With the advent of winter, women are waiting for many exciting challenges they want to overcome. The winter period is not limited to the magical rain and snow, but it is also the period in which our skin and immune system weaken and levels of physical stress and psychological fatigue rise, there is a magic weapon that can confront these challenges and gives women the strength and elegance they dream of.
Do you want to overcome these challenges and maintain your beauty in the winter? To do this, you must know the secrets hidden in foods rich in vitamin C.
Foods rich in Vitamin C are considered the hidden hero that boosts your immunity in the winter to make you stronger in the face of infectious diseases, protects your delicate skin from dryness and cracks, and enhances your natural glow so you shine on every occasion. So it is a comprehensive solution that combines beauty care and public health.
In this article, we will learn about the secrets of vitamin C and its most important benefits, in addition to foods rich in vitamin C and strategies for benefiting from it.
In this Article
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that forms an essential part of the human diet. Although the bodies of some animals can produce it, humans must obtain it from other sources.
It should also be noted that vitamin C is a vitamin that is sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen, meaning that it decomposes and deteriorates quickly when exposed to air, high temperature, and intense light. Therefore, it is preferable to eat foods rich in vitamin C that are fresh and preserved in good condition by storing them in a cool, dark place.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C Benefits
Foods rich in vitamin C help you prevent many health problems that affect various organs of the body, and obtain thin and smooth skin free of pimples, thanks to the many properties that vitamin C possesses.
These benefits have been divided into two main parts:
Foods Rich in Vitamin C Benefits for Health
These are the benefits that relate to the general health of women, including:
Foods rich in vitamin C contribute to strengthening your immunity in several ways. Vitamin C helps enhance the production of T and B cells in the body, which are one of the types of lymphocytes, in addition to increasing the production of phagocytic cells, which play an important role in protecting the body from infection.
Vitamin C also works to enhance the ability of white blood cells to deal with harmful molecules, such as free radicals, and protect body tissues from them. It also enhances skin defenses, as it acts as an antioxidant and helps strengthen the skin barrier.
Moreover, some studies have indicated that eating foods rich in vitamin C reduces the time required for wound healing, and it also helps prevent the occurrence of colds in some women, but it has no role in treating colds or influenza, as its role is limited when infected only to prevent complications, such as pneumonia.
Reducing the risk of some chronic diseases
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can boost the body’s natural defenses against infections.
Vitamin C also helps reduce the risk of long-term chronic diseases, such as cancers and others, by reducing the accumulation of free radicals harmful to cells and oxidative stress that has been linked to these diseases.
Studies indicate that eating more foods rich in vitamin C increases the percentage of antioxidants in the body to 30%.
Preventing heart disease
Foods rich in vitamin C help prevent heart disease, through the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, and its benefits in reducing some of the risk factors that increase the rate of heart disease.
Among these risk factors we mention:
- High blood pressure: Vitamin C helps regulate blood pressure, which is the main cause of death around the world. Vitamin C reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure in healthy people and blood pressure patients.
- High harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood: Vitamin C has a positive effect on the levels of harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, by reducing the oxidation of harmful cholesterol thanks to its antioxidant properties.
Reducing uric acid levels
Foods rich in vitamin C play an important role in reducing uric acid levels in the blood, and preventing the occurrence of gout attacks, or what is called king’s disease, which is a type of arthritis, which occurs as a result of high levels of uric acid in the blood and its deposition in the joints, causing symptoms.
A study that included 1,387 people found that those who consumed the highest amount of vitamin C had lower levels of uric acid in the blood compared to those who consumed smaller amounts.
Another study conducted on 46,994 people found that eating foods rich in vitamin C was associated with a 44% lower risk of gout.
Prevention of iron deficiency
Women suffer greatly from iron deficiency anemia, as a result of the great needs that their bodies require, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and as a result of the great importance of iron, which is considered an essential element for the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen throughout the body, it was necessary to search for a way to preserve it.
It has been found that eating foods rich in vitamin C and nutritional supplements can help improve the absorption of iron from foods in the digestive tract, and convert poorly absorbed iron from plant foods into a form that is more easily absorbed.
Taking 100 mg of vitamin C improves iron absorption by 67%, and as a result, vitamin C can help reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia in women.
Impairment in thinking and memory can occur in women with age, known as dementia, and it is a common condition that affects a large number of women around the world, especially older women.
There are some studies suggesting that oxidative stress and inflammation in the central nervous system can increase the risk of dementia.
