A-Z of Vitamins: Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it is also known, is one of the vital minerals and vitamins that your body needs in order to be fit and healthy. We all know that vitamin C is good for us though, right? We know that we need it and we know that we can get it from oranges and orange juice. But… do we know why our body needs it? Do we actually know why we are drinking OJ with our pancakes in the morning? Surely if you are putting something in your body, you are going to want to know what it is going to be doing…?

Did you know that vitamin C keeps the cells in the body healthy and protects them from bad things? If the cells in your body aren’t healthy, you are pretty much going to fall apart. You need the vitamin C to keep all the cells healthy so that they stick together and do the functions that they are meant to do. The connective tissue needs to be healthy too to ensure that the organs and other tissue can grow and rejuvenate when it becomes damaged.

As you can imagine this also means that the cells help the body to heal wounds and without that capability, most of us would be dead. Imagine if you never stopped your knee from bleeding in the fourth grade when you fell over in the playground and scraped your knee pretty bad – you would be dead by now.

The wound would have gotten infected and your body wouldn’t have been able to fight the infection or you would have literally bled out over a very slow period of time. It wouldn’t have been a good situation, that’s for sure. That’s why you need vitamin C. Now do you see the importance?

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As we mentioned, we all know that you can get plenty of vitamin C from oranges, but did you know that there were plenty of other fresh fruit and vegetables that offer just as much, and in some cases more, than an orange can? Brussels sprouts don’t just make you stink – they contain lots of vitamin C. Potatoes have vitamin C in them too, as do strawberries, red and green peppers, blackcurrants, broccoli and plenty more.

You need to eat food containing vitamin C on a daily basis because the body doesn’t have the ability to store it. This means that if you don’t get your daily dose of vitamin C foods, you will be running the risk of damaging your body. You should be getting around 40mg per day if you are a healthy adult. Have a look at the nutrient content in your food – how much vitamin C are you really getting every day?

In the same way that not enough vitamin C will do you damage, too much can also cause harm. If you have an intake of vitamin C that increases around 1000mg per day, you are going to suffer rather badly. You are going to have an upset tummy for sure and will probably have more than a few bouts of diarrhea or vomiting. You will most definitely have a lot of flatulence so that makes leaving the house pretty impossible and on top of that; your tummy is going to hurt. A lot.

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