What is happening in the world right now is exponentially increasing our stress levels. We are facing fear, job uncertainty, loneliness, and grief as we witness and experience the pain happening around us.
It is more important than ever to keep our immune system strong and protect ourselves from any potential infections.
One way to do that is by increasing vitamin C rich foods in our daily diets.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water- soluble nutrient and it is abundant in fruit and vegetables such as citrus fruits, berries, especially black currants, cherries, tomatoes, green vegetables, peppers, avocado, rose hip, asparagus, mangos, watercress, pineapple, radishes, green peas, raspberry leaf tea, nettles, kelp, alfalfa and fennel to name a few.
Vitamin C is destroyed by heat, so we should aim to eat about 50% of our daily consumption of fruits and vegetables raw and the rest lightly steamed. Our bodies cannot produce or store this vitamin for any length of time. Therefore, it is essential to maintain suitable levels through daily diet and/ or supplements.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals.
The body produces free radicals as a result of cellular biochemisty and energy production. We are also exposed to many free radicals in the environment, e.g. cigarette smoke, air pollution and UV light from the sun. Vitamin C is very important for wound healing because it is required for the production of collagen and hence health connective tissue. This is also the reason is it linked with anti-ageing. Vitamin C is also important for the uptake and utilisation of iron.
There is also plenty of evidence that vitamin C is particularly beneficial for people under stress, as well as being beneficial for reducing the incidence of the common cold.
As reported in Science Daily, it notes: "In five randomized trials of participants with heavy short-term physical stress, vitamin C halved the incidence of the common cold. Three of the trials studied marathon runners, one studied Swiss school children in a skiing camp and one studied Canadian soldiers during a winter exercise. Furthermore, in a recent randomized trial carried out with adolescent competitive swimmers, vitamin C halved the duration of colds in males."
The current recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 60mg per day. However it is safe to consume higher supplementation starting at 200mg daily, although excessive doses of around 1000mg or more can cause stomach discomfort and diarrhoea.
People who may benefit from a natural food based vitamin C supplement are those who consume little fresh fruit and vegetables, the elderly, anyone dependent on institutional catering, smokers and anyone who drinks alcohol. People with demanding lifestyles, athletes, and those whose work involves physical activity, as well as anyone on on-term prescription medication may find a vitamin C supplementation beneficial.
NB – This article is for information purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice.
– A HANDFUL OF BERRIES OR 100G
– 250ML PLANT MILK OF YOUR CHOICE
– 1 SERVING VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER (SUNWARRIOR OR VEGA)
– BLEND UNTIL SMOOTH AND ENJOY!
Ifeoma Akpuaka is a Yoga Instructor and Registered Nutritional Therapist.
Her approach blends ancient wisdom with modern science.