Since vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it has been found that consuming large amounts of it is associated with a deficiency in cases of dementia, while cases of poor thinking and memory are associated with low levels of vitamin C in the body.
Therefore, it may be useful to resort to foods rich in vitamin C or nutritional supplements in order to prevent dementia.
Studies indicate that foods rich in vitamin C help slow the spread of macular degeneration, an eye disorder that leads to vision loss, by making them part of a diet that also contains beta-carotene, zinc, and vitamin E.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C Benefits for Skin
The importance of foods rich in vitamin C for the skin lies in its role in producing collagen, which is an essential protein for maintaining healthy skin, and in reducing the harmful effects of free radicals thanks to its antioxidant properties.
The benefits of foods rich in vitamin C on the skin include:
Eating foods rich in vitamin C helps lighten and unify the skin color, by inhibiting the melanin pigment responsible for dark skin color.
Thus, vitamin C contributes to reducing the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation in the skin, which include sun spots, age spots and melasma, the main cause of which is excessive secretion of melanin.
Reducing the appearance of wrinkles
The benefits of foods rich in vitamin C, represented by the production of collagen, contribute to maintaining healthy skin. This is done by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and maintaining its elasticity and stability.
It has been found that low levels of vitamin C are associated with sagging skin and the appearance of wrinkles.
Moisturizing the skin
Vitamin C can help keep the skin hydrated and soft, thanks to its ability to prevent water loss across the different layers of the skin.
However, it has been found that topical use of vitamin C can increase the occurrence of dry skin, and therefore it has not yet been determined whether it is good for women with dry skin to use it or not.
Reduce sun damage
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C contribute to reducing the negative effects of sunlight on the skin, which leads to the appearance of sagging skin and skin pigmentation.
The Best Foods Rich in Vitamin C
When vitamin C is mentioned, you always think of oranges, but in reality it is available in many foods, numbering more than 100 foods, but it is found in some foods more than others.
Therefore, we will mention the best foods rich in vitamin C, which contain large amounts of it.
Fresh citrus fruits contain a very high percentage of vitamin C, but this percentage varies depending on many factors, including the type of fruit.
But below we will give you some estimates of the vitamin C content in common citrus fruits:
- Orange: 70-90 mg.
- Grapefruit: 80-100 mg.
- Yellow lemon: 30-40 mg.
- Green lemon: 20-30 mg.
You know, Madam, that green vegetables bring great health benefits to the body, but in addition to that, you should know that green vegetables are considered among the best foods rich in vitamin C, because they contain large quantities of it. For example, we mention:
- Broccoli (one cup of chopped broccoli): 80 mg.
- Cabbage (one cup of chopped cabbage): 80 mg.
- Red cabbage (one cup): 50 mg.
- Cauliflower (1 cup chopped cauliflower): 48 mg.
Many women believe that all types of peppers contain the same amount of vitamin C, but this is considered one of the most common mistakes, as red peppers are considered one and a half times richer in vitamin C than green peppers.
One medium-sized red pepper can provide 150% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Cantaloupe is considered a rich source of vitamin C, because one slice of cantaloupe contains 25.3 mg of vitamin C, while the whole fruit of cantaloupe contains approximately 202.6 mg of it.
White potatoes are one of the underrated foods, because many women believe that this type of carbohydrate cannot be part of a healthy lifestyle.
However, a medium-sized potato contains approximately 17 mg of vitamin C, which is equivalent to 35% of your daily consumption. It is also considered a good source of potassium and vitamin B6.
However, the key to obtaining the health benefits of potatoes without their harms is to avoid eating them fried as much as possible or adding a lot of salt and butter to them, as it is considered better to eat them boiled or grilled.
Strawberries are considered a food rich in vitamin C, as one cup of strawberries contains approximately 150% of the recommended daily amount.
Its richness in dietary fiber, folate, and antioxidants makes it a great addition to your diet in general.
Kiwi has many health benefits thanks to it containing many essential nutrients, most notably vitamin C, in addition to potassium, fiber, and vitamin E. One kiwi fruit contains 64 mg of vitamin C, which is equivalent to 117% of the recommended daily amount of it.
Papaya is a fruit rich in vitamin C, because one cup of papaya gives you 88 mg of vitamin C, which is more than what oranges give you.
Guava is considered one of the foods richest in vitamin C, as one fresh guava fruit contains between 73 mg to 247 mg of vitamin C, depending on its type.
