Getting Enough Vitamin C?

Did your mother make sure you drank your orange juice before heading off to school each day? Lots of us share that memory and many of us still have a glass of O.J. with our morning meal. Mom was right. Vitamin C is important. Our bodies need vitamin C to stay healthy, but our bodies have no way of producing or storing vitamin C. That means we have to make sure we are getting enough through the foods we eat or by taking a vitamin C supplement.

What does vitamin C do for the body? A lot. It is needed for things you might not expect… like the forming and maintenance of muscles, bones, cartilage, and teeth. Vitamin C also helps the immune system work well. It helps the body absorb and store iron. It helps wounds heal. Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, which is crucial to healthy skin and keeping skin hydrated. It even helps prevent wrinkles.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. As you are probably aware, an antioxidant is something that helps protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals, which can play a role in the development of heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and other health conditions.

A healthy, well-rounded diet usually provides the body with enough vitamin C. Lots of fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, including citrus fruits, dark leafy vegetables, bell peppers, berries, and cantaloupe. It is best to eat vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables either raw or steamed, because exposure to light, extended storage, and some forms of cooking can reduce the amount of vitamin C they provide.

For some people, a vitamin C supplement may be recommended by a doctor. Always speak with your doctor before taking any vitamin or dietary supplement. The following are a few tips to help you put a little more vitamin C in your diet.

Simple ways to get more Vitamin C...

  • Include a slice of melon and fresh citrus juice with your breakfast.

  • Add fresh berries to your cereal and yogurt.

  • Keep fruit and cut up veggies along with a healthy dip in the refrigerator for a quick snack.

  • When making sandwiches, use dark leafy vegetables or shredded broccoli instead of lettuce. Throw in some tomatoes too, because they contain vitamin C as well.

  • Incorporate plenty of vitamin C filled veggies into your meals, like soups, stir-fry dishes, and meatloaf.

  • Make your own trail mix with dried fruit rich in vitamin C.

  • Freeze slices of citrus fruits for a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.

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