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The Alphabet of Vitamins: Vitamin C

by on September 19, 2016
 

“In this article, we are featuring the star of all vitamins: C. After incorporating Vitamins A and B into your diet, it is now time to add Vitamin C.”—Caroline Charlton, Wellness Warrior 365.

The Benefits of Vitamin C, the Star of All Vitamins

Today we are talking about Vitamin C, one of the most publicized and widely used supplements in America. Most of us take it when we are sick, however this vitamin has many more benefits than just boosting our immune system.

Let’s start with one of our favorite benefits Vitamin C has to offer, a youthful appearance! We all want a beautiful smile, healthy hair and nails, and to keep those age defying wrinkles at bay. Vitamin C helps us age well which is why so many lotions and serums use Vitamin C as the star ingredient. However, looking healthy on the outside starts by being healthy on the inside.

“Looking healthy on the outside starts by being healthy on the inside.”

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C plays a crucial role in maintaining and stimulating the growth of collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue found in skin, bones, teeth, ligaments, vertebral disks, cartilage, joint linings, and capillary walls (varicose veins anyone?).

Healthy collagen helps the body heal wounds, repair aging or damaged tissues (wrinkles and saggy skin included!), and maintain healthy blood cells thus making vitamin c an indirect player in these functions. The good news is by eating fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C and choosing the right supplements, a youthful appearance is attainable.

“Vitamin C is also important in proper function of the central nervous system.”

Vitamin C is also important in proper function of the central nervous system. We all have days where we feel stressed out, depressed, mentally foggy, low energy, or restless. However, most of us are busy with hectic schedules that we cannot afford to feel run down. This is why incorporating daily doses of Vitamin C is essential to feeling our best.

Ascorbic acid helps balance brain chemistry by metabolizing tryptophan, folic acid, and tyrosine. When ascorbic acid is present, the body converts tryptophan into 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan, which forms serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and cognitive functions including memory and learning.

In order for humans to metabolize nucleic and amino acids, folic acid must be converted into its active form, tetrahydrofolic acid or THF. This can only be done when vitamin c is absorbed in the body. Tyrosine relies on ascorbic acid to help form neurotransmitters dopamine and epinephrine.

“Vitamin C stimulates proper function in the adrenal glands.”

Regarding the adrenal glands, Vitamin C stimulates proper function. This is extremely important because the adrenal glands produce the stress hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine, which activate our fight or flight response. We need these hormones to stay in check so that we are not overworking our stress response, which can lead to weakening our immune system and becoming sick.

We have all heard of free radicals and their harmful effects. You may be asking yourself, “What are free radicals and why are there so many products on television claiming to fight free radicals?” Well, I am here to give you the simplified version of what exactly free radicals are. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons looking for other electrons. During this time free radicals are highly reactive and cause damage to surrounding molecules.

Exposure to free radicals over time can cause injury to cells and disease. Ascorbic acid is a powerful anti-oxidant; this means it plays a fundamental role in preventing oxidation of water-soluble molecules that may potentially create free radicals.

“Vitamin C fights inflammation, the root cause of most modern diseases.”

Finally, our last note worthy topic plaguing the world these days is inflammation, the root cause of most modern diseases. Research has shown that because Vitamin C supports the adrenal glands, the immune system, fights against oxidation, and makes healthy tissue, it can aid in the treatment of general inflammation such as bronchitis, arthritis, chronic skin problems, or back pain. 

“It is best to eat foods high in Vitamin C in their fresh and raw form.”

As a water-soluble nutrient, Vitamin C is unstable. This means that a substantial amount of the nutrient is destroyed through the cooking process. It is best to eat foods high in Vitamin C in their fresh and raw form.

When we think of the best food source for Vitamin C we usually think oranges. However, foods such as red bell peppers, papaya, acerola cherries, strawberries, and cantaloupe contain equal or higher amounts of Vitamin C than oranges.

Other food sources for Vitamin C include broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, asparagus, parsley, cabbage, lemons, and limes.

Most of us should be able to get an adequate amount of Vitamin C through food but for those who also want to take supplements it is best to take anywhere from 200mg-1000mg split up into two doses four hours apart. Vitamin C is readily absorbed in the intestines and used by the body in about two hours. It is then excreted from the blood after three to four hours. For this reason it is best to take your supplements in four-hour intervals.


RAW RED PEPPER SOUP (filled with Vitamin C)

Ingredients:

Red Peppers loaded with Vitamin C

Red Peppers are loaded with Vitamin C.

2 cloves of garlic

3 tbsps. of fresh chopped ginger

2 tbsps. of fresh chopped turmeric

½ tbsp. of cumin

½ tbsp. of coriander seeds

¼ tbsp. of fennel seeds

½ tbsp. of curry powder

½ can of organic coconut milk (full fat)

¼ cup of cashews soaked for 6 hours (can do this over night)

Juice from 1 lemon

Juice from ½ an orange

2 organic red peppers

2 organic medium size carrots

1 tsp. of Himalayan salt

1 tsp. of black pepper

Topping: fresh chopped cilantro, sliced avocado

Directions:

• Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender (may need to do this in batches if your blender is not big enough to hold all ingredients at once)

• Chill in fridge for 1 hr. to let flavors meld together 

• Serve chilled or heat over the stove for a few minutes, a small percentage of the Vitamin C will be lost if heated

• Top with cilantro, slices of avocado, chopped cashews

Vitamin C Raw Red Pepper Soup

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