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.