Thus, guava provides you with the equivalent of 200% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Tomatoes give you about 17 mg of vitamin C, which is equivalent to 28% of the recommended daily amount, but this varies between tomatoes depending on their size, variety, and other factors.
Not to mention, tomatoes are rich in a lot of potassium, folate, and vitamin K, which gives them high nutritional value.
Fresh thyme contains three times more vitamin C than oranges, and it is considered the highest concentration of vitamin C among all culinary herbs.
Half a cup of red cherries contains 822 mg of vitamin C, which exceeds the recommended daily amount of this vitamin. Therefore, cherries have the ability to resist cancer and prevent skin damage from sunlight.
Recommended Amounts of Vitamin C
Recommended amounts of vitamin C vary according to many factors, such as age, gender, and health condition.
Therefore, these quantities were classified as follows:
Minimum permissible amount of vitamin C:
The recommended dietary allowance for adults aged 19 years and over is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women.
While the amount increases for pregnant women to reach 85 mg per day, while for breastfeeding women, their need for vitamin C may reach 120 mg per day.
Smoking can also deplete vitamin C levels in the body faster, so it is suggested that smokers take an additional 35 mg above the recommended daily amount.
The upper permissible limit of vitamin C
The maximum permissible amount of vitamin C for daily consumption is 2000 mg per day, as exceeding this amount may have some harmful health effects.
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin C deficiency is rare in developed countries, but is common in poor countries that follow a limited diet that provides less than 10 mg per day of vitamin C for a month or more.
Its occurrence in developed countries is not primarily due to its lack of availability in the diet, but rather to smoking or long-term exposure to passive smoking, drugs and alcohol.
Here are the most common signs of vitamin C deficiency:
- Feeling tired.
- Bad mood or depression.
- Dry skin and rough texture.
- Limp body hair.
- Easy bruising.
- Slow wound healing.
- Weakened immunity.
- Unexplained weight gain.
- Iron deficiency anemia.
Vitamin C and Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease caused by severe vitamin C deficiency, in which symptoms of vitamin C deficiency appear severe and life-threatening if left untreated.
Symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency or scurvy include:
- Muscle soreness, bone and joint pain.
- Bleeding gums and tooth loss.
- Appearance of purpura and bruising.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Fatigue and lethargy.
- Shortness of breath and pneumonia.
The main reason for its occurrence is not eating enough foods rich in vitamin C, but it is not limited to this. It may also occur as a result of smoking or consuming alcohol and other reasons that lead to vitamin C deficiency.
Therefore, its treatment depends on obtaining large quantities of foods rich in vitamin C and nutritional supplements containing it.
Risks of High Doses of Vitamin C
The intestinal ability to absorb vitamin C is known to be limited, and several studies have shown that vitamin C absorption decreases to less than 50% with intakes greater than 1,000 mg.
However, in healthy women in general, large doses of vitamin C are not toxic, because once the body’s tissues are saturated with vitamin C, its absorption will decrease.
However, harmful effects may occur when taking a dose of vitamin C greater than 3000 mg per day, including:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach cramps or bloating.
- Fatigue, drowsiness or insomnia.
- Skin redness.
- Increased formation of kidney stones, especially in people who suffer from existing kidney disease or have a previous history of kidney stones.
- Suffering from gout.
In the end, it can be said that foods rich in vitamin C are considered a nutritional treasure rich in many health benefits, and therefore, Madam, you must make these foods a part of your daily lifestyle in order to enjoy its benefits for your health and beauty.
Always remember that continuing proper nutrition and healthy patterns is the key to obtaining the desired results.
Frequently Asked Questions about Foods Rich in Vitamin C
What prevents the absorption of vitamin C?
Taking aspirin regularly every day, even in small doses, in order to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke, prevents the absorption of vitamin C in the body.
Does eating foods rich in vitamin C increase weight?
No, many studies have indicated that foods rich in vitamin C play a role in weight loss, thanks to their low calories and antioxidant properties.
What is the best time to take vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, and therefore it is best to eat foods rich in it or take nutritional supplements on an empty stomach in order to get the best benefit from it.
Are taking nutritional supplements better than foods rich in vitamin C?
Dietary supplements are supplements to the diet, not a substitute for it. We must also not forget that the absorption rate of all vitamins and minerals in the body is higher when taken through food compared to supplementary tablets.