healthy breasts.

Examples of breast enhancing foods are:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Wholegrain Rice
  • Oats
  • Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Flaxseed/Unheated Flaxseed Oil
  • Unheated Extra-Virgin Olive OilSoy Based Foods/Tofu
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Parsley/Rosemary
  • Raw Spinach
  • Salmon/Rainbow/Trout/Tuna/Sardines/Cod/Herring
  • Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Organic Foods

Avoid Foods Containing:

  • Margarine
  • Frying oils
  • Fried/grilled/burnt foods
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil

Herbs

Using herbs is a natural way of achieving and maintaining good health. Society is becoming more commercialized and products are more often chemically manufactured. Natural herbs function to promote personal health, help regulate your body, balance your metabolism and help in the body’s natural healing process.

When choosing a breast enhancement pill it is important to choose one containing herbal ingredients.

Cinnamon Can Help Stabilize Your Energy

Research on the past few years is showing that Cinnamon may help to control blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those suffering from diabetes.

A quick health lesson so we can understand how this works:

  • Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose contained in your blood. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells.
  • Glucose levels tend to rise after you eat and then drop as your stomach empties.
  • Being that your blood sugar level is highly correlated to your level of energy, you will tend to feel your best if you can maintain a stable level of glucose in your blood.

CinnamonThis is where cinnamon comes in! A recent study indicated that cinnamon helps to maintain glucose balance by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after meals and reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. This in turn helps to make you feel healthier and more energetic all day long.

This is pretty good news for those of us who suffer minor peaks and valleys in our glucose levels, but it’s even better news for those suffering from Type II Diabetes. For diabetics the need to constantly monitor and regulate their blood glucose levels is a daily job, and usually includes taking medication, exercising regularly and possible following a weight loss plan. Now, doctors may add cinnamon to that regimen as  Diabetes Care study found that eating as little as one gram of cinnamon daily reduced serum glucose and triglyceride in people with type 2 diabetes. Go cinnamon!

Top 10 Reasons To Go Gluten Free

Even if you do not have an intolerance or allergy to gluten, giving up gluten filled foods can do wonders for your health. Below are ten reasons why anyone should consider going gluten free.

1) If you can get nutrition from gluten, you can get it from other sources as well.

Most gluten filled grains are high in dietary fiber and various types of B vitamins. This is why so many people believe it is so important to eat these foods. What most people do not know is that if you can get this nutrition from gluten based grains, you can get it in other foods.

For example, one hundred grams of whole wheat flour provides thirty percent of the recommended allowance of niacin, and thirty two percent of the recommended allowance of thiamin. Eating sesame seeds or flaxseeds provides even more of these nutrients, while being completely gluten free.

Many foods containing gluten are also touted as being fiber rich. This too is an issue that can easily be remedied with other foods. For example, one hundred grams of brown rice has just under two grams of fiber. In comparison, collard greens have nearly three grams of fiber, and green peas have nearly five grams of fiber.

2) Grains containing gluten are not good for your stomach.

When your stomach is not healthy, the rest of your body will not feel healthy because you will not be able to absorb all of the necessary nutrients from food. This in turn makes your body more prone to illness, and even at risk for becoming malnourished. Gluten filled foods have been linked to a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome”.

This means that tiny pieces of the foods are leaked out of the intestinal walls causing the body to react with an immune response. When the immune system is taxed in this way it cannot effectively fight of illnesses.

3) You may be unable to process gluten properly.

Many Caucasian people have a higher risk for being unable to properly digest gluten rich foods. While research has estimated that about one percent of the population has celiac disease, the numbers may actually be quite a bit higher. Some studies have estimated that nearly thirty to forty percent of people of European descent have some form or degree of gluten allergy.

4) Gluten causes inflammation.

Because these types of grain are high in starch, they tend to be inflammatory. The more refined grains you eat, the more inflammation is possible. Take unbleached white flour for example. This ingredient is much more inflammatory than even whole wheat flour.

That being said, foods that are gluten free such as fresh vegetables and healthy fats have been shown to reduce inflammation. People who suffer with chronic inflammation have been subjected to many different conditions such as allergies, bone loss, arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer.

