We have all heard of Vitamin C. We’ve had it drilled into us since childhood that oranges can get us a good ol’ dose of it. But why actually is Vitamin C (Vit C) so important and how much do we really need?
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient, meaning the body is not able to produce it. Further, it can’t be stored in the body either, which is why it’s important to get into the diet everyday. The recommended amount for adults is 40mg per day and for children 30-40mg per day.
It has a variety of functions in the body, including playing a role in cell protection & maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels and bones. Along with vitamin A and E, Vit C is also an antioxidant; it can help to stop free radicals in the body causing damage and help to reduce inflammation.
Another great function is that it can improve the absorption of plant based sources of iron. For example, if you were having a veggie-based meal, adding broccoli into it would help your body absorb as much iron from the meal as possible.
Finally, Vit C helps with the normal functioning of your immune system. Its antioxidant activity can help to reduce inflammation in the body, improving the functioning of your immune system. It also plays a role in our skin’s defence system, acting as a barrier to harmful compounds.
After hearing about its goodness, you might be wondering, “Do I need to take a supplement to get enough?”
Simple answer = No.
Most of us can get adequate Vit C through foods alone. If you aim for a wide variety of coloured fruit and vegetables in your diet, you will be ok!
What are the best sources?
- Red Pepper
- Brussel Sprouts
Something worth noting; Vit C is a water soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water. This means that excess amounts are not stored and instead are just excreted out through your urine! Therefore, if you are getting enough Vit C through your diet and having a Vit C supplement, you will just be excreting the additional Vit C, i.e. wasting your money!
To sum up
We should all be able to achieve the daily recommended intake of Vit C through a healthy balanced diet, incorporating various fruits and vegetables. It’s crucial for protecting your body and supporting your overall health so aiming to get your fruits and veggies in really is as important as it’s made out to be. Aiming for at least five portions a day is always a good start – the more the better and the more colour the better!