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healthy bytes: why we need vitamin c

And no, I’m not talking about the singer whose song made an appearance in pretty much every graduating class ceremony of 2000 (and a few years since). I am talking about the very simple vitamin C you can find in your everyday orange. It may seem like an innocuous vitamin but it actually plays a very important role in our immune system.

When I was a kid and got a cold or the flu, first thing my mum would do was to brew me a nice cuppa tea and squeeze some lemon in. Or give me freshly squeezed orange juice. I never questioned this because it seemed to me to be a very logical thing to do. The older I got, however, the more I would rely on cold and flu medication or Panadol. However, having recently experienced a significant shift in paradigm I have come to appreciate a more organic and natural approach. However much some people might scoff at the though that vitamins or nutrition can be used for healing or just general better health there is a large amount of evidence to suggest that this seemingly “primitive” method is what our bodies respond to best.

Even historical evidence proves the power of vitamin C. For example, during the 18th century, scurvy killed more British sailors than enemy action. Even though the curative effects of citrus were known as early as 1497, various expeditions lost many men until they rationed limes to their soldiers. However, tests and trials continued because how could a simple vitamin be so effective? Except that it was, and still is.

There is just one problem with vitamin C; while it was effective in fresh limes it was found that lime juice when left out became ineffective. As well as this, any cooked or tinned food is virtually stripped of any necessary vitamins. We now know that vitamin C and enzymes naturally found in vegetables die at 40 degrees Celsius. So when we cook vegetables we are pretty much making them ineffective.

So what does vitamin C do for us? It can act as an antihistamine and antioxidant, it creates collagen/soft tissue and it clears arteries, it’s used for the development and maintenance of scar tissue, blood vessels, and cartilage. Vitamin C is also necessary for creating ATP, dopamine, peptide hormones, and tyrosine. It may seem a bit strange to us that this one vitamin does a whole range of things but it can help in all of these areas instead of taking individual medication for each problem and loading the immune system with even more toxins.

Have you ever gotten a cold just when you had all of those assignments due, during exam period or a particularly busy period at work? This is because stress causes the body to create adrenalin, and in doing so it uses the body’s reserve of vitamin C, literally stripping the immune system. So what’s the answer? Just stock up on the vitamin through fresh fruit and veg. It’s simple and easy to do and if you prefer juice, juice it fresh yourself if at all possible because supermarket juices are notorious for being full of sugar.

Foods high in Vitamin C:

  • Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers
  • Guavas
  • Bell Peppers
  • Fresh Herbs such as Thyme and Parsley
  • Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Garden Cress)
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bok Choy, Brussels Sprouts
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Papayas
  • Oranges and Clementines (Tangerines)
  • Strawberries, Mulberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Amaranth Leaves
  • Cod and Perch contain some Vitamin C
  • Goat Milk and Soy Beans

(Image credit: 1.)

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