5) Gluten grains are fairly new types of food.

Even though grains containing gluten are considered to be whole foods, and nutritious, they are still relatively new to the human diet. Before the birth of agriculture, human beings simply hunted and
gathered their foods. This meant eating animal protein, fish, wild berries, fruits, wild greens, nuts, and the like. Our ancestors did not plant gardens, they did not harvest grains, and they did not drink dairy products.

Humans survived on this diet for a great many years, before grains ever became introduced. Today, grains now account for the bulk of our modern diet, which has led to a variety of new health conditions.

6) Gluten grains can harm your joints.

As previously explained, gluten filled grains are quite inflammatory. This also wreaks havoc on your joints, leading to painful conditions such as arthritis. These types of foods contain amino acids that mimic those already found in the joints’ soft tissues. Since both components are quite similar in makeup, the body has great difficulty telling which is natural and which is introduced. This leads to cells becoming overworked, and inflamed, which triggers the immune system to fight off foreign bodies. Unfortunately the immune system really ends up attacking the joints themselves.

7) Gluten grains can block minerals from being properly absorbed.

When gluten grains are not prepared properly, and in most cases today they are not, they can actually prevent vitamins and minerals from being absorbed into the body. Even though you may be eating a diet that has plenty of calcium, iron, and other important nutrients, if you eat gluten filled grains that are not prepared correctly, you will not be able to absorb all of the foods nutrients.

The only exception to this is to sprout certain grains and eat the sprouts as this makes the grains more absorbable by the body.

8) Gluten grains can harm your teeth.

Grains that contain gluten have high phytate levels, which have been attributed to tooth decay. Pytates, or phytic acid, has been shown to block mineral absorption causing bacteria to feed on the starches leading to tooth decay.

9) Gluten grains are not good for the skin.

Glutens tend to be found in foods that are very high in carbohydrates, and while not all carbohydrates are bad, they are broken down into various types of sugars. Sugar tells the body to produce insulin, which can in turn trigger hormonal responses that cause the sebum producing glands in the skin to produce more oil. This can contribute to acne, and other skin related conditions.

10) Consuming gluten makes your body crave gluten.

Just about everyone has had the experience of smelling a freshly baked loaf of bread and all of a sudden craving a nice thick, warm slice. How about freshly baked cookies? A nice warm, gooey plate in front of you makes it nearly impossible to eat just one. Foods that are high in carbohydrates provide a quick burst of energy. However, that burst of energy wears off quickly, and then the body is left wanting more. This causes a rise and fall in insulin levels, which can lead to more and more gluten being craved, so the cycle continues.

A Link Between Gluten and Autism?

Autism is a disorder that is becoming a major concern amongst parents, pediatricians, and even educators. Because this disorder seems to be becoming more common, it has sparked a great deal of debate and research into the reason behind its development. New studies, especially those that have been based in the alternative medicine field, have found that there could be a potential link between food allergies and autism, especially a link between gluten and the condition. This new data suggest that gluten may create allergies that either cause or worsen autism.

Autism is a disorder that affects children’s cognitive development and cognitive function. This can cause problems with communication abilities, behavior, and social interaction. While it was thought that autism may be genetic, recent studies have found that environmental factors may actually be cause of, or influence the disorder.

The studies that tracked autism with gluten allergies found that the food proteins in these foods were broken down into small proteins known as peptides. This then functioned as a narcotic would in autistic children, causing outward symptoms to worsen.

Since allergic responses to gluten can affect the body on the whole, causing a variety of mental and physical symptoms, the consequences can be far reaching. “Brain fog” is considered to be a mental symptom of autism, but is also often mistaken for other psychiatric conditions. Gluten intolerant adults are often plagued by physical symptoms of consuming gluten foods, while children tend to suffer more from mental side effects, such as brain fog.

Just as the remedy for a gluten intolerant adult is a gluten free diet, parents with children showing symptoms of mental impairment may want to consider eliminating gluten in the daily diet. Once parents cut out gluten, mental changes are often reported in a very short period of time. Cognitive problems, abnormal behavior, antisocial tendencies, and problems with communication have completely disappeared in many cases.

