Vitamin C cannot be made by the human body and so is an essential component of the diet. It is needed for the health and repair of various tissues in your body, including skin, bone, teeth and cartilage. Persistent lack of vitamin C in your diet can lead to a condition called scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy include easy bruising, easy bleeding and joint and muscle pains. Vitamin C deficiency can be treated with supplements of vitamin C and a diet rich in vitamin C.
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
A lack of vitamin C in the diet can result in vitamin C deficiency anemia. An acute vitamin C deficiency results in the disease scurvy. Signs and symptoms begin to manifest after 45 to 80 days of vitamin C deprivation. By that time, the body’s stored vitamin C pool falls to about 20 percent of its optimal amount.With vitamin C deficiency, lesions occur in loose connective tissue and result in a range of physical and psychological impairments. Treat a vitamin C deficiency with citrus fruit such as orange, lemon or lime or with supplements.
Vitamin C is essential to help the body in its natural healing process. Deficiency of this Vitamin may result in wounds, burns and other small injuries not healing properly.
Scurvy is caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C. This can be effectively treated by increasing vitamin C intake. You can increase this either through your dietary intake or by taking supplements.
Consume all fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin C. Best dietary sources include green peppers, strawberries, green, leafy vegetables, white potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes.
# Swollen and Bleeding Gum Tissue:
Like the skin, our gums are also made up of collagen. This is produced by your body using Vitamin C. Without Vitamin C, the gums can swell up and bleed easily when flossing or brushing. As the deficiency increases, bleeding can result in moderate pressure or while eating. The gums may be affected to a point where tooth fall may happen. Vitamin C deficiency can give rise to bacterial infections in the wounds of the gums.
# Hair Thinning
Iron & Vitamin C deficiency can cause thinning hair in anaemia. Hair loss happens due to lowers levels of red blood cells. Therefore Vitamin C intake is a must for the health of your hair follicles. Consume iron supplements with Vitamin C to maintain healthy hair.
# Connective Tissue Defects
Deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to very serious defects in the body’s connective tissue. The first sign can be bruise-coloured spots on the skin. Weakened vessels can give rise to worse problems like bleeding gums, poor healing of wounds, severe joint pain from bleeding within the joints and blurred vision from bleeding inside the eyes.
Anaemia is a disease caused by insufficient Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron required for the haemoglobin found in red blood cells. An insufficient level of Vitamin C therefore reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron. This can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness and numbness or tingling in the appendages.
Vitamin C enhances the function of many cells of the immune system like neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes. Neutrophils help get rid of attacks from microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. It helps to increase circulating antibodies within the blood serum.
Low levels of Vitamin C in the body can lead to the development of asthma. It helps to reduce the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. Consume citrus fruits regularly for protection against the chronic disease – asthma.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals which damage the cells in your body. A lack of this Vitamin can lead to cancer. Vitamin C may be useful in preventing cancers such as skin, cervix and breast cancer.
# Cardiovascular Problems
Deficiency of Vitamin C can cause cardiovascular problems like leaking blood vessels, weak blood vessels and reduced heart function. Studies indicate that natural vitamin C intake is inversely related to coronary heart disease risks.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C will benefit your health in a great way. Read below to know the amazing health benefits:
A healthy dose of Vitamin C protects our body from infections and maintains healthy bones and teeth. It also improves our body’s ability to repair wounds and keeps us immune from bacteria, viruses and infection. Not only is it a well-known component of our immune system, it is also necessary for collagen, the main structural protein found in connective tissue. Vitamin C, taken orally, helps wounds heal faster and better. Applied topically, it protects the skin from free radical damage from the exposure to UV rays.
# Common Cold
Vitamin C reduces the severity of cold symptoms and acts as an effective antihistamine that lessens the unpleasant effects of the common cold, including inflammation, runny nose and aches. It also controls the allergy that causes the cold. It reduces the histamine level and often shortens the duration of the cold.
Vitamin C is a powerful and effective antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals that cause oxidative stress, or ”cellular rust”, that can lead to a host of severe medical conditions such as atherosclerosis, that can cause both heart disease and stroke.
