By: Sarah Matika MPH, RDN, LDN
All vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in maintaining optimal health and vitality, however there is one key vitamin that deserves special attention and that is Vitamin C. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be produced by the human body. It has many health benefits including strengthening blood vessels, aiding in iron absorption, immune system support, promoting wound healing and is also an antioxidant. Since Vitamin C cannot be produced by the human body, food sources rich in Vitamin C must be consumed. Luckily for us there is a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from that are rich in Vitamin C.
Food sources rich in Vitamin C:
- Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C include lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, tomato, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and spinach. These foods can be served whole, sliced, as a smoothie or added to enhance your favorite dish.
Major roles of Vitamin C:
- Iron absorption: Vitamins C can store non-heme iron in a form that is more easily absorbed by the body. Therefore, it is often recommended for individuals with iron deficiency anemia as it is known to enhance iron absorption by a significant percentage.
- Immune system support & Antioxidant protection: There is evidence to suggest that Vitamin C can help fight against infections and illnesses by supporting various cellular functions. As an antioxidant Vitamin C can protect the body from free radicals which are unstable molecules that can lead to heart disease and cancer.
- Collagen production & Wound healing: Vitamin C helps to boost the body’s natural collagen production which helps maintains healthy skin, bones, blood vessels, teeth, gums, joint linings. It is frequently recommended to help promote wound healing and minimize scar formation.
There are a multitude of benefits that Vitamin C and a healthy diet can provide. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C can promote enhanced quality of life and improve overall health. Make the conscious decision to add more Vitamin C to your next meal!
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Vitamin C.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Aug. 2023, www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932.
Moore MBS RDN LD, Maria. “How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Eatright.Org, www.eatright.org/health/essential-nutrients/vitamins/how-vitamin-c-supports -a-healthy-immune-system. Accessed 1 Sept. 2023.