Vitamin C Benefits

Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid, as it is called scientifically, is a substance that was initially discovered as a nutrient in 1747, by a naval surgeon Dr. Lind in citrus foods after he observed that could prevent scurvy. Later on it was again discovered by the Norwegians Froelich  and Hoist in 1912. In 1935 Vitamin C was the first vitamin to be synthesized artificially in a lab. The process for synthesizing vitamin C was a result of the research of Dr. Reichstein, of the Swiss Institute of technology in Zurich! Ever since vitamin C either obtained through nutrition or in its synthesized form is used to benefit our body by strengthening our immune system!

Vitamin C Health Benefits

Vitamin C exists in our body in minimum quantities, especially in white cells, liver, spleen, adrenal glands and pituitary. It is soluble in water and expelled by urination. Unfortunately our body is not capable of synthesizing vitamin C and therefore the daily intake has to be achieved through the consumption of foods that contains it.

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and makes the body more resistant to inflammation and colds. In addition, it also helps with the absorption of iron. Moreover, vitamin c is involved in the process of the production of carnitine, a substance that facilitates muscle contraction during physical effort.

Vitamin C can be considered as the vitamin of beauty. It is a powerful antioxidant which one of it main properties is to fight free radical. Many studies have demonstrated that because of the antioxidants that it contains it slows down the body from aging and prevents the accumulation of free radicals in tissues responsible for it. It also helps cell bones, teeth and blood vessels to grow and in maintaining them healthy. Furthermore, it helps your skin to preserve its firmness and stimulates collagen, keeps the skin youthful and the joints functional. At the same time vitamin C helps healing wounds and burns caused by the sun. It is also a cofactor in the synthesis of some neurotransmitters such as noradrenalin that keeps us alert and helps in concentration. Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to weakening of blood vessels and the rupture of the capillary located in outer layers of the skin.

How much vitamin C we really need?

According to scientific conducted by numerous universities, the recommended intake of vitamin C, is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men per day. The daily intake should not exceed 1.000 mg in any case because excessive intake of vitamin C stops being beneficial and can cause kidney stones, increased uric acid and upset the stomach  and the bowel .

How is vitamin C beneficial for our body?

  • Vitamin C can help in preventing the contraction of viruses and the influenza that are at their peak during winter since it strengthens our immune system.
  • If you are suffering from common cold, vitamin C can reduce the duration of it and its symptoms.
  • For smokers is particularly useful because nicotine reduces the levels of vitamin C in the body.
  • If you are working outdoors vitamin C is essential because it reduces the rate of oxidation due to physical exercise.

Vitamin C deficiency

Lack of vitamin C can affect our entire body system, leading to a number of serious illnesses like scurvy, bleeding situations, pains in muscles and joints, skin problems, fatigue and asthenia.

Best sources of vitamin C

Due to the fact that the human body is unable to produce and synthesize vitamin C, as it happens in other species, we should make sure that somehow we obtain the required daily intake of vitamin C, either from natural sources or food supplements. Foods that consider being rich in vitamin C are red and green hot chilli peppers, guava, bell peppers, fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, lemons and grapefruit. Moreover kiwi, strawberries and blackberries are an excellent source of ascorbic acid. It can also be found in cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and potatoes.

Sensitive to cooking …

Vitamin C is very … sensitive. It is oxidized by the air and is destroyed by the heat, light and UV rays, so you need to buy very fresh fruits and vegetables and consume them in a short time. Also, vitamin C is easily destroyed during cooking. For example, a potato, containing 19 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, loses about 50% of the vitamin C during cooking, and 90% if consumed after one hour. The packaged foods, such as fruit juices, contain about 30% -40% less vitamin C compared with the corresponding fresh fruit juice. Moreover, much of the vitamin C is lost if you cook foods in bronze or copper utensils instead of stainless steel. Finally, during winter, pay special attention to the freshness of the juices you make at home: You must prepare them a few minutes before you drink them.  Vitamin C contained in abundance in oranges deteriorates within about 20 minutes of contact with the environment.