Vitamin C lowers the blood pressure and decreases the probability of hypertension as well as serious health problems that may accompany high blood pressure.
# Blood Vessels
Vitamin C also ensures the proper dilation of the blood vessels which helps to protect us against certain diseases like atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, heart congestion and severe chest pains.
# Weight Loss
Vitamin C fruits and juices are proven to help people lose fat and maintain healthy weight. Popular dieticians and nutritionists always include Vitamin C fruits and vegetables in diet charts because there is scientific evidence that shows that eating Vitamin C rich foods on a regular basis helps in losing weight significantly. Doctors have found that eating Vitamin C fruits lowers insulin. Thus, instead of storing sugar and converting it into fats, it uses it as a fuel that leads to weight loss.
Vitamin C helps the body deal with stress by reducing the elevated levels of stress, hormones and cortisol.
Vitamin C balances our internal body systems under countless environmental conditions. It aids in the production of dopamine in the nervous system and supports the adrenal function for increased metabolic energy.
# Heart Disease
Vitamin C prevents heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging the artery walls, which could lead to plaque formation. This nutrient also keeps the cholesterol from oxidising, which can cause heart stroke. The problem of high blood pressure can also be resolved with this wonder nutrient. All these factors combine to make Vitamin C an inexpensive and easy way to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Diabetic patients can also benefit from Vitamin C as it helps in regulating the sugar levels, reducing the risk of getting diabetes and improving the symptoms of the existing cases. Supplementing Vitamin C forces glucose in the body cells, where it protects against many complications of diabetes.
# Sun Protection
Vitamin C protects our skin from free radicals that develop due to excess exposure to the sun, environmental pollution and regular smoking. The antioxidants in Vitamin C protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and the effect of sunlight exposure.
Vitamin C helps to reduce sun burns caused by the exposure to ultra violet radiation to a great extent. It not only reduces sunburns but also prevents the consequences of long term sun exposure that can lead to skin cancer.
# Heals Wounds
The body uses Vitamin C to replace the damaged tissue and helps to heal the wound at a faster pace. Wounds that heal slowly indicate Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C improves the skin elasticity and helps to create scar tissue and ligaments for quick recovery.
# Improves Skin Texture
Collagen also provides the structure for the blood vessels. The tiny blood vessels under the skin carry oxygen and nutrients that keep the skin healthy. Without enough nutrients, the skin will become rough and dry. Creams containing Vitamin C improve the appearance and texture of the skin.
Vitamin C increases the formation of elastin which thickens, protects and heals the skin cells. The thickening effect helps retain moisture, increases the skin circulation and plumps up the skin surface.
# Improves Hair Growth:
Low intake of Vitamin C may be a root cause for a number of hair-related problems that affect our hair growth. Vitamin C deficiency may result in dry hair and split ends. These conditions are unfavourable for the regular growth of hair.
When our body turns food that we consume into glucose for energy production, free radicals are naturally formed. These free radicals damage our hair by making it weak, brittle and thin. These conditions interrupt hair growth. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties reduce the formation of free radicals and minimises their effect on our body. Having an adequate supply of Vitamin C in our diet is essential for antioxidant protection against free radicals.
People who take huge amount of Vitamin C have healthy, strong and thick hair.
# Prevents Greying Of Hair
Vitamin C not only helps combat hair loss but also helps retain the natural color by preventing the premature aging of the hair.
Now that you know the benefits of Vitamin C, make sure you are taking it in the recommended amounts.
Foods Source High in Vitamin C
The following foods are high in vitamin C and will super-charge your diet with a major serving of this essential nutrient.
One of the tastiest and healthiest berries on the planet, strawberries are extremely high in vitamin C. They’re also high in fiber and antioxidants, which are responsible for reducing oxidative stress and protecting the heart from bad cholesterol.Just one serving provides about half of your daily vitamin C needs.
2# Amla Fruit
An exotic fruit from India, this nutrient-dense superfood is one of the most important medicines in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia. The fruit is picked, dried, and used for its health-boosting properties. It holds one of the most concentrated supplies of vitamin C, so it’s no wonder it is valued for its immune-enhancing properties.
