Our Next Challenge- getting adequate Vitamin C

I’m not sure if it my front yard grapefruit tree that is loaded with fruit (I do LOVE winter in Florida) or the amazing oranges I have been buying by the case at Costco (I even take them to church events as my contribution to the “refreshments”)- but I am an inspired to offer a Vitamin C challenge for this week!

So lt’s take a look at Vitamin C. Dietary sources with the most vitamin C are fresh, raw cantaloupes, citrus fruits, kiwis, mangos, papayas, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon and cranberries, Red and green peppers, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip greens and other leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, winter squash and Brussels sprouts.

The body uses vitamin C in many different ways. Vitamin C is needed by the body to form collagen.  According to the NIH, the body also uses vitamin C to make skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It also uses this vitamin to repair and maintain cartilage, bones and teeth, to heal wounds and to form scar tissue.

Vitamin C may also prevent cancer by blocking the damage made by free radicals. “Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that we are exposed to in the environment such as air pollution, cigarette smoke and ultraviolet light from the sun,” said Dr. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. 

Many people tout vitamin C as a cure-all for a wide range of diseases. Some of these have not yet been proven. “Health benefits of vitamin C that have been proposed but not scientifically proven include a lower risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts,” said Ross.

Recent studies have also suggested that vitamin C may prevent heart attacks by slowing down hardening of the arteries by preventing LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Vitamin C may also shorten the amount of time a person is sick with a cold, and also lessen the symptoms

Not getting enough of this vitamin can cause easy bruising, gingivitis and bleeding gums, dry and splitting hair, rough, dry, scaly skin, a decreased wound-healing rate, nosebleeds and a decreased ability to ward off infection, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Because vitamin C is water soluble it is not stored by the body. It is filtered out and leaves the body in urine. Thus you need a constant fresh supply every day.

So your challenge for the week is to add one serving per day of a Vitamin C rich food.

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