Whether you eat it raw or cooked, you can never go wrong with broccoli. One serving of this little green tree has over 90 mg of vitamin C. As an bonus, broccoli is also one of the best detox foods to add to your diet.
Bright, red tomatoes are another common vitamin C food. Try using sun-dried tomatoes; they are particularly concentrated with this essential nutrient. Just one, 100-gram serving holds over 100 mg of vitamin C. This equals 170% of our daily needs.
This exotic fruit is another great vitamin C food, with one guava containing over 250 mg. Over twice your daily needs! They are also rich in dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese, making guavas one of the best superfoods to add to your diet.Many supermarkets are now importing these fruits from the tropics, so they are easy to find.
6# Brussels Sprouts
While not everyone’s favorite food, Brussels sprouts have an excellent reputation as a source of vitamin C. One serving of cooked Brussels sprouts has almost 50 mg of vitamin C. Brussels sprouts are also high in vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, manganese, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Many melons contain vitamin C. Just one cup of cantaloupe will provide you with approximately 67 mg of vitamin C, plus plenty of vitamin A and potassium. Additionally, watermelon is another great source of vitamin C, as one serving will give you 112% of your daily needs.
8# Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, chard, and spinach (as well as most other leafy greens) are all great vitamin C foods to add to your diet. While they all provide different amounts of this essential nutrient, they are all very healthy for you. Kale is the best choice, as it may have up to 130 mg of vitamin C in one serving—that’s one full day’s requirement of vitamin C!
9# Black Currant
With its dark purple hue, it’s easy to imagine that this fruit would be high in vitamin C. Black currants hold around 180 mg per serving, as well as plenty of potassium, iron, vitamin B5, and phytochemicals.
It may surprise you to learn that this small bright green fruit from New Zealand has more vitamin C than an orange! They are also high in flavonoids and have as much potassium as a banana.Studies have shown that children who eat these vitamin C-rich fruits experience stronger respiratory tract than children who do not.
11# Citrus Fruits
Oranges, grapefruits, lemon and limes! Citrus fruits pop a powerful vitamin C punch. Enjoy one medium orange for a whopping 70 mg. A small glass of orange juice has up to 93 mg of vitamin C, and a small glass of grapefruit juice has up to 70 mg of vitamin C. Even though oranges are probably the most popular vitamin C food, they don’t have the highest amount.
Papayas are another food high in vitamin C, with one serving providing 100% of your daily needs. Try throwing some in your next smoothie or yogurt. This bright fruit it also high in vitamin A.
13# Acerola Cherry
The acerola cherry (Malpighia punicifolia) is a small, red fruit but it’s packed with vitamin C! It contains about 65 times more vitamin C than an orange. Fresh, raw acerola cherries are available, but if they’re not in season, you can also buy them in powder form.
While not as colorful as some of our other foods high in vitamin C, cauliflower holds its own. Just one cup of cauliflower will give you approximately 46 mg, not to mention plenty of vitamin K, folate, and dietary fiber.
In addition to 78.9 mg of vitamin C, pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down food and reduce bloating. Bromelain also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory that can help you recover faster after a tough workout.
16# CHILI PEPPERS
A half-cup of chopped or diced chili peppers delivers 107.8 mg of vitamin C. Plus, researchers from the University of Buffalo found that capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot, may help relieve joint and muscle pain.
17# RED BELL PEPPER
A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange—190 mg. Red peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health.
18# GREEN BELL PEPPER
A cup of chopped green bell pepper contains less vitamin C than its sweeter sister, but at 120 mg, it’s still 200% of your recommended daily allowance. Green bell pepper is also a great source of fiber.
In addition to twice your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K, a one-cup serving of kale provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C. The nutrition powerhouse also delivers a sizeable dose of minerals and fatty acids.
Taste the tropics for a 122.3 mg boost of vitamin C. Mango is also a great source of vitamin A, which like vitamin C plays a key role in immunity and additionally keeps your eyes healthy.
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